Blaisdell reported that many phone providers around the globe encourage businesses to replace older POTS (plain old telephone systems) infrastructure with VoIP solutions. In general, there are two major types of VoIP phone configurations that organizations can choose from: on-premise and cloud hosted. On-premise VoIP telephone solutions have both the phone and server equipment located at the individual business, while for a hosted phone system, all that is needed by the consumer are the phones.
The impact of cloud communications
"According to the director of global channel sales for Digium, Jim Butler, the benefits of cloud-based VoIP are among the factors likely to influence small to medium sized enterprises in their communication decisions over the course of 2013," Blaisdell wrote. "Cloud-based VoIP solutions offer businesses a reliable communication option at a lower cost. With cloud-based VoIP, the provider is responsible for almost all devices. For companies with different office locations and on-the-go workforce, a cloud VoIP may be a wise option. Before deciding to choose between an on-premise or cloud solution you should analyze your business, its intention and direction of developments and its long-term communication needs."
Blaisdell also outlined a number of benefits that are particular to cloud-based VoIP solutions for business, including enhanced flexibility, scalability, mobility and business focus. In an IT News Africa article, industry expert George Golding explored the advances that have been made in IP solutions recently and what those enhancements mean for businesses. One noted critical development has been the trend of VoIP providers increasingly using private IP networks and virtual private network (VPN) technologies. While the public internet can be and is often used to deliver voice services, private IP networks and VPN allow users to sidestep any voice garbling, delays, latency or glitches that emerge due to bandwidth quality. Private IP networks can prioritize voice traffic over data, ensuring that communications are reliable and deliver high-quality customer experiences.
"Cloud-based PBXs offers several functional advantages over wired telephony and site-based PBXs," Golding wrote. "Voice packets can be traced from origination to destination, allowing unprecedented trouble-shooting and monitoring. A cloud configuration allows PBX providers to offer a fully-managed service with end-to-end monitoring - down to individual handsets!"