What are Hosted Business VoIP Telephone Systems?
Guest blog by Anna Warrington
Hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a service where all business voice calls, teleconferencing and video data are transmitted over the Internet rather than through traditional telephone lines. This is a cheaper and more effective option for providing business telephony services because it means that companies no longer need to use their existing telephone lines for voice calls and no longer have to purchase new lines to expand their telephone network. The service works by using existing Internet connections, and if broadband capacity and speed is insufficient, extra bandwidth can be added. VoIP also reduces business communication costs by bundling call and data charges together, lowering the cost of national and international calls, and providing free calls to users within the company network.
Hosted VoIP services are managed by a service provider and offer smaller and mid-size companies the opportunity to access the full suite of business telephony services. In this case there is no need for an on-site PBX (physical telephone exchange) and businesses can access personalised business support to organise a communications service that matches their activities. The service is completely flexible, offering companies the option to pay month-by-month or opt for fixed term contracts. It is also fully scalable, meaning that the service can grow with the business without the need to install extra costly hardware. Business clients pay-as-you-use, so there is also no need to spend money on telephony infrastructure that is only required for a short time once or twice a year.
UC&C offer hosted VoIP services that use the trusted and secure Unify OpenScape Software. The service is accessed via physical desk phones or via a software application, which can be downloaded from the Internet and used on a range of devices (including mobiles, tablets and laptop computers). Companies who have already invested in SIP handsets do not need to discard them, as the UC&C support team can often re-configure them to function with OpenScape Voice. Hosted VoIP service levels are easy to understand and all companies need to do is choose the features and the number of handsets they need. Business size doesn’t matter either – the service is accessible to both the homeworker and the large corporate with thousands of telephony endpoints. If you don’t have SIP hardware in place, UC&C can provide preconfigured handsets that simply plug and play; it’s that simple.
The UC&C Voice tariff allows you to keep all your existing phone numbers and brings a range of services that can be integrated into a larger Unified Communications service. It is easy to add users or features to the service as your company requires. The basic features include business class voicemail, caller ID, music on hold, the ability to park calls, put calls on hold, pickup calls from different devices and extension dialling among others. Mobile calls can be added to the office telephony bundle, providing a discount for net calls and low rates for international calls. It also has the advantage of improving mobile connectivity, because users can take advantage of Internet connectivity in places where telephone networks are unreliable.
More advanced VoIP services are provided through UC&C Voice Plus, which includes a dial-in conference bridge, on-net video calls, fax to email, a mobile client, call recording and automated call distribution. The service is equal to any telephony provision available to FTSE 100 companies, and is available without the equivalent investment in infrastructure. Both UC&C Voice and UC&C Voice Plus include ongoing maintenance and support, ensuring that telephony services remain online and available at all times to staff and customers.
For companies whose current broadband speeds would be insufficient for hosted VoIP services, UC&C offers Assured IP, an access circuit designed specifically to carry hosted VoIP products. Coupled with the full range of IP products, including an SIP trunking service, Assured IP offers a full end-to-end VoIP telephony service that is tailor-made to each business’s needs. This guarantees the available bandwidth for simultaneous telephony and Internet activity, ensuring that voice calls always connect and are of good quality. UC&C are IP experts, providing an understanding of VoIP needs. Assured IP also offers the latest monitoring and diagnostic tools to ensure that the service works seamlessly and reliably.
In addition, companies who require a hosted contact centre can choose to add OpenScape Contact Centre to their service package. UC&C’s hosted contact centre service offers businesses full call functionality with their existing SIP telephone infrastructure and includes integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. The CRM software gives agents additional information about the caller on both incoming and outgoing calls, enabling companies to improve their customer service at a stroke. In addition, the contact centre service creates a telephony network that can be instantly expanded or contracted depending on demand on a pay per use basis. This flexibility means that companies can work smarter and make the best use of their resources.
With hosted VoIP telephony services, companies can take control of their communication needs. With one bill and one point of contact for all questions and queries, it is simple to set up and simple to keep an eye on spending. VoIP gives companies a competitive advantage, because it is now possible to access the features of the most advanced communications telephony and cut costs. With the option to integrate this service into Unified Communications, businesses can modernise their way of working and collaborate in new ways, using video conferencing and integrated online workflows on the same user interface as email, voicemail and voice calls. The possibilities for everyone are exciting. To find out more about how hosted VoIP services can help your business, contact UC&C today.
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