Hosted VoIP and the general move to 'The Cloud' has become more and more popular recently and we personally saw a large acceleration in this cloud technology during 2014.
We have seen successful installations - and some not so successful! So it is so important to get the design right from the start and that is where we can help you. Call us now for advice on 01892 676000 or read on more more information.
What is hosted VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice over IP – this essentially means voice carried on what is traditionally a data network. Many phones on desks these days are IP phones and this is just one example of VoIP. However, hosted VoIP takes things much further – essentially every part of the solution is IP based (the line part and the handset part).
Sometimes referred to as 'Cloud Telephony, or Internet Telephony' , Hosted VoIP is basically a hosted telephone system or PBX (sometimes called a PABX). In English this just means a phone system! A hosted one is merely one where the control unit is based somewhere on the internet or a data centre – this is in contrast to the traditional ‘premise-based’ telephone system where you would have a phone system control unit or CCU/controller in your premises connected to phone lines (eg ISDN).
The internet is the world’s biggest data network. So Hosted VoIP essentially means voice traffic carried over the internet. Sometimes this can be the public internet (eg SKYPE). However, if your organisation still relies heavily on phone calls (most do), then you would be advised to find a solution that uses a non-public internet solution or one that prioritises the voice traffic so it has priority over all the other ‘data’ data (our Horizon VoIP system is a good example of this).
Is a Hosted VoIP system right for me?
A hosted system is not right for everyone however – we have seen particular benefit for certain types of organisation. If you need less than 10 phones or if your users are spread throughout numerous locations (eg retail), then hosted is an excellent choice. Also, if your requirements are temporary, if they vary or are seasonal, hosted is also worth considering.
As well as the supplier (take lots of references), your internet connection in your premises becomes absolutely fundamental to this working properly.
Whilst you can use the same connection for a hosted VoIP system as well as your normal data requirements (email, browsing etc), you really must take advice on this. ‘Dumping’ VoIP on your internet connection without some kind of managed internet and priority is, in most cases, an absolute NO-NO!
We have seen many disasters where telecoms ‘advisors’ have sold the idea of VoIP and not made any changes or improvements to the customers connection, router or network.
Our advice would be to review your size and speed of connection and ensure you have a converged managed connection so that the voice element is prioritised.
Another element to consider is the model for buying a hosted system is different. Often, you pay a monthly fee per user rather than upfront costs for hardware. However, every scenario is different and your requirements will not always be the same as another customers.
Cloud Telephony - what are the benefits?
There can be many - Free or cheaper calls, cheaper line rental, better business continuity, economies of scale by using a single internet connection for voice and data, easier to scale up and down, better for budgeting, less or no maintenance costs, total flexibility with numbers - the list goes on...
If you have a reasonably modern phone system, it is likely to be less attractive to upgrade this to a new cloud based phone system - so many of our customers merely change their ISDN to SIP trunks and retain their phone system - this gives them most of the benefits of cloud-based systems but still maitaining their investment in their telecoms systems.
See our SIP trunk pages for more detail.
Please call us for advice – 01892 676000. Ask for Paul, Michael or Nick.
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Mark Starns - SMP, Tunbridge Wells, Kent