How to Do More with Unified Communications
Hosted Voice over IP (Hosted VoIP) services have certainly revolutionized the way businesses and people communicate, providing significant cost savings, superior flexibility, and advanced functionality over traditional telephony. But voice is only one piece in the communication puzzle.
The evolution of technology has given employees a variety of devices, applications, media types, and communication platforms to choose from. For example, companies might use a free screen sharing application from one provider and another provider’s free service for sending large files. Or employees might be using numerous IM/Chat applications with no unified directory, making it difficult to reach out to just anyone in the company. While phone calling and audio conferencing may be provided through the business phone service, maybe it’s not integrated with video calling and aforementioned communication and collaboration applications. Even something as common as giving out two phone numbers (office and mobile) can make it challenging for prospects and customers to connect with your employees, and it means the employee must manage two voicemail boxes.
Although each piece of technology fills a need and contributes to effective communication, these tools can introduce their own challenges if there is a lack of integration among them. Ultimately, businesses may not be receiving the productivity gains they had envisioned when they adopted them.
At MegaPath, we are on the leading edge of delivering business services that help organizations stay focused on running and building their business. To address the need for employees to easily connect and collaborate—with colleagues, partners and customers from anywhere—MegaPath offers powerful hosted telephony and unified messaging services integrated with advanced collaboration tools in a Unified Communications (UC) package.
In this brief whitepaper, we will explain the tools and how they contribute to unparalleled freedom, mobility, and productivity for small and medium businesses, enterprises, and their employees.
Overview of Hosted Unified Communications
Unified Communications (UC) bridges the gap between IP-based telephony and other IP-based communication technologies. It typically incorporates multiple collaboration tools such as screen sharing, a presence indicator, instant messaging, fax, voice and video calling, and interactive online conferencing.
The UC tools are often integrated into a single client: a "softphone." VoIP providers often make versions of the client available on a range of devices such as desktop, mobile and tablet.
Hosted Voice—traditionally called Hosted PBX or Hosted Voice VOIP—is a cloud phone system that furthers a company’s competitive edge by providing powerful collaboration capabilities available in a subscription model. Its low initial investment, predictable monthly billing, and affordable administration by a service provider make it a great fit for companies that want to stay competitive by managing their business, not their business phone service.
To keep up with today’s fast-paced and mobile work style, Hosted VoIP solutions offer mobility-enabling features to keep people connected and productive. Here are some examples:
- Give out only your business VoIP number, and keep your personal mobile number private. MegaPath Anywhere turns any devices—desk phones, smartphones, or home phones—into your business phone, using your Hosted Voice business number and calling plan.
- Stay on top of important business phone calls. With Find Me/Follow Me, you define how incoming calls are routed or forwarded, ensuring that you receive important calls whether you’re at your desk, on the road, or anywhere else.
- Manage your voice service yourself. Voice Manager is a simple-to-use Web application that gives users the power to change routing, turn features on or off, and make and receive business phone calls.
- Save time on faxes and voicemails with unified messaging. Visual Voicemail with Transcription lets users view, play and read voicemail and fax messages directly in their inbox. Virtual voicemails are delivered as audio files as well as transcribed into easy-to-read text emails so they are easy to review, respond to, or forward (even while tied up on another call).
- Hold professional conference phone calls. Audio Conferencing enables users to host and participate in professional conference calls by dialing a conference phone access number and meeting number.
Why Hosted Communications
Industry statistics also show that more than one-third of companies adopting VoIP choose hosted VoIP services—a number that will almost certainly increase as more companies become aware of this cost-saving, feature-rich, scalable alternative to traditional and expensive phone services and equipment.
Through the right business phone service provider, all hosted and unified communcations solutions, no matter which components you choose, offer the same overall benefits to a business: reduced costs and enhanced productivity and collaboration.
It is important to note, however, that not all hosted communications providers are created equal. For one, the service delivery method largely determines the voice call quality, creating a positive (or negative) experience.
MegaPath’s Hosted Voice and UC have been developed with enterprise-ready VoIP features. They also offer plug-and-play convenience. In fact, our softphone client is available for download from various app stores for a wide range of OS types and devices.
Hosted Can Mean More Than Voice and UC
Hosted Communications technologies go even beyond Voice and UC. For example, many companies now outsource their email to a cloud provider. Outsourcing email avoids the need to manage and maintain email servers and software. Plus, you won’t have to worry about your servers getting ruined if the water pipe upstairs bursts. Most providers host your email in rock-solid data centers that have data backup in redundant locations.
Hosted Exchange lets you access your email, contacts, calendars and more by using the familiar Microsoft® Outlook® client for PC or Mac®; Outlook Web app (OWA) access; or a mobile device or your PC. It comes with built-in synchronization for your iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, or BlackBerry device. Unlike free email services with their typically low-end feature set and unpredictable reliability, Hosted Exchange from MegaPath delivers Microsoft’s popular email and collaboration platform, a 100% Availability SLA, and built-in virus and spam protection—all conveniently managed in the cloud for you.
Microsoft’s popular document workspace and collaboration platform, enables workers to collaborate on projects, quickly set up a company intranet, and access files from anywhere.
Trend: Outsourcing Business Services
Companies have long farmed out services like payroll and taxes. Increasingly, they are outsourcing more types of business services, with technology and communications services such as voice, email, and data backup services topping the list. In fact, global spending on public cloud services and unified messaging alone is expected to achieve a CAGR of 17.7% from 2011 through 2016. The total market is expected to grow from $76.9B in 2010 to $210B in 2016.
You need more than phone and UC services to run your business, and you shouldn’t have to manage a multitude of providers and pay just as many monthly invoices. From broadband access to enterprise-class hosted email to secure and automatic data backup, even Remote IT Help Desk, MegaPath has best-in-class solutions to take the burden off you. And by working with one business internet service provider, you can pay just one bill and make one call for support.
What Our Customers Say
“MegaPath Unified Communications is so easy to deploy with iPhones and Androids. It blends the popular ways of staying connected now—email, voicemail, video, texting, and IM—all into one platform that supports all of today’s popular communication devices.”
–Jim Dainko, President, Fluid Networks
Download this whitepaper