Putting everything in the 'Cloud' is becoming more and more popular and the National Broadband Network (NBN) will certainly stimulate hosted telephony growth.
With hosted communications, only the IP phone or PC based client is located on the customer's premises and connected via the Internet or a private network to a centralised telephone system. It certainly makes sense for some applications to do this however there are some things to consider:
- Is it actually cheaper over the long term? - Most providers charge a monthly fee per handset and possibly other charges such as voicemail, conferencing etc. which can add up and may actually be more expensive over the long term.
- Usually more bandwidth is required - In many hosted environments, all calls must travel across the broadband connection even if you are calling the phone next to you, which means more bandwidth is required.
- On-site equipment is still required - An on-site device with physical access to the network is still required and will need to be managed.
- Poor support of legacy equipment - Support for legacy equipment such as analogue services, overhead paging systems etc. are difficult or non-existent in a hosted system.
- Limited monitoring - Monitoring is generally limited or non-existent as only the handset is on-site and the provider has no access to your internal network.
- Limited customisation - Customisation is generally limited or non-existent as all the system is centralised and shared among multiple enterprises.
- Limited redundancy options - Hosted systems generally have no failover provision. If any part of the system suffers a catastrophic failure, the entire system goes down.
This does not that mean we are completely ignoring cloud services. We are currently developing a unique hybrid solution which gives the benefit of both cloud based services such as line pooling and centralised services such as audio conferencing and voicemail while also providing the benefits of an on-site solution which overcome a number of the issues above.