Cloud-based Phone System

Get affordable and scalable voice communications with a cloud phone system

Business-Solutions-cloud-migration.png

Cloud-based Phone System

Get affordable and scalable voice communications with a cloud phone system

Business-Solutions-cloud-migration.png

Cloud-based Phone System

Get affordable and scalable voice communications with a cloud phone system

Business-Solutions-cloud-migration.png

Cloud-based Phone System

Get affordable and scalable voice communications with a cloud phone system

Business-Solutions-cloud-migration.png

Traditional landline phone systems can be too restrictive in terms of mobility. You need to stay at your desk at all times if you don't want to miss a phone call.

Luckily, with a cloud phone system, which allows internet calling, you can break free of your desk phone. Using Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) tech, a cloud phone system allows you to make and receive calls anytime from anywhere in the world.

But what exactly are cloud-based phone systems and why should you invest in them? In this article, we’ll go over what cloud PBX systems and other cloud-based communications platforms are, as well as their advantages, challenges, and features. By the end, you’ll know exactly why you should switch to a modern form of business telephony.

What is a cloud-based phone system?

What is a cloud-based phone system?

What is a cloud-based phone system?

What is a cloud-based phone system?

A cloud-based phone system is a communications solution that uses VoIP to make and receive calls over the internet instead of physical landlines. The solution is remotely managed by the business cloud phone provider in their off-premises data centers.

Cloud phone systems give you the calling features of traditional Private Branch Exchanges (PBX), with all the advanced features available via VoIP. They allow you to streamline your business communications while gaining access to cloud phone system features, like call routing and an auto-attendant. Such solutions also help keep your business secure with enterprise-level security and encryption.

How does a cloud phone system work?

How does a cloud phone system work?

How does a cloud phone system work?

How does a cloud phone system work?

On the surface, a cloud phone system functions like a normal phone. However, instead of using traditional phone lines, VoIP uses the power of the internet to make calls. With cloud telephony, all of this is facilitated through a VoIP service provider, like 8x8.

When you dial a number, the call is routed by:

  1. Converting analog voice signals into data packets.
  2. Transmitting those data packets over your broadband network.
  3. Your VoIP provider then takes the data packets and turns them back into analog voice signals to be heard by the person on the other end of the line.

All of this happens via your internet connection, which can be provided by a mobile network, WiFi, or an Ethernet cable. When you are on WiFi or hard connected to a physical network, your calls are sent through your router and modem before being sent to the VoIP provider. On a mobile network, all you need is a 3G/4G/5G/LTE connection.

Cloud telephony vs. traditional PBX

Now that we know how cloud telephony works, we should talk about how it differs from a traditional PBX using landlines.

The biggest difference is that traditional PBX uses phone lines to transmit voice data between callers. Alternatively, cloud PBX uses your broadband or mobile network in order to make and receive calls.

Take a look at the table for more differences between traditional and hosted PBX systems or other cloud-based phone solutions.

On the surface, a cloud phone system functions like a normal phone. However, instead of using traditional phone lines, VoIP uses the power of the internet to make calls. With cloud telephony, all of this is facilitated through a VoIP service provider, like 8x8.

When you dial a number, the call is routed by:

  1. Converting analog voice signals into data packets.
  2. Transmitting those data packets over your broadband network.
  3. Your VoIP provider then takes the data packets and turns them back into analog voice signals to be heard by the person on the other end of the line.

All of this happens via your internet connection, which can be provided by a mobile network, WiFi, or an Ethernet cable. When you are on WiFi or hard connected to a physical network, your calls are sent through your router and modem before being sent to the VoIP provider. On a mobile network, all you need is a 3G/4G/5G/LTE connection.

Cloud telephony vs. traditional PBX

Now that we know how cloud telephony works, we should talk about how it differs from a traditional PBX using landlines.

The biggest difference is that traditional PBX uses phone lines to transmit voice data between callers. Alternatively, cloud PBX uses your broadband or mobile network in order to make and receive calls.

Take a look at the table for more differences between traditional and hosted PBX systems or other cloud-based phone solutions.

On the surface, a cloud phone system functions like a normal phone. However, instead of using traditional phone lines, VoIP uses the power of the internet to make calls. With cloud telephony, all of this is facilitated through a VoIP service provider, like 8x8.

When you dial a number, the call is routed by:

  1. Converting analog voice signals into data packets.
  2. Transmitting those data packets over your broadband network.
  3. Your VoIP provider then takes the data packets and turns them back into analog voice signals to be heard by the person on the other end of the line.

All of this happens via your internet connection, which can be provided by a mobile network, WiFi, or an Ethernet cable. When you are on WiFi or hard connected to a physical network, your calls are sent through your router and modem before being sent to the VoIP provider. On a mobile network, all you need is a 3G/4G/5G/LTE connection.

Cloud telephony vs. traditional PBX

Now that we know how cloud telephony works, we should talk about how it differs from a traditional PBX using landlines.

The biggest difference is that traditional PBX uses phone lines to transmit voice data between callers. Alternatively, cloud PBX uses your broadband or mobile network in order to make and receive calls.

Take a look at the table for more differences between traditional and hosted PBX systems or other cloud-based phone solutions.

On the surface, a cloud phone system functions like a normal phone. However, instead of using traditional phone lines, VoIP uses the power of the internet to make calls. With cloud telephony, all of this is facilitated through a VoIP service provider, like 8x8.

When you dial a number, the call is routed by:

  1. Converting analog voice signals into data packets.
  2. Transmitting those data packets over your broadband network.
  3. Your VoIP provider then takes the data packets and turns them back into analog voice signals to be heard by the person on the other end of the line.

All of this happens via your internet connection, which can be provided by a mobile network, WiFi, or an Ethernet cable. When you are on WiFi or hard connected to a physical network, your calls are sent through your router and modem before being sent to the VoIP provider. On a mobile network, all you need is a 3G/4G/5G/LTE connection.

Cloud telephony vs. traditional PBX

Now that we know how cloud telephony works, we should talk about how it differs from a traditional PBX using landlines.

The biggest difference is that traditional PBX uses phone lines to transmit voice data between callers. Alternatively, cloud PBX uses your broadband or mobile network in order to make and receive calls.

Take a look at the table for more differences between traditional and hosted PBX systems or other cloud-based phone solutions.

Traditional on-premises PBXHosted cloud-based phone systems
PriceExpensive for initial hardware and set-up. It’s also expensive to add lines and usually comes with higher monthly costs.Low cost for set-up and no need to invest in any additional equipment. You also experience cost savings with a lower price per line.
ImplementationComplex and costly set-up, usually involving an expert coming on-premises.Quick installation that just takes minutes. You can receive virtual support, but there is no need for a specialist to come on-site.
Phone optionsWith traditional phone systems, you require a traditional desk phone.With cloud VoIP, you can use an IP phone, your old desk phone, a computer, or your mobile device.
MaintenanceRequires regular maintenance.Updates and upgrades are automatic and rolled out to all subscribers without any effort by you.
FeaturesBasic calling features. Any add-ons are often expensive.Comes with advanced calling features like call recording, call routing, and voicemail transcription.

Traditional on-premises PBXHosted cloud-based phone systems
PriceExpensive for initial hardware and set-up. It’s also expensive to add lines and usually comes with higher monthly costs.Low cost for set-up and no need to invest in any additional equipment. You also experience cost savings with a lower price per line.
ImplementationComplex and costly set-up, usually involving an expert coming on-premises.Quick installation that just takes minutes. You can receive virtual support, but there is no need for a specialist to come on-site.
Phone optionsWith traditional phone systems, you require a traditional desk phone.With cloud VoIP, you can use an IP phone, your old desk phone, a computer, or your mobile device.
MaintenanceRequires regular maintenance.Updates and upgrades are automatic and rolled out to all subscribers without any effort by you.
FeaturesBasic calling features. Any add-ons are often expensive.Comes with advanced calling features like call recording, call routing, and voicemail transcription.

Traditional on-premises PBXHosted cloud-based phone systems
PriceExpensive for initial hardware and set-up. It’s also expensive to add lines and usually comes with higher monthly costs.Low cost for set-up and no need to invest in any additional equipment. You also experience cost savings with a lower price per line.
ImplementationComplex and costly set-up, usually involving an expert coming on-premises.Quick installation that just takes minutes. You can receive virtual support, but there is no need for a specialist to come on-site.
Phone optionsWith traditional phone systems, you require a traditional desk phone.With cloud VoIP, you can use an IP phone, your old desk phone, a computer, or your mobile device.
MaintenanceRequires regular maintenance.Updates and upgrades are automatic and rolled out to all subscribers without any effort by you.
FeaturesBasic calling features. Any add-ons are often expensive.Comes with advanced calling features like call recording, call routing, and voicemail transcription.

Traditional on-premises PBXHosted cloud-based phone systems
PriceExpensive for initial hardware and set-up. It’s also expensive to add lines and usually comes with higher monthly costs.Low cost for set-up and no need to invest in any additional equipment. You also experience cost savings with a lower price per line.
ImplementationComplex and costly set-up, usually involving an expert coming on-premises.Quick installation that just takes minutes. You can receive virtual support, but there is no need for a specialist to come on-site.
Phone optionsWith traditional phone systems, you require a traditional desk phone.With cloud VoIP, you can use an IP phone, your old desk phone, a computer, or your mobile device.
MaintenanceRequires regular maintenance.Updates and upgrades are automatic and rolled out to all subscribers without any effort by you.
FeaturesBasic calling features. Any add-ons are often expensive.Comes with advanced calling features like call recording, call routing, and voicemail transcription.

Advantages and challenges of cloud phone systems

Advantages and challenges of cloud phone systems

Advantages and challenges of cloud phone systems

Advantages and challenges of cloud phone systems

If you’re looking to switch to cloud communications for your phone solutions, there are some advantages and challenges you should consider.

Your business needs the best in call quality and reliability. Cloud-based solutions deliver on all fronts. But what other benefits will you reap from switching to a virtual PBX system or other cloud-based communications platform?

Advantages of cloud-based phone systems

Easy scalability

Unlike traditional phone systems, cloud-based communications solutions make scaling easy. Traditionally, adding a new line may require buying new hardware and running expensive copper wiring. This requires time and money that your business could invest in other things.

With hosted VoIP solutions, you can easily add and remove lines directly from your account. With virtual phone system providers, like 8x8, you will never pay for a line you don’t need. Also, you pay by user, so you are never throwing money away on lines you aren’t using.

Affordable pricing

As you can see from the table above, cloud-based VoIP systems are more affordable than traditional systems. Hosted PBX allows you to save money by:

  • Requiring no hardware
  • Having very few set-up fees
  • Requiring little maintenance
  • Having lower costs per users
  • Providing advanced calling features that will provide a higher ROI.

Unified communications

Cloud-based VoIP solutions allow you to have an effective unified communications strategy. Hosted PBX allows for much more than voice calling. It’s far easier to twin with video conferencing, business SMS messaging, team group messaging, and more.

The best part of cloud-based systems are the integrations they offer. You can avoid data and communication silos by keeping all your communication platforms in one place. You can also connect your CRM software to your VoIP service to provide the optimal customer support.

Each business VoIP provider has options for integrations, so make sure when choosing a system, the service has all the integrations you need. For example, 8x8 has pre-made integrations with:

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Salesforce
  • Google Workspace
  • Freshdesk
  • Hubspot
  • And so many more!

If we don’t have what you need, you can always create your own integration using an API.

Flexibility

Since you are no longer tied down to your traditional desk phone, you can do work from virtually anywhere. You can even use your business phone number to make and receive calls from your personal cell phone. As long as you have an internet connection, you will be sure to never miss a call.

VoIP services even allow you to switch between devices in the middle of a call. You can easily move between your IP phone to your mobile device with the push of a button.

Advanced calling features

Whether you have a large contact center or only a few team members, the advanced calling features that cloud solutions provide make your team communicate more effectively with both each other and your customers.

Some advanced calling features that services like 8x8 provide include:

  • Internet faxing
  • Call forwarding
  • Interactive voice response (IVR)
  • Caller ID
  • And more…

We will go over the advanced features you need in your cloud phone system below. Unlike traditional phones, these features are included in the price of your service. You don’t have to pay extra for additional features that your company needs for effective customer service and team collaboration.

Challenges of using a cloud phone system

May need to invest in updated networking equipment

While cloud-based systems usually require no expensive equipment during installation, you may have to look at your internet network to ensure that all your equipment is up to the task. You need to have a router and switch that is strong enough to handle internet calling along with your other business processes.

However, this should be a part of regular maintenance at your office. Ensuring that your networking equipment is up-to-date makes your business operations more secure, faster, and more reliable. When you’re looking to get a hosted phone service, make sure:

  • You have a router and modem that is relatively new
  • Check to see the strength of your WiFi in all parts of your building
  • Test your internet speeds
  • Make sure your ethernet cables are updated

You need a stable internet connection

Depending on where you live and the internet services available, this may be a challenge. However, it is important to have a stable internet connection to make and receive high-quality calls.

The good news is that VoIP doesn’t require a lot of bandwidth to make high-quality calls. Each user just needs 100 kbps. If you aren’t sure you have enough bandwidth, you can always perform an internet speed test to check.

If you don’t have good enough upload speeds, check with your internet service provider on improving your speeds. That could mean:

  • Upgrading to a plan with higher speeds
  • Switching internet providers
  • Having your current provider replace networking cables.

Latency and jitter

When you’re calling over wireless networks, the most common quality problems you will encounter are with latency and jitter. The voice data has to make it through multiple different servers before reaching the other end.

However, you can reduce the chance of either by:

  • Making sure you have enough bandwidth for VoIP calling
  • Using an ethernet connection instead of WiFi for your phones and computers

Must-have features for VoIP business phone systems

Must-have features for VoIP business phone systems

Must-have features for VoIP business phone systems

Must-have features for VoIP business phone systems

Like most SaaS systems, not all cloud phone solutions are created equal. So, what exactly should you be looking for in a VoIP service provider? Well, it all comes down to the features. Along with call quality and reliability, the features provided by VoIP systems set them apart from traditional telephony.

Look out for the following features when searching for a new provider:

Voicemail to email transcription

Especially if you have a job that requires you to juggle answering phone calls, attending meetings, and doing other tasks, you probably listen to a lot of voicemails. It can be draining trying to listen to and write down messages.

With some VoIP based systems, you can skip the middleman and just read your voicemails in your inbox. That also means that you have a single platform where you check your messages. You can then look at the visual voicemail when you call the person back, ensuring you don’t miss anything.

SMS messaging

While voice calls are still important, sometimes a quick text message is all you need. With VoIP, you aren’t limited to just business voice calling. You can send and receive a text message to a client or a member of your team from any device, like a mobile phone or computer.

Video conferencing

The convenience of video meetings causes less disruption in your day, allowing you to be more productive. Video calling software also allows you to collaborate and communicate more efficiently with your team. Video conferencing allows screen sharing and the exchange of documents. This means that you don’t have to just tell your team, you can show them.

Some of the video conferencing features provided through 8x8 include:

  • HD video
  • Virtual backgrounds
  • Mobile browser support
  • Moderation controls
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Cloud recordings
  • Calendar integrations
  • Share videos and stream live on YouTube
  • Share audio
  • And more!

However, keep in mind that most VoIP providers only offer voice support. So, you might need to upgrade to a unified communications platform for video calls and conferencing.

Auto attendant

Auto attendants use interactive voice response (IVR) technology to route your incoming calls. The auto attendant automatically answers phone calls to your business and directs the caller to whoever they’re trying to reach.

The auto attendant uses an interactive menu to determine what your customer needs and who can best serve them.

Mobile app

With VoIP telephony, you can easily use your mobile device to make and receive calls. All great VoIP service providers have a phone app to make it easy to use your cell phone or tablet as a softphone.

With the app, you can use your business number without having to carry two mobile devices. You’ll also have access to your calling features, messages, and voicemails with the app.

Call forwarding

Call forwarding ensures that an incoming call always reaches someone on your team. You can set conditions in your dashboard to route calls to a different team member when you’re busy or on vacation.

We can’t be at the office or available to answer calls 24/7. But with call forwarding, you can ensure that the calls reach the person covering for you.

Call recording

Whether for training or quality assurance, call recording is a must-have when it comes to VoIP services. The best part is that often the calls record in real-time, and some systems provide a text transcript of the entire call instantly.

This allows you to review aspects of the phone call after you hang up. You don’t have to remember all the details of the call or take extensive notes. That leaves you with the space to focus on providing the best customer service possible.

Other advanced features with 8x8

Some other important calling features include:

  • Web phones: You can make calls directly from your browser.
  • Call routing: Call routing allows you to automatically complete call transfers to the right team member.
  • Hold music: Don’t make customers wait for a team member to the musical tones of a telephone ring. You let them listen to music while they wait for someone to become available.
  • Call queuing: This allows you to have callers wait in a queue if you have multiple callers at the same time. The system will let them know where they are in line.

The 8x8 cloud phone system

The 8x8 cloud phone system

The 8x8 cloud phone system

The 8x8 cloud phone system

Cloud phone systems are the best and brightest in modern business communications. You can feel free to live your life without ever worrying about missing an important call. By making calls over the internet, you can communicate and collaborate more efficiently. Not only will this make your life easier but it will also make your organization more successful.

Whether you have a small business or a large corporation, 8x8 is the cloud-based phone solution for you. If you want to learn more about what a cloud solution can do for you, contact our team or start your 30-day free trial today.

Ready to get started with your new cloud phone system? Request a demo or contact sales today.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Do I need to buy new business phones?

No. With VoIP you can:

  • Keep your old office phone by using an adapter
  • Use a desktop app on your computer or laptop
  • Use your Android or iOS mobile device
  • Invest in an IP phone

You can use the phones you already have or invest in new phones. But remember, you’re not limited to just one device. You can switch between devices depending on your needs.

Can I keep my number?

Yes. You can easily port your old business number to your new service. If you are looking for a change, you can also choose a custom number. This includes toll-free and local numbers depending on what works best for your business.

How does VoIP fit into UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)?

Telephony is still a vital part of business communications, so it really isn’t a surprise that VoIP’s a vital aspect of UCaaS. VoIP functionality is what allows for audio and video calls over the internet. When it comes to business communications platforms for small and large businesses they simply wouldn’t work without VoIP technology.

Integrating VoIP with other advanced communication features as part of UCaaS platforms is what allows you to have a seamless workflow while limiting any data or communication silos.

Will a business VoIP phone system work for my small business?

Yes!

Because it is easily scalable and affordable, VoIP based phone systems are perfect for small businesses. They require very little initial investment and offer all the support that a growing business needs. If you’re a business owner, then cloud-based, VoIP-powered communications will allow you to manage your life more easily and take your operation with you wherever you go.