As time goes on we are, without question, witnessing acceleration in the adoption of services being purchased as mainstream alternatives to on-premise, on a global scale. Whatever buyers are looking for, from CRM to business backup, a cloud option is out there.
It is the term ‘cloud’ that has won the battle to describe anything that isn’t located within a client’s physical location. However, issues have arisen because there are many variations of technology that fall within this offsite category including ‘hosted’ and ‘colocation’. The generic definition associated with ‘cloud’ causes confusion not only amongst the industry but, most importantly, for customers.
Businesses trying to decide if cloud technology will play a part in the total IT infrastructure of their organisation face an even bigger challenge by the variation in definition. This is even more critical when choosing a solution for a service as business critical as voice.
To date, the acceleration in cloud-based service adoption in business has been less true of one of the most frequently used, business critical, IT delivered services – voice. Cloud delivered voice had a shaky start in life and VoIP services were quickly labelled as poor quality or an inferior service and, in the main, a consumer offering.
The early benefits were believed to be simply low cost or free calls between ‘on-net locations’, which compounded the challenge of the service taking off as this creates very little in terms of a compelling reason to change; when the cost base of fixed-line service is currently in a race to zero anyway.
So, how does the market move on? Admittedly, for voice, the biggest error had to be that the supporting delivery technology was not ready. With the emergence of newer connectivity options, a reduction in cost and the acceleration of a ‘cloud’ IT solution; voice suppliers were quick to jump on the bandwagon again by delivering cloud-based voice services.
However, for many this was simply re-positioning an existing solution. It was still a PBX, sat in a datacentre, delivering Hosted VoIP endpoints to soft clients or an ever increasing number of SIP capable phones.
Looking to the future, all the promises of the benefits of cloud voice services, plus a whole load more, are not only available now, but changes in the technical and commercial landscape mean they are far greater than was ever imagined.
With voice, by integrating IP cloud environments with mobile voice and data networks, capabilities extend beyond IP devices and applications and into the GSM networks making services, such as cloud-based call recording, no longer the reserve of the IP networks or App developers. It becomes an on-network service that is device agnostic and controlled through a web portal.