If you’re a dedicated, avid reader of our CCi Voice blogs—and we’re guessing that you are—then you’ve definitely seen us throw around the terms “Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP)” and “Cloud Phone Systems.” These buzzwords of Internet telephony are used to discuss cutting-edge communications in realms such as small business, healthcare, nonprofit, schools, and contact centers. In truth, despite the divergent language, there’s not much that separates the two terms from each other.
Cloud phone systems and VoIP essentially offer the same phone system functionality.
Even with that in mind, let’s fully define each term and find out if there are any hidden devils in the details.
VoIP: A Technologically Advanced PBX
As you know, a PBX (Private Branch eXchange) is a hardware system that handles routing and switching of calls between a business location and the telephone network. Way back when, a PBX was an actual person; a switchboard operator you might see in an old-timey Hollywood movie. The name originates from the way operators would “switch” numerous telephone lines to connect callers with the people they were calling.
VoIP services were designed to fully replace analog PBX systems that operate on Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). Analog and Digital PBX phone systems were exceedingly popular throughout the 20th century, but much of the proprietary wiring and physical hardware that a PBX system needs to function has become obsolete. VoIP eliminates the need for such wiring and hardware because it’s powered entirely by an Internet connection and the local computer network that is already in place.
Time marches on, and now all features that were once exclusive to expensive and difficult to manage PBX systems are easily accessible through VoIP. This includes tools of the trade you use everyday, such as auto attendants, queues, multi-party conferencing, call reporting, and more. VoIP appropriated these and other features, improving them and making them more accessible and cost effective.
VoIP cuts costs in equipment, maintenance, and repairs, while simplifying the requests for support and upgrades. And when you work with CCi Voice to meet your VoIP needs, you get access to enterprise-grade features and support that would typically be reserved for large corporations. In other words, VoIP levels the playing field.
Cloud Phone System: Unified Communications
Essentially, VoIP is often co-branded as cloud phone systems. The two terms are used so interchangeably, that they often appear on the same page or even in the same sentence, describing the same service. Saying “the cloud” is another way of describing how a VoIP provider’s services interact with a user.
Cloud services are an extension of “hosted” services, in that both signal that the VoIP provider maintains and owns the phone system’s hardware. The “cloud” is merely an abstract way to think about where your information is stored, as opposed to on-site, closet-based servers of years past.
Cloud Phone Systems incorporate VoIP into what’s known as Unified Communications (UC), which refers to the ability for any device with an Internet connection to become a potential “phone.” This includes smartphones, web phones, softphones, laptops, and tablets. The communication innovations of UC can dial extensions, make video calls, and manage voicemail.
Cloud systems offer ways to communicate with your team with collaboration features such as real-time presence, instant messaging, call analytics, and click-to-call functionality. Many cloud phone systems retain some kind of standard PBX features, although some of the more cutting-edge options abandon the desk phone altogether.
Takeaway: Why Move Your Phone System to the CCi Voice Cloud?
Semantics aside, there are several reasons why a business, contact center, school, nonprofit, or healthcare organization should consider transitioning their existing phone system to a cloud phone system, or hosted VoIP system, through a partnership with CCi Voice.
- Cloud solutions are explicitly designed to accommodate the needs of organizations of all sizes and functions. All Unified Communications features are available, at extremely reasonable prices.
- There’s no need to sacrifice features and flexibility. A Cloud Phone System that utilizes VoIP offers enterprise-class features for every single user.
- The innovative softphone untethers users from their desk, giving users the power to make and receive calls no matter where they are.
- It saves your organization’s time and resources by alleviating the burden of hardware configuration and management. Additionally, it lowers your total cost of ownership and other previously unavoidable expenses.
- A phone system that operates in the cloud has almost ZERO additional upfront hardware costs.
- Cloud systems are designed to be incredibly scalable, meaning you can add new users easily without purchasing new hardware, unless you choose to give these users a desk phone. Cloud = almost nothing to buy in your own closet, other than the network equipment (Ethernet switches and firewall) that you probably already have.