Change. It's not always easy. For businesses to stay modern and maximize the benefits that often come with changing technology and changing times, it's helpful to separate what is true from what is, well, not. One changing technology landscape that has some misconceptions about it are Hosted PBX services, also known as Business VoIP or "cloud phone systems."
Maybe you know it's time to get rid of your old, outdated on-premise system and/or costly service but are reluctant or nervous to do so. Or perhaps you have a VoIP solution now and it's not delivering on its promise.
Well, we're going to dispel the many misconceptions you may have with changing to a hosted phone solution. Read on, you might just be surprised.
- They are expensive. In fact, pound-for-pound they are cheaper than legacy phone systems and services. The cost of local calls is much lower than "POTS" (Plain Old Telephone Service). And international calling rates are just a fraction as well. You pay for what you use and not for large bloated packages. Hosted solutions are also scalable as your business grows or downsizes -- literally on-demand.
- Voice quality isn't as good. Ah, that's sooo 2006. Like any new technology, in the early days, VOIP quality was, let's say, challenging for a host of reasons. Not so today. With the bandwidth speeds (more on that in moment) that have been available these days and current audio codecs, the sound is crisp, clear, and better than ever -- even offering an HD audio experience for those on both ends of an HD call.
- But my friend/colleague had a VoIP and says you're wrong. Sorry, Charlie. The simple fact is not all VoIP services or providers are created equal. Any provider worth their salt knows and cares that VoIP calls are data packets -- just like other packets of data, such as email, pictures, and video. Unlike those packets, however, voice is real-time and as such needs to be treated with priority on your network.
Most national Hosted PBX providers of really "cheap" VoIP (probably what your friend/colleague had) don't concern themselves with what happens on your side of your network. They use what our industry refers to as the ship and pray method -- like this guy. →
This is where they sell you the moon and the stars, sign you up, and send you (often at your expense) their phones. Then they pray that things just work out. A quality VoIP provider would never do that. Not ever.
- I need to buy all new equipment. Not necessarily. If you don't have a proper firewall or network switch, good providers will include them and the expertise to configure them and will often even manage it for you (especially if you don't have your own IT). Even the phones can be included (or a lease arranged for you), keeping your CAPEX low and allowing for everything to be rolled into one monthly bill.
- My internet speed is not fast enough. This is seldom true, actually, regardless of whether or not your business shares its bandwidth between voice and data or takes advantage of dedicated Internet connections for each. But it does depend on your company size and what other things you do with your bandwidth. While it is true that bargain-basement DSL will not be sufficient for VoIP, getting the right connection is not as difficult or costly as you may think.
Moreover, some providers can handle this for you, offering bandwidth through ISPs with whom they have a peered relationship. This allows the voice packets to take a direct route and don't travel over the Internet like the other data packets do. (This is something we offer but, believe it or not, enough quality, "non-peered" bandwidth can be had these days that 70% of our customers have gone the "non-peered" route and have never looked back.)
- What if Hosted PBX become obsolete? In fact, it is the on-premise systems that become obselete because they're both hardware and software that you buy and are stuck with. Most Hosted PBX solutions such as Broadsoft (which we use) are SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) that is designed for and runs in the cloud. Because of this, it is literally
Why? Because that's one of the many benefits of SaaS -- updates and new feature upgrades are transparently handled by the provider. They're also included -- free.
- Hosted-PBX is not reliable. Quite the opposite. When provided correctly, it's more reliable than any legacy system and keeping it running 24/7/365 is part of the service. The best providers not only use carrier-class hardware in geo-redundant data centers and have multi-level disaster recovery built-in, but also offer a financially backed SLA (Service Level Agreement) of 99.9% or even higher (like we do). That's pretty reliable!
So there you have it -- the 7 Most Common Misconceptions About Business VoIP. Have other possible ones that we've not addressed? If so, let us know in the comments below! We'd love to hear from you.