What is cloud calling (cloud telephony)?
Cloud calling, also known as cloud telephony, is one form of unified communications as a service (UCaaS) that’s managed by a third-party provider. It’s voice calling that takes place through an internet connection versus a traditional landline and telephony system, providing businesses with a flexible, modern calling solution.
UCaaS is a cloud delivery model. It brings multiple communication types—such as chat, video conferencing, file sharing, and telephony—together into one cloud-based platform. This helps eliminate the need for multiple communication tools and clunky frameworks that can hamper workplace organization and productivity. Through a unified communications setup, businesses have more control over workflows and processes, and people can connect and collaborate seamlessly and efficiently without needing to switch between different communication tools.
Businesses are increasingly adopting cloud-based solutions to streamline their operations, enhance connectivity, and save on costs. In this article, explore how cloud calling works, its benefits, and its impact on modern communication.
How cloud calling works
Cloud calling requires a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service provider. VoIP is a cloud-based technology that enables you to make voice calls through an internet connection versus a traditional phone line. Cloud calling is the communication portion of the system, while VoIP is the connection part of it.
Cloud VoIP technology converts audio and video signals to digital data, compresses it, and then sends the data over an internet connection. When you make a call through VoIP, the data is converted into a digital format between devices through codecs. VoIP codecs compress and decompress audio and video files to maintain high-quality calls. VoIP technology enables video conferencing and chat capabilities on top of audio calls, and doesn’t require separate voice and data networks, reducing setup and maintenance costs as well.
Key components of cloud calling include:
- A third-party provider (or host for the cloud services).
- An internet connection.
- VoIP technology.
- A strong, secure cloud infrastructure.
- Endpoints, such as smartphones, computers, IP desk phones, or dedicated hardware devices connect to the cloud calling service over the internet.
- Cloud private branch exchange (PBX) is a phone exchange system managed by a third party and only accessible through the internet.
You’re able to use VoIP to call landline and mobile phones, computers, and other devices equipped to work with the internet, and access features like call queue management and advanced call analytics that you can’t get with a traditional phone system.
9 benefits of cloud calling for businesses
Cloud calling offers advantages that help you improve cost savings and enhance organizational productivity. Benefits of switching to cloud phone systems include:
If your business doesn’t require an on-site office space or physical phone systems and devices, cloud calling can help you save money on hardware, infrastructure, and IT maintenance costs. Depending on your cloud calling provider and package, you might only pay for the services you use, resulting in additional cost savings.
- Ability to scale.
In a cloud-based phone system, you’re able to easily add people and set up new phone lines to meet business needs and demand. Whether you’re a growing operation or seasonal business with fluctuating peak times, the ability to expand on demand is a big perk.
- Reliable performance.
Cloud-based systems often boast high levels of uptime and disaster recovery options. This helps keep communication lines open and functional, even in poor situations.
- Enhanced customer experience.
Seamless communication without a compromise in service lends itself to improved customer calls and outcomes. There are also opportunities to integrate your cloud-based setup with your customer relationship management (CRM) platform or a smart solution that can translate text messages and voice recordings so you’re able to better understand and serve the needs of your customers.
- Global reach.
Connect with clients and businesses around the world with cloud calling and have a consistent communication solution across multiple locations and regions.
- Workplace flexibility and mobility.
Remote and hybrid workers can access cloud calling wherever they have their smartphone or eligible device and a secure internet connection. This helps business move forward, regardless of whether your team is in-office or on the go. And it’s future-focused, considering an estimated 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025, according to a report.
- Integration with tools and analytics.
Many cloud calling services allow you to integrate with other cloud-based tools, allowing your business to simplify operations and track essential business analytics.
- Increased connectivity and productivity.
A dependable cloud-based calling system can help workers collaborate and stay focused. Cloud service providers typically offer features in addition to voice calling, like video conferencing and chat, too, helping you stay connected.
- Improved security.
Many cloud service providers offer advanced security features like encryption protocols to protect your data (more on this in a bit).
Common cloud calling features and use cases
Whether you run a hybrid operation or want to incorporate various tools or functionalities into your cloud call setup, there are a wide variety of components that help you and your employees achieve your business goals. Popular features include:
- Multiple device support.
Various device support gives people flexibility, allowing them to make and receive calls from just about anywhere.
Integration with other communication tools means a single platform for communication and collaboration.
- Call routing and forwarding.
Route calls based on established guidelines or preferences, ensuring that calls are directed to the right person or team.
- Call recording and voicemail.
Record for quality control, training, and compliance purposes, interactive voice response systems, and voicemail transcriptions to messages.
- Call queues, conferencing, and user management.
Queues are used to hold incoming calls until an available representative can take the call, conferencing enables multiple participants to join a cloud call or meeting, and user management enables administrators to centrally manage people and settings.
- Analytics and reporting.
Tools that measure datapoints and metrics (such as call volume and duration information), helping organizations make essential business decisions.
Measures to protect calls and safeguard data from unauthorized outside access.
- Quality of Service (QoS).
Ensures high-quality voice and video calls—and monitors and troubleshoots call quality—even in less-than-ideal network conditions.
Cloud calling is a common choice for certain industries and departments, as well. For instance, it’s typically used in the following settings:
- Customer support and service centers: Cloud centers handle inbound and outbound calls for a company and enable you to provide customer service across multiple channels.
- Sales and telemarketing teams: No clunky, expensive traditional phone system required here—cloud calling allows you to easily add team members to scale your operation, track relevant call metrics, and allow people to work wherever they have an internet connection.
- Remote and hybrid workplaces: A cloud setup empowers your team to work anywhere and makes collaboration easier, regardless of where and when they choose to work. This arrangement also allows employees to work in different areas and time zones, providing coverage for global partners and customers.
- Marketing campaigns and surveys: Market researchers can use cloud calling to communicate with people, such as survey customers with SMS or voice, and then collect these responses for a CRM database.
Again, with cloud calling, there’s no physical office space required for people to get their best work done.
What to consider before implementing cloud calling
Before you establish whether cloud calling is the right move for your business, it’s important to consider the following:
- Assess your communication needs. Do an honest assessment of your operations, hiring plans, and business goals. Determine if a cloud calling system will help you meet your needs.
- Calculate the costs. A cloud calling setup can help you save on pricey hardware and maintenance expenses. Still, it’s important to do a cost analysis to see what the numbers look like for your particular operation.
- Cloud telephony service providers. After assessing your business needs and analyzing costs, decide what tools and plans you need by reviewing providers.
- Security and data privacy. Ensure the service provider that you choose recognizes and complies with best-practice security standards and compliance regulations for your industry.
You’ll want to choose a reliable and reputable cloud calling provider to make sure:
- End-to-end encryption and security measures are in place to protect call data and block unauthorized access.
- Country laws and regulations, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), are followed.
- Access controls—such as multifactor authentication, role-based access control, and strong passwords—are established.
- The software is regularly updated for optimal protection against threats and vulnerability.
Of course, you’ll want to consider processes as well. For example, assess what migration and integration with a new cloud calling system will look like, as well as training and onboarding considerations for your organization.
Getting started with cloud calling
Cloud calling is a modern communication solution that offers businesses plenty of benefits and cost savings. A flexible, cloud-based, unified communication phone system like Microsoft Teams Phone enables you to work from any location—at home, in the office, or on the go—and make and receive voice and video calls through VoIP.
Evaluate your needs, goals, and budget to decide if cloud calling is right for your business.