A Cloud Conversation: The Basics of Hosted VoIP

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As if you haven’t already been inundated with information about the “cloud”, we’re starting a new series called “A Cloud Conversation” to, as the name suggests, highlight the features of cloud computing and the growing list of useful cloud services available to businesses today. In our first installment of this series, I’d like to touch on one of the fastest growing segments of cloud services: Hosted VoIP (voice over internet protocol).

Among the big promises of cloud computing are less reliance on physical hardware, lower total cost of ownership (TCO), and location agnostic access to technology. Hosted VoIP is one of those technologies that lives up to many of these promises and with recent shifts in the market for telecommunications services, prices are falling and the options for Hosted VoIP have expanded dramatically, according to the Advanced Telecom Systems installers of DAS systems.

What is Hosted VoIP?

Without getting deeply into the acronyms and every technical aspect, Hosted VoIP can be summarized as a technology that allows your business to place and receive phone calls using the Internet. If you’ve ever experienced a more consumer focused version of VoIP such as Vonage or magicJack, it’s the same idea, but designed specifically for the needs of businesses.

For the vast majority of small business customers, the days of buying a phone system that gets installed on a wall in the office next to all the funky wires from the phone company are quickly coming to an end. Most telecommunications providers have introduced hosted VoIP services that provide all of the core functionality that come out of the box with on-premise systems. So what are the advantages of Hosted VoIP?

Reduces Capital Investment & Eliminates Maintenance Costs

Purchasing and installing a good on-premise phone system can quickly run from a few thousand dollars into the astronomical realm without much effort to get there. With a Hosted VoIP system, the only hardware to invest in will typically be the phones themselves and some Hosted VoIP providers will roll the cost of phones into your plan with a 2 or 3 year contract. Another important aspect of having the hosted system, is that many of the platforms used to manage the service are web-based and fairly intuitive. This means that you won’t need to call a “phone guy” each time you need something changed, and even in the cases where you get stumped, the VoIP provider will offer support for no additional charge.

Improves Flexibility of the Organization

Since the system is hosted in the cloud, it really makes the organization more flexible in a few ways:

Multiple Locations Can Be Seamlessly Connected – No matter how many locations your organization has, they can be connected as if they were all in the same place. Suddenly, instead of dialing the other office with the local phone number, you can talk to James from Accounting by dialing his extension. Did I mention that James is in New York while you sit in Miami? With Hosted VoIP services, geographical boundaries to centralized management of voice communication are eliminated.

No System Relocation Needed – When it’s time for an office move, relocation is as simple as moving your phones to the new space and getting them connected to the Internet. That’s it; you’re done!

Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity Are Easily Achieved – For want of a better word, stuff happens (*knocks on wood*). Utilizing a Hosted VoIP service means that in the event of the unexpected your organization can relocate to an alternate site, or even swing incoming communication to an alternate site. This really comes in key if the show must go on in the midst of a disaster.

You Get  MAJOR Bang for Your Buck

This is one of my personal favorites. Many Hosted VoIP systems come pre-built with a wide range of rich features that support the way most businesses handle voice communication. With everything from mobile apps that integrate with the system, to auto-attendant, voicemail, and find-me-follow-me, Hosted VoIP allows any small business to sound and feel like a big business without the big business pockets.

In the next post, we’ll touch on some important considerations to make before diving into a Hosted VoIP service. In the meantime, reach out to us if you need an IT services consultant to answer any questions you may have about Hosted VoIP and we’ll get them answered right away.

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