What is Traditional Telephony?
Businesses requiring a telephone system have traditionally had to have a physical device installed into their premises. This system, or PBX (Private Branch Exchange), connects to all the phones within that site on one side, and connects to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) on the other – enabling calls to and from that site to be made. The PBX sat in the middle then provides all of the functionality required by the business, such as the ability to transfer and forward calls, voicemail services and more advanced features such as call queues or auto-attendants.
Traditional Telephony for Multi-sited Businesses
With traditional site based telephony, a PBX is required at each and every site from the headquarters to the smallest satellite office. This will be of significant cost to the organisation in terms of the hardware purchase, the installation and ongoing maintenance. This estate of PBXs across the country will then need to managed and administered (for example carrying out moves/adds/changes) requiring either a 3rd party resource or an in-house specialist, again at a cost to the business.
Each PBX requires a connection to ‘the outside world’ so it can make and receive calls outside of the office. Typically a PBX will be connected by analogue or ISDN lines which attract a monthly rental and call charges from the service provider.
What is Hosted IP Telephony (VoIP)?
Hosted IP Telephony (VoIP) provides the ‘telephone system’ functionality required by the business without having to have a PBX on-site. The intelligence is hosted within the ‘Cloud’ on carrier grade IP voice platforms and is delivered to the organisation’s various sites across a converged IP network.
A Hosted IP Telephony (VoIP) solution uses IP (Internet Protocol) rather than analogue or ISDN lines. This means that a single IP network can now be used for both your telephony requirements and your data / Internet requirements as part of a Converged Network. This means that it is no longer necessary to have one network for data and another network for voice offering tangible savings from line rental reductions and improved operational efficiencies.
Why Hosted Telephony rather than Site Based?
Opting for a Hosted IP Telephony (VoIP) service rather than a PBX at each site will offer significant reductions in capital expenditure as quite simply, it’s no longer necessary to buy those PBX’s. The solution will also benefit from being run over a single, converged IP network. A hosted solution also offers substantial benefits in terms of ensuring business continuity. In the event connectivity to an office is lost, or an office becomes unavailable (perhaps through fire or flood), calls can now be managed from within our network and diverted to an alternate office, a number of home-workers or even mobile phones. No longer is the continuation of your business dependent on a single site.
As well as savings made on hardware, separate networks, maintenance and specialist resources, a hosted solution offers more. With a traditional PBX, the capacity for that system needs to be scoped in advance, ensuring it will meet the needs of that business in years to come. This is inefficient and forces the business into paying for capacity they will not use for potentially years. PBX systems also often have hidden costs when it does come time to upgrade. Hosted IP Telephony (VoIP) offers a clear upgrade path with fixed, ‘pay as you grow’ cost increases enabling the solution to scale with the business meaning you only pay for what you need, when you need it. In addition, as all sites are linked over a single IP network, there are no charges for calls made between sites.
With a Hosted IP Telephony (VoIP) solution, it is no longer necessary to have specialist resources brought in to make changes to the telephone system. Moves/adds/changes can now be carried out with ease via an intuitive web portal, from any PC connected to the Internet. No longer is obsolescence a concern; the worry of having expensive hardware becoming unsupported can be a thing of the past with a hosted solution.