Cloud based technology is driving many businesses, by offering far more affordable solutions. One area that has been lacking innovation has been the business phone system (PBX). But what is a cloud based phone system? Traditional business phone systems have a box on the wall, telephone lines and handsets for the users. They are generally sold and maintained by carriers or phone companies and require specialist technical skills to service or change.
These type of PBX’s are also lacking in a lot of features that modern businesses now expect from their communications. Having teleworkers or branch office connections into the central PBX is either impossible or requires expensive licensing and links to support these features. This type of traditional business PBX is heading in the direction of the fax machine – they are becoming antiquated and lacking the flexibility that modern business’s now demand. Cloud Hosted VirtualPBX is the best solution for this issue.
So, What is a Cloud Based Phone System?
A VirtualPBX offers businesses all the features they are used to with a traditional on premises PBX, but adds a whole new level of features and redundancies that are impossible to achieve with the old PBX solutions.
The immediate differences between the old on premises PBX and the modern VirtualPBX is the lack of onsite hardware and phone lines. VirtualPBX’s do not require any dedicated on premises hardware to operate, it just uses your current Internet connection. Users also have a choice of using several methods to make and answer calls.
Traditional phone handsets are still a popular choice with users. These phones are connected to the network using the same network cable as their computer and powered either from a powered switch, or using a power pack. If there are limited network ports in the office, the users can connect their computers to the spare network port on the phone. This reduces any additional requirements for data cabling, when choosing a handset. A handset could be provided to a teleworker who could connect it to their home network and instantly have the phone connectivity they would have, as if they are sitting in the office without any fancy network hardware. It is literally plug and play.
Softphones – The New Generation of Cloud Based Business Phones
The second method for connection is using a softphone. We are seeing this option becoming more popular with the younger generations. A softphone is an App for a smartphone (Apple or Android) or Application for a Windows PC that offers all the features of a handset, without the handset’s hardware cost.
The softphone allows users to have full access to the VirtualPBX, from anywhere in the world a user can access the Internet. This option is great for users who are mobile. They would log into their softphone application and access the company’s VirtualPBX using cellular data or Wi-Fi.
Users running softphones on their desktop Windows PC have the ability to enhance their outbound dialing from applications such as CRM and their contacts via a single click. This would mean they can click on a phone number and the softphone would dial the number for them.
More advanced integrations are available to call and capture information into CRM’s for telemarketers and outbound sales. There is also nothing stopping users having both a handset and softphone to cover all of their telephony needs. An inbound call to a user could ring on both the handset, PC softphone and their mobile if desired.
Migrating to a Cloud Business Phone System
The migration process is very simple for any business wanting to move to a VirtualPBX. The VirtualPBX is usually up and running within a day for businesses who don’t require their existing numbers ported. In contrast, traditional carriers can take up to a few weeks to move, depending on the type of phone number.
Generally, it takes a week for standard 10-digit numbers (e.g 0294519111) and several weeks for toll-free numbers (e.g 1300446848).
VirtualPBX’s support all Australian phone numbers, toll free and direct in-dial number ranges. For businesses wanting to add local phone numbers for their client, they are able to add most cities local numbers. A Sydney-based business can thus have local phone numbers for any Australian location, giving the appearance of a local business.
Most VirtualPBX’s services charge on a per user and total call cost basis. This means that you move from traditional infrastructure based billing, where you pay for the phone system and support, monthly phone line rental and call costs to a consumption based model, which is much fairer and easier to budget. No longer are you paying for phone lines or licenses that may never be required. Instead, you are paying for what you need when you need it.
This means that you’re only paying for the extension you require, the cost of calls, and your handsets or softphones.
Many businesses have realised how flexible VirtualPBX’s are. These systems give them the freedom to break the traditional on-premises phone system limitations enabling a new level of flexibility. For more detail on what is a cloud based phone system, give Hotline IT a call today.