VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) for business falls into two categories. Hosted and non hosted, also called Hybrid.
Which one is best for you depends on a lot of things. Is monthly operating cost your prime concern? Is it the efficiency of your staff you're concerned about? Is it the flexibility and scalability of the solution the most important to you? Think about all those companies laying off staff because of the economy but still sitting with thousands of dollars worth of equipment that was used to support them. Maybe it's just making sure you have access to the latest technology that's important to you.
No matter what's your most important consideration, here's a brief look at the difference between Hosted and Hybrid solutions
A Hosted system means that the brains are located in a location other than your office. It could be in your local telephone companies central office or a data centre in a different city. Your telephone numbers become the property of the carrier. Using an internet connection in your office they connect a router and you connect a proprietary set into that. If you want any changes you call them and they then perform the changes and bill you accordingly.
One advantage of hosted solutions is that the only physical equipment you have at your office is the phone itself. You don't have to worry about where to mount your control unit or power protection for it. Another advantage is that the physical phone is often included in the monthly charge for the phone line. So if you need to scale up you just add more and the same monthly cost. Conversely, if you need to scale down you just reduce the number of sets. You're not stuck with equipment you no longer need or have to pay to expand a system when you need more phones/lines.
A Hybrid system is a box that has connections for conventional lines as well as a port for a DSL connection. With this solution you can have IP phones, conventional proprietary phones as well as soft phones. The biggest advantage to a hybrid solution is the versatility that you can achieve. Your secretary can answer calls from home and then transfer that call to various offices. The sales force can have soft phones on their laptops and call locals in their headquarters from different cities. The owner can still be in touch with his company while on the road for business or out at his cabin.
A Hybrid system is still scalable, but remember that if you expand you may need to purchase additional hardware, and if you need to scale down you will be left with some equipment to store or sell. An advantage to this setup is that it's a capital cost with a lower monthly cost. You buy the system and then only pay for your phone line access. Clients of ours that choose this solution also cite having more control over their system as a deciding factor.
Which one is the best solution for you?
Well of course that depends on your unique situation and your desired goals. It's not just about the cost though, it's about your business processes, your desire to provide a flexible working environment for you and your staff....making technology work for you instead of the other way around.
Give us a call at 403-543-6959 to discuss your needs, we'll help guide you to the right choice for you.
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