Partner Blogs

Posted by Team NetFortris

3 Reasons Business Phone Systems Are Going Hybrid

It wasn't all too long ago that businesses invested in PBX (private branch exchange) solutions once they reached a certain size so their employees could communicate with one another and the outside world. And my, how things have changed.

For years, the venerable PBX clung on as a fixture in wiring closets and beige plastic handsets on desks until VoIP phone systems came around. Almost a decade ago, the notion that one could host an entire business phone system in the cloud became the game changer for businesses, and it was around this time that Fonality was born. What one once found novel is now typical, and customers are now looking for something more than just a "phone system in the cloud." That's where Fonality's Hybrid-Hosted® technology comes in, and it's the next big thing in business phone systems. Here's why.

First, let's define Hybrid-Hosted, because "hybrid" can mean different things to different people. Some vendors use the word flagrantly to describe deployments in which some locations are hosted in the cloud while others are on-premise, like a traditional PSTN voice service from a local telco. Some use it to describe paying for a system over time rather than paying for it up front, as though leasing were something novel. But they're all wrong. Hybrid-Hosted actually means exactly what Fonality patented: a cloud-based unified communications business phone system that allows the customer to either bring their own voice service from a local telco on their premise (while everything else is still in the cloud) OR to use VoIP, and any combination thereof. 

Why is this valuable? Here are the three reasons:

Trust and Availability 

You might not trust VoIP. There are many situations in which VoIP doesn't work well for certain customers. Maybe you have a bad ISP and can't afford an expensive MPLS network. Maybe you had a bad experience with a consumer-grade VoIP company or a commodity-competitor in the business VoIP space. Or maybe your application (life-critical services, government communications) have requirements that VoIP simply can't meet today. In these situations, customers can "bring their own" telecom service using standard T1s, PRIs, or even POTS service while still getting the productivity benefits of unified communications. 


You might be in a country that doesn't play nicely with VoIP.  Customers in certain areas of the world can only get local phone service from their local telecommunications provider. For example, in Qatar, you have to get your numbers from Q-Tel. If you're a multinational company with locations in multiple areas, hosted VoIP just isn't an option. With Fonality's Hybrid-Hosted technology, you can link international locations with an on-site Fonality appliance to other locations seamlessly even if they're on different telecom circuits or in Fonality's VoIP cloud. Plus, all moves, adds, changes, reporting, and UC features (all included in our Heads Up Display, or HUD) are delivered as a cloud service.


While you may want to move to a hosted VoIP business phone system, you might have a complex array of telecom contracts holding you back. With other providers, moving to hosted VoIP is an "all or nothing" choice - either you move all your locations at once, or you can't move any at all. With Fonality, you can move some locations to the cloud today, while retaining premise-based phone service in those locations still under contract, yet everyone feels and acts like they are on one virtual system.

So yes, there are situations when only Hybrid-Hosted will do. So what? How big are those problems? Well, according to recent studies by Dan O'Connell at Gartner, Elka Popova at Frost & Sullivan, and others, hosted VoIP for business communications is only about 15% of the market. While it's growing every year, the vast majority of businesses still have premise-based phone systems, and even more telling, the majority of new business phone system purchases are still on-premise. Will this eventually change? Of course, over time, but today and for the next decade, there are still millions of lines of service out there that are not now and aren't planning a cloud-based business phone system migration. Only Hybrid-Hosted can address the full market, and not just a slice.