We’ve been talking about the growth of telecommunications networks for a long time now, and how explosively our technologies are taking over the traditional telecom landscape. But a recent prediction form Strategy Analytics really underscores just how popular our solutions are becoming- and just how quickly they’re supplanting the old guard. The news comes out of a recent statement from Strategy Analytics’ executive director of enterprise research, Andrew Brown, who stated that the switch to a hosted unified communications system makes the most sense in our increasingly collaborative workplaces. Brown stated that collaboration “…frequently involves people from different organizations on mobile and non-mobile devices….” and that these new networks further enable the sorts of device-agnostic and location-independent organizational philosophies being adopted en-masse these days. Yet Brown backed up his statements with more than just forward-thinking platitudes, and brought in some hard data to support his assertions. These telecom networks accrued $7.4 billion in revenue over the last year, providing 12% year-over-year growth. At this rate, Brown argues that adoption of these telecom solutions will reach a tipping point soon, and that within two years these remote solutions will earn more annual income than traditional on-premise solutions.
The rise of the Smart Phone has been dramatic. It seems like everyone has one of these devices these days, and nearly every single Smart Phone owner raves about their device. Smart Phones certainly represent attractive and powerful telephony technology. Not only are they sleek and stylish, Smart Phones also provide a huge range of features and applications which you can take with you everywhere you go. While Smart Phones have presented a superior alternative to previous mobile phones, does that mean they stand to replace all telephony devices?
In the previous posts I had covered many obvious business reasons driving business VoIP adoption in the enterprise including costs savings, productivity increases, and image benefits. These benefits are typically enabled by VoIP infrastructure on a converged network, but achieved through IP telephony applications such as messaging, conferencing and geographic independence.
Realizing VoIP Hosted PBX benefits can be a challenge, and organizations may experience frustration, stress and even despair as they work to deploy it in their environments. Generally speaking, VoIP is much more than just another application on the network, and most organizations have never managed an application with high availability and performance requirements like those of VoIP.
The only real way to ensure lasting trouble free voice quality in an enterprise VoIP Hosted PBX deployment is through proper management of all of the devices within network path between the endpoint device (be it a handset, computer or a softphone) and a VoIP Hosted PBX service provider system.
If memory serves me correctly, five years ago, we used to position VoIP versus traditional PSTN-based dialtone. Then came the hosted concept and theme focus has turned to an on-premise VoIP versus Hosted VoIP. Today we are seeing hosted PBX service providers beginning to further differentiate themselves by targeting niche vertical markets by building on their application integration capabilities.
Hosted PBX price wars are continuing to heat up for the fourth year. The biggest battleground appear to be the growing small business market where integration capabilities coupled with soft entry costs are playing a dominant role in SMB’s choice of a unified communications platform. Most small businesses prefer to gradually increase their operating expenses while gaining immediate access to the critical unified communications technology rather than incurring a large one-time capital expense.
In my previous posts I had touched on the differences between traditional PBX and a Hosted VoIP service. Business VoIP solutions today come in all shapes and colors and also, unfortunately, under all kinds of names: Managed Hosted PBX, Hosted PBX, IP PBX, Virtual PBX etc. The names are used interchangeably as if they all mean the same thing causing confusion among buyers as to which product to use in what situation. Today I will try to explain what all these seemingly similar names mean and what is typically included and not included in each service, what the differences are between managed and unmanaged hosted services and where the boundaries of service provider’s responsibility lie in each case.
Not all managed services are created equal. Management responsibilities range from simple moves, adds and changes to fully outsourced management of the entire infrastructure of VoIP. Let’s take a closer look at some of those service tags: