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VoIP for Business: Viva La Cloud Revolution

The business phone market has reached a tipping point. Companies looking for a new telephone package are now more likely to consider a Cloud-based voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) service than a traditional system.

Here, we explain how advances in VoIP technology have enabled this Cloud ‘revolution' to take place and explore the advantages that businesses are reaping.

Out with the old

Traditional business phone services have changed little since the early days of telephone. With these systems, each company requires a private business exchange (PBX) or plain old telephone service (POTS) installed on site, which connects to the phone company with a physical line.

These ‘hard' lines are vulnerable to all manner of problems, such as vandalism, natural disasters and degradation. In short, they are antiquated, expensive, and seldom robust enough for today's business needs.

In with the new

Cloud-based VoIP phone systems allow businesses to make and receive calls over the internet. Instead of hosting expensive and cumbersome exchange equipment - usually in the overcrowded server room - a VoIP PBX system sits in the Cloud. This opens up a world of features and mobility options that were simply not possible before.

Also, maintaining these systems is so much easier. A provider no longer has to send out engineers to adjust a company's in-house phone equipment every time it updates the system or adds new features. Instead, it can make the change to the software that sits on the Cloud, issuing the update to the entire customer base at the same time.

Meeting mobility needs

Today's workforce is highly mobile and employees are often spread across a wide geographical area. The challenge for business is to provide them with a reliable connection to the same system wherever they are, whatever device they are using.

VoIP phone services answer this need directly. Employees can achieve seamless access to the phone system wherever they are, by downloading an app to their mobile phone. This simple, free software turns their personal device into just another end point within the same business phone system.

Calls that are generated on business mobile apps are recognised on caller ID as calls from the business, allowing all employees to maintain a professional business presence. This can eliminate the need for companies to supply staff with a business mobile phone. Staff can keep their business and personal accounts separate on the same device.

Connecting locations

VoIP is uniquely suited to uniting offices that are spread over a wide area onto the same phone system. Using a traditional system, it is costly and complicated to set up a network that ties together disparate offices, especially if the business is looking to expand in the near future.

With just one VoIP business phone account however, numerous company locations around the country can function as if the employees are together in the same building. There is no need to install expensive PBX at each office location - all of that takes place in the cloud, reducing costs dramatically.

Easy setup

One of the most popular characteristics of VoIP telephony is the almost non-existent setup time. As long as you have a broadband connection, and IP telephones, you can usually have the service set up on the same day. This minimises any downtime during the migration from the traditional system to the new one.

Short contracts

Another highly popular feature is the short contracts allowed by VoIP providers. This makes sense, as hosted VoIP systems don't require any expensive equipment or service visits.

Cloud phone providers often offer pay-as-you-go, short-term contracts, which come without any hefty setup or cancellation fees. This is what VoIP offers companies today - a truly flexibly phone system built around them.

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