Cloud-based telephony: Equipped today for communication of tomorrow4. November 2020 Published by Jana Greyling
The coronavirus crisis has led to a surge in digitalization at many German companies almost overnight. That is especially true in the field of communication – including telephony.
The use of cloud telephony in business is something new, particularly in Germany. According to IDG’s 2019 Smart Business Communications Study, 49 percent of the total of 343 German companies surveyed used an IP telephone system and 33 percent a “conventional” telecommunications system (analog/ISDN). Moreover, 31 of all surveyed German companies were already using cloud-based telephony.
Looking at the business revenues for providers of unified communications and collaboration services such as Microsoft Teams, Skype or Zoom over the past months, you can see a clear change in the stance of German companies toward cloud services in general – especially in the communications arena. So is it worthwhile migrating telephony to the cloud and switching from the traditional telephone system to cloud telephony?
New flexibility thanks to the cloud – a game changer?
There’s no doubt that cloud telephony boasts many advantages, in particular maximum flexibility when it comes to keeping in contact from anywhere. What used to be discussed over a local telephone system is now transmitted solely over the Internet line in cloud telephony and conversations are hosted on the servers of the service provider in question (VoIP).
Cloud telephony means a wide range of different end-user devices (such as a laptop, Internet-enabled phone, etc.) can be reached anywhere with one single number. Conversations are managed by means of a specially created account. New employees can be added with just a few clicks. The only requirement: An Internet connection that works well and has enough bandwidth, since every call needs about 100 kbit/s upstream and downstream, which might be a problem in rural regions in particular.
Nevertheless, many German companies have already come to appreciate the newly discovered flexibility, since it benefits many employees who work from a home office. Even before the coronavirus crisis, there had been an increasing change in what German companies demanded of telecommunications solutions. Even small companies often have several branches. A cloud-based telephone system does not require separate hardware at the various locations – one IP phone for every employee is enough. Depending on requirements, one to up to 20,000 DECT phones can be managed using supplementary telephony solutions, such as the N870 IP PRO multi-cell system from Gigaset. The combination of cloud telephony and Gigaset is therefore ideal for companies spread across different locations. And as companies grow, they can add and set up new phones easily thanks to auto provisioning and remote configuration – on their own, without needing the help of service technicians or the like.
Additional features simplify operation
Cloud telephony enables the use of other features that could not be integrated with the phone in a conventional phone system. Call forwarding, the mailbox and waiting queues can usually be integrated even better in the system, making them easier to use. If softphones (software for IP telephony) are used, it is also possible to implement various interfaces, such as to Outlook’s Exchange program, which makes it easier to select and call contacts. However, integration with CRM and ERP systems or even Microsoft Teams enables further telephone system functions to be used.
In cooperation with partners like NFON, BroadCloud, 3CX and STARFACE, Gigaset offers its users extensive integration of its Gigaset pro DECT solutions in the respective cloud-based telecommunications platform. Users benefit from advanced features, such as auto provisioning or management of extensions using the partner’s service portal. Business customers have access to the central phone book from their handsets and benefit from access to the PBX menu with its practical functions, such as call forwarding, hot desking and waiting queues.
The software used in also updated by regular function updates, ensuring a high standard of security at all times.
Security thanks to external data centers
There is also no more need for misgivings about security and data privacy or fear of eavesdropping, which were often major deterrents to using cloud telephony. Cloud-based telephone systems are hosted in highly secure data centers and so are protected against access by third parties and environmental impacts at all times. Data centers in Germany are subject to strict statutory requirements protecting confidential data against being viewed or heard by authorized persons and ensuring that sensitive business secrets also remain secret.
User-oriented and cost-cutting
Finally, communication via the cloud offers a benefit not be sneezed at: the clear potential to cut costs. Companies do not incur maintenance or repair costs, since the provider hosts the telephone system in the cloud and so is responsible for maintenance and updates. Moreover, extra capacities do not have to be built up at great expense. Instead, companies can use additional services quickly and easily as and when their requirements grow. In addition, the billing models of cloud telephony providers offer cost advantages, since they can tailor the virtual telephone systems precisely to the needs of the company in question.
That is why Gigaset closely networks with all major European cloud telephony providers and continuously coordinates its systems with these platforms to ensure the very best functionality and maximum performance. As a result, customers pay only for what they actually need. Not only cloud telephony is inexpensive in the long run – Gigaset’s phones also have a very good total cost of ownership thanks to their extensive functionality and long service life that comes from the high quality of their workmanship.
Profitable cooperation with cloud providers
Yet, as is so often the case, even the greatest features and top-class technology would be of little use without reliable service in the background. Cloud telephony providers and hardware manufacturers should therefore close dialog in implementing solutions so that their collaboration ultimately runs smoothly. That is exactly why Gigaset has an extensive partner program with cloud providers that ensures perfect cooperation. The prevailing circumstances are examined together so that the partners can work in tandem to find the best option for the customer. Extensive testing is guaranteed by the cloud telephony provider and Gigaset’s experts so that the chosen solution also works perfectly. These close partnerships between Gigaset and cloud telephony providers also ensure continuous software updates and their direct rollout.
Combining the advantages
Combining cloud-based telephony with high-quality end-user devices from Gigaset means customers obtain an ideal solution. As a result, they can reap the advantages of unprecedented flexibility in communication coupled with reliability and high quality in a cost-effective way – the ideal telecommunications setup both for the present and the future.