Hosted VOIP is a great idea for companies that don’t have a full time in house IT person but want all the features and functions associated with a VOIP solution. Cisco or Polycom devices are included and often times the price is less than what a business may currently be paying for their existing service.
A voice over Internet (VoIP) service that is provided by a third party for businesses with a small to medium number of phone extensions. All calls are transported over the Internet, and telephone functions such as voice mail, call routing and call forwarding are performed on the provider’s computers. Administration is handled via a Web interface.
Calls can be made and received using regular phones with adapters, IP phones or computers. A hosted VoIP service provides a “virtual IP PBX” for an organization without requiring a physical PBX. Everything is hosted off premise.
Hosted solutions are less likely to have post-installation problems because pre-installation site reviews are usually conducted by experts. Simply through a lack of experience, errors can be made in the course of a company’s self-appraisal process. Further, hosted solutions require fewer customer premise elements. The combination of expert site reviews and less complex equipment installation can mean smoother transitions and decreases the need for trouble-shooting.
Because there is less need for customer participation in a hosted solution, hosted providers can provide a project time-frame with a good degree of accuracy. This benefits both customers and service providers by removing uncertainty in the deployment schedule.
Hosted services can be deployed on a line-by-line basis, which means that they are easily expandable. They allow for flexibility during the transition from premise-based equipment to a hosted service because they can co-exist with previously existing premise equipment. This means that an enterprise doesn’t need to transition all of its equipment at the same time, which would usually be the case with a premise-based PBX. In this way, hosted transitions can be scheduled and implemented to best fit an enterprise’s schedule.
In a hosted solution, initial capital expenditures are lower because the amount of customer-premise equipment is reduced. Often times the carriers we work with require NO out of pocket to get the service installed.
With a hosted solution, any problems that do occur can sometimes be fixed more quickly because of the centralized nature of the service. Premise-based solutions often require a truck-roll (on-site visit) to the premise, a requirement that introduces a period of delay in any trouble-shooting endeavor. Hosted solutions circumvent this delay and can reduce down-time from a potential four hour minimum (which is often the case in a “truck-roll” scenario), to a few minutes. Further, hosted solutions usually have 24×7 monitoring and management. To get that same level of service in a premise-based solution can require a higher (and therefore more expensive) service level agreement.
Most maintenance contracts for hosted solutions are based around per-seat licenses, and only charge for seats in use. This contrasts with premise-based solutions, which often charge “per-active-port” fees. In the hosted situation, a customer only pays for what they use; in the premise-based solution, a customer pays for everything that they could use. The latter situation opens the door for increased costs.
Hardware and software upgrades can be managed more easily via a hosted solution than a premise-based solution. The vendor manages the upgrade and rolls it out once it is ready, making for a pain-free transition. On the other hand, hosted providers, while motivated to stay up-to-date, cannot roll out an improvement as fast as a premise-based solution where the update can be driven internally.
With a hosted solution, operational expenditures are made more predictable, which in turn aids in planning cash flow. With premise-based solutions, operational expenditures while usually lower, can also spike unpredictably when issues occur.
Maintenance issues can be more quickly and efficiently addressed in hosted solutions because the majority of equipment is centrally located. A premise based solution could achieve the same service speed if it maintained a set of expert technicians on-site, but the cost of that scenario would most likely be prohibitive.
|Benefits of VoIP|
An organization can gain efficiencies by only having to support a single network infrastructure. The same technical personnel are able to operate both voice and data systems instead of requiring different resources with different expertise.
The convergence of voice and data networks into a single IP network also provides some flexibility since it makes it easy to add, change and remove phones on the network. Organizations can easily deploy and then redeploy equipment to maximize their investments, without having to do a truck roll or require special expertise on hand.
The Internet has changed every company’s business. Competition is fiercer and can come from anywhere. In response to this, companies require systems that give them greater flexibility to respond and adapt to market conditions. PBX’s and point-to-point circuit-based networks are to restrictive and costly. This is why companies are looking for ways to get the same kind of flexible, extendable and adaptable network for their voice network that they do for their data services.
|Added Capabilities & Features
VOIP delivers many nice new features such as advanced call routing, computer integration, unified messaging, and long-distance toll bypass. Companies must be far more aggressive and inventive in their business offerings – introducing next-generation applications that will serve the customer better than the competition.
Because of the Internet, companies can leverage a more distributed and mobile workforce while staying constantly in touch via cell phones, pagers, laptops, and connected organizers. Intranets have made it easier to provide a decentralized workforce to access to computing resources located anywhere in the organization, while Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) have made it far less expensive and more secure (compared to traditional company owned wide area networks (WAN’s) to connect remote offices to headquarters. Hurricane and Disaster Proofing Another great feature of VOIP service is the mobility of it. If there is a natural disaster like a hurricane the users can literally unplug their phone handset and plug them back into any high speed internet connection and be back in business. The service will still give the appearance of being in your office meaning the auto attendant will still work the same as if you were in your office and when you call out it will display your office line. If your business resides in the hurricane belt a hosted VOIP solution can ensure that you are never without service. This is also great for people who travel. They can take their phone with them plug into a high speed connection anywhere in the world and be able to communicate like they were in their office. In fact nobody would know they weren’t in their office since the outgoing call would display the number and the phone would receive calls through the auto attendant like usual.
Small Business VOIP packages starting at $549 per month including 6 Cisco phones, 6 call paths, unlimited regional calling, 1800 minutes of Domestic US calling, Fax to email, voicemail to email, find me follow me, and many other features.
Large Business VOIP pricing available upon request