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Is a hosted phone system what your business needs?

There is never a one size fits all with this sort of question. As the “cloud” becomes more popular many services are becoming fully hosted.

Phones systems have been available this way for some time now but only in the last year or so have they really become an alternative as well as a competitive advantage. How so?

Before I can answer that some of you need to know a bit about what they are and how they are used. I promise no technical descriptions here. If you already know the basics skip ahead to Advantages.

You have some handsets in your office. These must be IP phones and usually supplied by the hosting company. You should expect to pay between £70 - £250 per handset. The more expensive ones (executive handsets) have colour displays and more buttons such as quick dials and other functions. The cheaper end can have just a single line display showing your extension number or, when a call comes in, the caller’s number.

In an ideal world you will have power for the phones come through your network cabling, a technology known as “Power over Ethernet” PoE. If you don’t have PoE on your network you will need to power the phones individually. Some manufacturers charge separately for power supplies for the handset.

So there will be some hardware costs for handsets, power supplies or PoE switches. These are one-off costs. You will then pay a monthly rental for each extension or for the hosted system as a whole. The system is hosted on the internet and the handsets log into it securely. Calls from handset to handset are handled on your hosted system directly and therefore not chargeable. You would expect this to be the case as these are internal calls. Here is a little twist that makes this interesting.

Advantages

1) Every extension to extension call is internal and free from charge. The phones log into the system from any location with internet access.

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Author: Paul Howes

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