Every business experiences change over time. These changes pose challenges to all aspects of running a business. And to effectively meet these challenges, all businesses should make sure their tools are dynamic, highly adaptable, flexible, and relevant – or to put it in one word, “agile”.
We will take a closer look at how communication tools are capturing a new trend to reach the agility needed to meet the demands of businesses.
Analog phone systems were traditionally used by businesses to reduce communication costs when they provided employees with a way to receive and make business-related calls.
With technological advances, IP Telephony emerged as a more expensive option that included a rich feature set that gives businesses the advantages of Voice-over-IP (VoIP).
Several business benefits include text chats, video and web conferencing in business communication, communicating via softphones rather than desk phones, and mobilizing business communication.
IP telephony technology has been around since 2005. This was disruptive technology at that time compared to analog phone systems. Nevertheless, it was generally only used by large organizations that could afford to buy, implement, support, and maintain it because it is so expensive.
With a cloud-based virtual phone system, you get all of the benefits of VoIP phone systems, put them in the cloud, transform them into a subscription model, making them affordable and relevant for all types of businesses.
Because of this particular reason, many organizations, either big or small, have started to implement this technology as their core means of communication. Following are the lucrative benefits and underlying challenges of the virtual cloud phone.
Benefits of Virtual Cloud Phone
1. Cloud telephony is better than on-premise PBX systems
i. Quick to install, easy to use
Unlike a PBX system, a virtual cloud phone requires only access to the internet. A PBX system requires a tangle of wires, phones, switches, and routers. The phone you already own can be used to make calls.
Additionally, setup takes less than an hour, as opposed to the days it would take for EPABX systems. Whereas the installation and setup, the process takes a lot of hassles for a traditional phone system.
ii. No infrastructure required
The virtual phone service provider is responsible for maintaining the cloud servers to ensure smooth operation. The goal is to free you up from managing the infrastructure so you can focus on using it freely.
iii. Seamless integration with existing software
You can easily integrate a virtual cloud phone service into existing CRM or ERP software if your teams are used to working from dashboards. Therefore, employees can use this application to ‘click to call’ customers instead of repeatedly dialing their number.
iv. Simple ways to make instant changes
The system allows you to add or remove agents on-the-fly, and to reflect changes instantly, with no downtime.
2. Virtual phone offers mobility
A virtual cloud phone is handy for running a mobile business since it can follow you wherever you go. Each business’s line is assigned a specific telephone number with a traditional system.
Thus, you are supposed to note down or remember all the codes to dial or keys to push if you are moving from your place. After that, you will also need to contact your phone service provider or utility to transfer services.
However, with the implementation of a virtual cloud phone, all of these hassles will go away, and you can move anywhere to your liking.
3. Virtual phone offers quality communication at scale
Cloud telephony is a great way to deliver consistently high voice quality and reduced latency, whether you’re a small business, startup, or global corporation. Cloud computing allows your organization to scale without buying more infrastructure as agents can be added easily to the cloud platform.
Also, you can easily expand your network for seasonal needs, for example, during holiday seasons or festivals, and scale it back down when it is no longer needed without heavily investing in infrastructure.
4. Virtual phone offers simplified conference calls
VoIP services use converged voice and data rather than dedicated phone lines to establish connections, making joining and participating in conferences easier. In other words, the analog voice data is first converted into digital data before transmission.
This benefit can be achieved without paying for additional services to host multiple callers or lines. In addition, as packets can naturally travel over the internet in real-time, it is possible to present conversations over the internet in real-time.
In addition, this benefit extends to any video conference calls you may be able to make with your VoIP services subscription. Some plans also allow images and text.
5. Improved Interactions with Customers
Globalization has made the world smaller over the years. Any company you deal with could have its headquarters anywhere in the world. In addition, workers are no longer tied to one location. As a result, questions could come up about managing phone calls, voicemails, and even where to keep important documents.
When using a virtual phone solution, you can choose where your calls are received. There is even an option that allows calls to be forwarded to your home office after a few rings and your assistant’s phone if you cannot answer.
In addition, you can forward the same call to multiple devices. By doing so, you can be sure that important calls will be answered.
Challenges of Virtual Cloud Phone
1. Dependency on Internet connection
The biggest strength of virtual phone systems is also its greatest weakness. You should have a reliable internet connection to maximize your VoIP network. Poor bandwidth will negatively affect your VoIP service. As a result, you will experience voice and call quality problems, as well as latency issues.
You can purchase an additional internet connection solely for your VoIP system to overcome this issue. By doing so, you will not have to share bandwidth with other internet-based apps.
VoIP providers offer apps for mobile use that allow you to carry over your call to your cell phone if your internet goes down or your bandwidth is low.
2. Your infrastructure might have inadequate equipment to support virtual phone services
If a building uses outdated technology to connect to the internet, poor VoIP service quality is likely. This often occurs when outdated firewalls, routers, or cable modems are used.
The issue you encounter while on a call is solvable. Software updates, replacement of equipment, and reconfiguration of your network gear are among the options available.
3. Security issues can sometimes impact virtual phone systems
Several security concerns surround modern VoIP systems. There is an obvious disadvantage to using the internet almost everywhere, but it remains an issue to be addressed.
You could encounter malware, viruses, and denial of service attacks using this technology. There are still times when your service provider fails to prevent tampering and phishing attacks.
Your service provider needs to be informed of any suspicious activities as soon as possible. For example, you could encounter this issue if you observe unusual call traffic.
4. Devices Need Sustained Power Source
To access VoIP services, phones and VoIP-compatible devices need sustained power. In addition, device power consumption increases when transmitting audio and HD videos of high quality. Therefore, business owners should make sure that their mobile devices have enough battery life at all times.
A telephone line powers an analog phone. On the other hand, IP desk phones won’t function in a power outage. Therefore, business continuity can be achieved by using alternate power sources in a power outage. This can be achieved by using power over Ethernet switches or battery backups.
5. Emergency calls can be an issue
Virtual phone services are not always regulated in the same way as standard telephone systems in some countries. Therefore, an emergency contact is not required to be provided by dialing a three-digited emergency phone number.
The fact that this service isn’t a requirement has made some companies refuse to provide it. Emergency calls are usually included in most agency contracts, but you’ll want to review the terms and conditions of your agreement to ensure that you’re not adversely affected.
With the above benefits and challenges to virtual cloud phones, it is clear that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. However, most connections are simple to manage when you take proactive measures with your service provider to solve the common issues that homes and businesses experience when using this technology.
Furthermore, as Internet speeds and bandwidth continue to improve worldwide, more people are adopting virtual phone services today than ever before. As a result, the technology can be a powerful tool that can provide several competitive advantages that other communications solutions can’t.
Virtual phone service, in summary, offers businesses a cost-effective means of enhancing communication, ensuring clear calling, uninterrupted business interactions, greater flexibility, and lower costs compared to traditional telephones.