Sunday, November 23, 2014


About The Author
Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

Cost savings are one of the major benefits that a hosted phone system offers over an in-house phone system. Especially in today's competitive VoIP market, that can count for a lot. The modern SMB has to stay lean and agile, so odds are the advantages of walking away from the obsolete legacy PBX equipment that will by now be too impractical to maintain should be quite evident. A hosted phone system provides a plethora or additional features typically either not available with legacy PBX systems, or too costly to implement, such as Computer Telephony Integration, Messaging, Unified Communications, Upgraded Voice Mail Services, and Mobility. Ultimately, this makes the hosted solution a compelling option.

Cost Savings
But of course the cost savings are paramount. IP based systems are the latest generation in communications technology, therefore they can offer a greater savings in price. This is due to leaps ahead in manufacturing methods, improved design, and more intelligent products. They also improve your bottom line in the following ways:

     They help you to make better management decisions by simplifying billing and assisting you to evaluate call patterns
  •        Profile or restrict access to local or long-distance calls
  •        Automatically route calls to the least expensive carrier
  •        Harness the power of VoIP to curtail long-distance charges
  •        Smoothly connect to your choice of a large number of high-speed digital services
Additionally, because it's more efficient and cheaper to communicate by using a hosted VoIP solution, your enterprise's productivity will increase, and you'll enjoy better customer service with better and more frequent communications.
Computer Telephony Integration
CTI is a specific technology that enables interactive connections between a telephone and a computer to be made in an integrative fashion. This started with "screen pop" technology, where an agent could see all the data held in a company's database about a caller before they answered the phone. Now CTI includes such components as the following:

  •        Web-enabled callbacks
  •        Voice recognition
  •        Voice storage and forwarding
  •        Voice Broadcasting, or a service for playing recorded messages
  •        Text to Speech
  •        Predictive Dialing
  •        IVR - Interactive Voice Response
  •        Internet Telephony
  •        Computer based fax
  •        Call Control
  •        ACD - Automatic call distribution phone systems

VoIP allows many kinds of messaging within a rich context. You can immediately switch between text messaging, instant messaging, voice messaging and video messaging, given the right hardware and protocols on your devices. Although there may be some overlap between these threads of communication, the next benefit will tie it all together so it's all unified.

UC (Unified Communications)
Unified Communications seems to be the way that many enterprises are taking their communications these days. It's an easy way to integrate many real-time communication services under one roof, like presence information (are you there? Are you busy?), instant messaging, telephony, desktop sharing, video conferencing, data sharing, speech recognition and call control with other communication services that are non-real-time, such as email, fax and SMS. UC isn't a single product, but a group of products that gives the user a consistent interface, regardless of device or media type.

Voice Mail Services
VoIP has improved on the old standard we've had since the "old days" of telephony. You can hear your voicemail from any phone connected to the network, for instance, or you can have it forwarded to your email after it's been converted to text. You can also change your settings from a web browser, instead of the clunky phone menu we've all had to get used to.

VoIP also enables mobility, which can be defined as being able to use your VoIP service while transiting from one location to another, and not disconnecting at all. Another way of looking at it would be to enable your VoIP connection regardless of where you are on your company's network, no matter what boundaries you might cross, be they logical or physical.

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