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Onecom blog post

What Is Cloud Telephony & How Does It Work?


With the ISDN switch off only a few years away, businesses are making the move to cloud telephony. But what is cloud telephony?

What is Cloud Telephony?

Cloud telephony is a phone system that’s hosted offsite. Unlike traditional phone networks, cloud telephony systems use the internet, rather than copper wires, to connect calls. Phone data, from call logs to recordings, is securely stored on cloud servers. This reduces hardware costs and allows your telephony system to leverage all the benefits of cloud computing.

Want to switch to cloud telephony but don't know where to start? Our guide to cloud telephony tells you everything you need to know.

How Does Cloud Telephony Work?

  • Cloud telephony works by routing calls directly to your phone rather than your on-site PBX thanks to cloud-based switches and gateways.
  • Once this connection is made, a signal is sent to permit the audio of your phone call between the two endpoints.
  • Analogue voice signals are converted into data packets and transmitted over your internet connection.
  • At the other end, they are converted back into voice signals.
  • With cloud telephony, you can take advantage of features such as Call Reporting, Call Recording, multiple Voicemail inboxes and the ability to use services remotely.

This process is usually handled by your hosted VoIP solution provider and happens in a matter of moments. By bypassing traditional ISDN, it’s possible to overcome its bandwidth limitations.

ISDN E1, Europe's highest bandwidth standard, allows for 1.9mb/s. In today's always-on digital world, this rate isn't enough. Many providers are phasing ISDN support out in favour of higher bandwidth connection technologies. By 2025, the UK's ISDN network will be shut down for good.

Cloud telephony will keep your business up and running after the switch off. It also allows you to make more calls, transfer more data, and get better infrastructure support for increased reliability.

To use cloud telephony, you need to replace analogue phone extensions with VoIP phones, or digital alternatives. Then you need to plug them into your cloud telephony phone network, instead of your landline. And then it's simply a case of letting the calls roll in.

What Changes Can People Expect From Cloud Telephony?

One of the great assets of cloud telephony is its user-facing simplicity. Once installed, staff and customers are unlikely to notice any differences in call quality or their day-to-day processes. But it does open up a lot of interesting possibilities for a business.

For example, we’ve all had moments where we’ve lost call signal because our Mobile Network Operator doesn’t have good coverage. Cloud telephony can help avoid this. When working remotely, staff can connect to the office phone network, rather than their personal phone network. This can help improve call quality and reliability when out and about.

Behind the scenes, your calls are processed differently. Instead of being routed through an on-site PBX, your calls are sent directly to your phone, reducing connection time and lag.

If your cloud telephony system isn't correctly or optimally installed and managed, some businesses run into problems. Network congestion, improper queuing, or configuration errors can cause delays in how your data packets are organised and received. The result is the jittery "robot voice" effect. High GHz devices offer faster data flow, but at a limited coverage. This can cause interference and a reduction in call quality.

These two issues can easily be managed by engaging experts to help you choose the cloud telephony assets that are right for your business. Like any cloud solution, issues can be caused by many factors, so having a reliable support team is a must.

Benefits of Cloud Telephony

Cloud telephony offers a range of important benefits, including:

  1. Cost-effectiveness
  2. Flexibility
  3. Innovation
  4. Scalability
  5. Stability & Security

1. It’s cost-effective for growing businesses

Cloud telephony allows you to save money on hardware and associated repair and upgrade costs. Since everything is off-premises, you free up office space and can reallocate budgets to more exciting IT innovation. By directing calls over the internet rather than the PSTN, businesses enjoy regular, predictable bills, giving them more control over their outlays.

2. Flexible working from day one

As mentioned, cloud telephony unlocks the door for scalable and reliable remote working solutions. Any device with a stable Internet connection can be connected securely to your cloud network to keep the business running outside the office.

This enables you to proactively pursue BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiatives to further enhance employee experience and business efficiency.

3. Deliver innovative, omnichannel experiences

Switching to cloud-based VoIP cloud creates a network to connect telephony with a range of other productivity tools such as instant messaging or video conferencing.

Storing call data in the cloud gives you a centralised data hub, which allows you to start analysing your data more effectively and use it to support strategic decision-making. This further helps you to build a higher quality customer service function, promoting trust in your brand.

4. Scalability

On-premise infrastructure is bought fixed. Any updates or expansions come at a cost to the business, which includes many hidden costs. Cloud systems enable flexible working – allowing you to better allocate and cut back resources as required, in a matter of moments.

5. Stability & Security

Landline telephony systems are physically vulnerable. They can be affected by power shortages, natural disasters, or theft. Cloud phone systems enjoy the same level of security and data encryption as any modern cloud-based product. Large VoIP providers have multiple data centres located in different parts of the world. So, if one is down, the other will back it up. All the while, your data remains secure and GDPR compliant.

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