Given the growing complexity and options in the field of telecommunications, it is important to keep an eye on developments if you expect to keep a reasonable handle on planning for your short and medium term needs. Of course, defining your requirements is much more involved today than, for example, “I think we need 15 lines and 30 telephones.” Other considerations may include:
Voicemail to email integration
Integration with CRM software
Contact centre users
Remote/work from home users
Multiple branch communications
Premise based telephone systems are well suited for larger organizations and those with the resources to support and administer on-site hardware. These are available in either Digital or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions.
Premise based digital telephone systems may be equipped to support both analog and digital connections (trunks) to the outside world. Digital trunks or PRIs(Primary Rate Interface) will each support up to 23 voice channels. Internal workstation and other end points will be equipped with digital telephones. The system may also have analog station ports to connect other devices such as fax machines, door phones, etc.
Digital systems may also be configured as hybrid systems and include support for IP end points. This is often useful for the remote/work from home users.
VoIP (Voice over IP) systems may be equipped to support both analog and digital trunks as well as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunks. Both IP telephones and analog devices may be supported internally. IP telephones would normally be supported by PoE (Power over Ethernet) switches rather than connecting to a power source at each end point.
Before ordering a VoIP system, have a network assessment performed to ensure your network is suitable.
Hosted, or Cloud-based VoIP systems offer sophisticated features without a capital investment. UCaasS (Unified Communication as a Service) is quickly becoming a popular option and certainly worthy of consideration. The ability to deploy this system using the operating budget makes it particularly attractive to small and medium businesses.
As in premise-based VoIP systems, a network assessment is a pre-requisite for a cloud-based system deployment.
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