Should I move to a cloud-based phone system?
An effective and reliable method of communication is a cornerstone of any successful business. Cloud-based phone systems, which are also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), have become more and more popular within business over the last few years. The use of cloud storage as a business tool has become the ‘norm’ now and companies have bcome ever more reliant on the power of the cloud.
What’s a cloud phone?
A cloud-based telecoms system simply lets you make calls over the internet instead of over a more traditional analog phone using the ‘old-fashioned’ wires or optical fibres to make a connection. Cloud phones are hosted in data centres in one or more locations, hence the phrase “hosted telephony”.
These phone systems can be used with a variety of devices, including traditional phones, smartphone apps, computer software or VoIP-enabled phones. Rather than maintaining software via a server such as a private branch exchange (PBX) on the premises, all information and data are stored in the cloud. This helps you save on costly maintenance and updates since everything can be easily updated in the cloud.
How do cloud-based phone systems work?
Cloud-based telecoms systems can be used through a variety of methods, making them available for anyone with an internet connection. You can make cloud-based calls from…
- A traditional phone with a VoIP adapter. The adapters plug into a phone outlet in the wall or directly into your router.
- A computer (i.e., a “softphone”). This is similar to how you use many other existing programs such as Skype, FaceTime etc.
- A smartphone. With your smartphone, you can download apps such as Google Voice or Skype to make internet calls.
- A dedicated VoIP phone. These look like traditional analog phones but connect directly to a computer network rather than a phone line.
Features of a cloud phone
One of the main advantages of cloud-based telecoms systems is the many features they offer. The beauty of cloud-based systems is that they can update easily with new features as and when they become available. When you buy a traditional phone, you’re stuck with the features on it once you’ve bought it. Some features of cloud-based phone systems include:
Unified communications: This means that your business phone system, voicemail, instant message or chat, video conferencing and faxing can integrate with email, web apps, social media, and tools like a CRM.
Video conferencing: During COVID in particular, remote work has becomemore commonplace. Businesses need reliable and easy-to-access to video conferencing solutions. Many cloud-based phone systems offer video conferencing as part of their packages, so you don’t have to pay extra for it as an add-on feature.
International calling: Because cloud phones are internet-based, you don’t have to pay long-distance charges when you place or receive international calls. Long-distance and international calling are included as free features in most cloud phone packages.
Ring anywhere: Also known as “never miss a call” or “find me, follow me,” this feature enables users to receive or place calls on multiple devices from the same number. With this feature, when the work number is called, both the user’s desk and smartphone, for example, will ring, and the user can choose which one to answer. You can also transfer calls between devices.
Artificial intelligence: AI is permeating almost every aspect of modern life, and cloud phones are no exception. Cloud system providers are using AI to provide customer service and perform functions like speech-to-text and sentiment analysis.
Instant messaging: Instant messaging is text-based communication. It allows for real-time communication that can be run through a number of devices, including desktop computers and smartphones. Instant messaging adds an additional layer of communication that is responsive and leaves information in writing that can be referenced later.
Cloud communication: Cloud communication is the complete bundle of communication services. It includes telephony, instant messaging, video conferencing and any other form of communication that is included in the bundle.
Call forwarding: Call forwarding takes calls to one number and redirects them to another line. Cloud-based call forwarding essentially works just like traditional call forwarding. The service allows users to consolidate calls to a single line, even when it is necessary or important to direct calls through specific phone numbers.
Auto attendant: An auto attendant is the automated voice menu that you often use in business calls. Automated directories direct calls and reduce the communication workload of persons in the business. Once the calls are properly directed, individuals can take calls or further automation services can resolve issues (e.g., voicemail).
Collaboration: Collaboration tools include file sharing, video/audio conferencing, real-time project contributions and other tools that help people work together without being in the same room or country.
Voicemail-to-email: Voicemail-to-email transcribes a voicemail and sends it as an audio file to an email address. This allows the recipient to access their voicemail without using a voice mailbox. The emailed file is accessible with a wider range of devices and typically will not clog or exceed data limitations, allowing the recipient to revisit the voicemail for as long as necessary.
Integrations: Cloud integrations allow for a large number of resources to be combined into a single cloud package or suite. The same service provider that allows for large-scale data storage and analytics can also handle voice calls. By consolidating services through integrated platforms, powerful tools are made accessible and easy to use. Integration is broad in scope, and it is a cornerstone in virtually every cloud service.
There’s so much to choose from when it comes to Hosted Telephony. It might seem daunting switching from a traditional setup to moving into the Cloud, but we’re here to support you the whole way. If you’re interested in finding out more then drop us an email at email@example.com or phone 0141 471 8600.