The popularity and dependency on hosted communications has risen ever since the advent of VoIP (Voice Over IP services), and even more so as VoIP technologies mature and many companies no longer consider them a risk to deploy. In fact, when considering an update or replacement of their traditional PSTN system, many businesses are highly likely to replace them with VoIP-based phone systems. The migration to VoIP over the past few years has just been rampant. Fueled by negligible long distance fees and flexible, cost effective alternatives, VoIP telephony has experienced a massive surge among small and medium sized businesses.
According to an AMI-Partners report, more than 30 percent of small businesses (1 – 99 employees) and 50 percent of medium sized businesses (100-999 employees) expect VoIP to become a critical part of their operations. In addition, a new forecast from In-Stat research shows that between now and 2015, the amount of small offices (1 to 4 employees) using broadband IP telephony services will increase by 83 percent.
To create a clearer picture of the VoIP market and where it is headed, TMC (News – Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani recently caught up with Greg Brashier, chief operating officer at Virtual PBX, a provider of cloud-based business phone systems.
Brashier believes that virtual, cloud-based technologies and next-generation mobile devices will soon replace traditional business phone systems, as more and more SMB and enterprise employees use these solutions with softphones for VoIP calls. “With the increased data bandwidth and intelligence of smartphones, more users will be putting softphones on mobile devices, and using them as the destination for VoIP calls. In doing so, they can take business calls anywhere without paying PSTN or mobile fees for minutes. This technique will also allow users to make outbound calls through their corporate phone systems, enhancing call tracking and reporting while simultaneously delivering a corporate caller ID instead of personal mobile numbers,” said Greg Brashier.
Greg also believes the adoption rates of Virtual phone systems will increase exponentially over the next few years as these phone systems continue to move from niche products to the mainstream market.
“This trend will bring a host of benefits to mobile workers and companies”, says Brashier, “such as significant costs savings and the ability to access all the features of a corporate phone system while out of the office.” Greg continues, Virtual PBX pioneered mobile business telephony with the first Virtual PBX system. The genesis of the company was the idea that workers in a business should be enabled to work from any location, using any telephone. We have clients with workers scattered around the globe, all part of the company’s central phone system, and users communicate.”
Regarding the how the market segment evolved over the past year, and the trends which have fueled those changes, Greg says, “The largest changes in our market segment have been the increasing recognition and acceptance of virtual, “cloud based” phone systems as a more cost-effective replacement for traditional PBX hardware and the use of VoIP in place of traditional analog telephony.” Greg adds, “Our market has not yet completely assimilated the last major disruptive technology – the advent of VoIP in the SMB – and this will continue to be the biggest single factor changing the landscape in this market. The majority of SMBs are still using traditional phone systems, but the market share of VoIP is now making major inroads.”
This model is becoming mainstream and it is what businesses are requesting. Greg explains, “Virtual PBX has been leading this charge for more than 15 years. In the first 10+ years, all development was done based on getting virtual, cloud-based systems to work with traditional telephone equipment and phones. Now equal development is being generated for VoIP users. For us, it has always been a cloud model – first the PSTN cloud and then the Internet cloud.”
Furthermore, Greg explains that businesses are also requesting systems that work without fail, have easy implementation and are the best price for each clients specific situation. Greg says Virtual PBX addressed these request, creating “a flexible, blended approach that allows any combination of traditional and VoIP systems, embraces third-party offerings through our Open Systems (News – Alert) initiative, and offers multiple use and payment models tailored to each need.”
As for the future of VirtualPBX Greg says, “Many SMB users aren’t aware of the wide variety of options and the flexibility available to them today. We’ll be addressing some of the great options in telephony that allow businesses to tailor systems to their unique needs rather than just choosing between premise vs. hosted, or analog vs. Internet phone systems. It’s possible to mix and match the best of all of these options, and the result is far greater than the sum of the parts. The advent of VoIP was just the beginning, now we get to help write the next chapters”