MegaPath, a major competitive network carrier and cloud service provider, is adding cloud-delivered unified communications video services to its hosted PBX portfolio.
The key to video with voice is a new generation of business phones that replaces traditional analog desk phones and even VoIP digital phones. Polycom, one of the leaders in IP telephony, calls these media phones. These are telephones with video screens. Think of them as tablets that look like telephones. Some have cameras built-in. Others use a plug-in webcam.
Unified Communications (UC) is the process of combining voice, data and video on a single network. UC in the cloud is the next step. All you need are your company LAN and the network attached equipment that meets your business needs. In many cases, this is desktop computers and telephones. Everything else can go to the cloud. Add video capability and you have desktop conferencing without buying any new servers or making big changes to your network. All the complexity involved in making this work is handled out there in the cloud.
What are the advantages of adding video to your voice communications? You instantly have video conferencing without the infrastructure and inconvenience of setting up special video conference rooms and having people convene there at a particular time. Video conferencing has long been used as a substitute for expensive and time consuming travel. Desktop video conferencing takes that to the next level. Now you can have spontaneous or scheduled video conferences without having to uproot otherwise productive employees just to waste time gathering at the other end of the office.
Where else do you see this type of personalized video communications? Smartphones, of course. Also tablets, Ultrabooks and laptop computers. All of these have one thing in common: mobility.
The fact is that people don’t work in one particular location anymore. You may have your first conversations before you leave home in the morning or on the way to work. Then you spend some time at your desk along with moving around in the office. Many employees will leave the office building at some point to meet with clients or other business and personal related activities. In the old days that means having an operator take your incoming messages or letting callers record voicemail. You’d find out who was calling and why when you got back to your desk.
At the speed of business now, you can’t afford to be incommunicado for hours or even minutes. A missing employee can put an entire team project on hold. A sales prospect may well move on to the next vendor if they don’t get through to a person immediately. You need all of your communications integrated into one unified system.
This is where cloud-based PBX services shine. They support integrating desk phones and mobile phones in a process called Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC). With the addition of video and single number calling, you are now connected at all times with the same feature set no matter where you happen to be.
Another feature of many hosted VoIP systems is HD audio. We’re used to the sound of standard “toll grade” voice quality. This has somewhat degraded with the introduction of mobile phones and some inadequate VoIP systems. HD audio reverses the trend to make VoIP a higher voice quality service than traditional analog and digital TDM arrangements.
Are you feeling that your current business phone system is hurting rather than enhancing your productivity. Are you having maintenance headaches or face a major capital investment in new equipment? Don’t commit yourself to any particular solution until you’ve had the chance to evaluate Hosted PBX Cloud Services for audio and video communications.