Ohio.net: How VoIP is enabling companies to conduct business on the go Featured

4:10am EDT November 26, 2013
Alex Desberg, Sales and marketing director, Ohio.net Alex Desberg, Sales and marketing director, Ohio.net

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Cloud computing for business has become commonplace. The reason? Companies want technological conveniences and marketplace advantages. However, phone services are often left behind because of traditional phone service capabilities.

This is starting to change. Now, instead of being subject to the capabilities of a phone system, businesses are dictating how they want to communicate with their customers.

In the future, Alex Desberg, sales and marketing director at Ohio.net, says he envisions a mass migration away from stationary services tied to brick and mortar to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) capabilities that incorporate the desk phone, the cell phone and Web-based services.

“VoIP can play a huge role by incorporating offices with telecommuters and a mobile workforce,” he says.

Smart Business spoke with Desberg about the evolution of VoIP, who is driving the changes and what he expects in the future.

How is the VoIP world evolving to serve its customers?

It’s amazing how quickly the VoIP industry has evolved in a relatively short time. In contrast, traditional phone services are nearly exact replicas of what they were decades ago. While traditional telecom offers different services and features on various phone systems, the fundamental telephone service hasn’t changed.

In the VoIP world, the primary change we’ve seen has been moving from basic emulation and hosted services to highly expandable VoIP solutions that incorporate many new features. Businesses have developed a high comfort level with VoIP, so there has been a shift to businesses wanting to manage their own VoIP solutions; they just don’t want the responsibility of hosting the phone system. This do-it-yourself approach has gained traction as a tactic to save money by limiting outsourcing. Since VoIP systems are cloud based, a company’s communications infrastructure, which is hosted remotely, is still safe and secure.

Are there any other areas of evolutionary change?

Another example of evolutionary change is that VoIP providers are now incorporating functionality into cloud platforms that were traditionally only available on a network.

For instance, call recording on a hosted system used to work by having a server with devices that were able to record phone calls. With the second generation of cloud-based private branch exchange, this can be brought into the cloud environment and is immediately available for anyone on the phone network in real time.

Who is driving the changes?

Most VoIP systems are driven by the software and platform that they were built with. That has been the limiting factor of early versions of VoIP. Now, customers are dictating how they want the system to work and how quickly the evolution curve is. In essence, the customer’s input is impacting the direction of VoIP.

How is VoIP able to respond to changes in the telecom market so quickly?

The VoIP life cycle moves at an accelerated pace when compared to traditional telephony. Perhaps the best way to measure VoIP time is to compare it to Internet time, which moves at a much quicker rate than anything we’ve seen historically.

Over the next several years, as software changes and new technologies develop, consumers are going to witness further evolutions in the VoIP field.

How do you envision the future of VoIP?

We are going to continue to see the shift to a cloud-based model. With hosted VoIP, there are still phone devices on the office desk. However, businesses want their phone services to integrate with their mobile devices. A common request from customers is to have their business phone number integrate to their cell phone so they can respond to the needs of their customers more timely.

Businesses are looking for different characteristics associated with their phone system that will help set themselves apart from their competitors.

Alex Desberg is sales and marketing director at Ohio.net. Reach him at adesberg@ohio.net.

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