As cloud computing becomes an ever more vital part of the technology world, cloud-based applications are also gaining ground over more traditional tools. In particular, softphones and cloud telephony systems are becoming the norm among businesses as their distinct benefits become more well known. After all, the North American market for hosted IP telephony reached 8 million users in 2014 and is expected to reach 41.9 million users by 2021, according to a recent report from Frost & Sullivan. This is a ready indication that more companies are poised to adopt the technology.
VoIP systems, as the name implies, operate over the Internet instead of traditional phone lines. Unified communications, wherein all forms of contact are grouped together into one easily managed system, is made possible via the cloud. But how exactly does the cloud influence the way your telephony system operates? Here are three key ways cloud computing and UC are interlinked:
"UC systems that operate in the cloud bring a number of advantages to the table."
1) More flexibility
On a large scale, cloud computing offers enhanced flexibility to businesses due to its inherently scalable nature. Cloud environments allow for company growth. Instead of purchasing a finite amount of physical equipment, you can always branch out into the ether and add more cloud space without having to completely replace your IT infrastructure.
Much like the general benefits of cloud computing, UC systems that operate in the cloud bring a number of advantages to the table. When it comes to maintaining open lines of communication throughout all parts of a business, UC brings together email, voice, instant messaging and video conferencing into one manageable system. Enterprises, health care organizations and government agencies all benefit from investing in UC because it gives them the flexibility to work from multiple devices and platforms. And when it comes time to augment your IT infrastructure, you don't have to invest in clunky phone lines.
The cloud offers a number of cost benefits as well, which can translate to much-needed help for your IT budget in the long run. In general, cloud management is less expensive than on-premises servers, mostly because cloud server maintenance is usually done by the cloud providers themselves. Energy costs can also be kept to a minimum by running applications on virtual servers instead of eating up electricity with huge rooms of computing machines.
The wireless nature of cloud environments creates a budgetary advantage from an equipment standpoint too. According to CloudTweaks contributor Jennifer Klostermann, a PBX system is not required with cloud telephony. That alone can equal savings in the long run, because there is no physical maintenance involved in a VoIP system. This frees up IT budgets for more important projects aimed toward business growth.
3) Increased presence
With UC in the cloud, employees can potentially connect with each other and with clients from anywhere at anytime. That increases presence – meaning customer service and collaboration on projects can get a boost, as well. According to TechTarget contributor Margaret Rouse, presence makes collaboration possible whenever and wherever users are online.
This list is only a small representation of the tremendous benefits that await users of cloud-based UC systems.