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cloud telephony (cloud calling)

Contributor(s): Laura Fitzgibbons

Cloud telephony, also known as cloud calling, is a type of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) that offers voice communication services through a third party host. UCaaS replaces the need for conventional enterprise telephone systems, such as PBX. Cloud telephony services can be web- or applications-based.

Cloud telephony solutions are hosted on cloud servers maintained and updated by the provider with access granted on a subscription or as-needed basis. Therefore, customers do not need to pay for upkeep or unnecessary resources that may be associated. Common features of these solutions include:

  • On-demand self-service.
  • Included PBX technology functionality of call recording, conferencing and forwarding.
  • Integration with existing call center and CRM
  • Broad network access.
  • Resource pooling.

Some popular examples of cloud calling software include Vonage, Google Voice and Google Hangouts. Due to its cloud based nature, this type of calling can be implemented quickly from various individual accounts. Cloud calling technology also sets the stage for additional features for businesses such as voice and keyword analysis, interactive voice response and customer support AI.

Most larger companies that provide cloud calling operate out of a large cloud call center or several smaller centers where major cloud telephony companies run their service. Major cloud telephony providers include Google, Vonage, RingCentral, Nextiva and Ringanywhere.

Cloud telephony vs VoIP

Unlike commonly used VoIP systems, cloud calling is generally more affordable, less of a burden on a company's hardware and is more scalable for growing organizations. In addition, the fact that the connection is hosted over a cloud means that the quality of connections tends to be stronger. Most cloud calling services have built-in failover modes that make sure a backup is available if there is a problem with a connection.

Benefits of cloud calling

In business, companies often replace their conventional phone services with VoIP (voice over IP) through the cloud to make it easier for employees to connect quickly from anywhere. When compared to traditional phone services, other benefits include:

  • Lower cost and maintenance.
  • Higher accessibility and reliability.
  • Simpler to implement and scale.
  • Easier to keep updated.
  • Minimized downtime.
  • No need for additional infrastructure.
  • Increased transparency of usage and communications-related statistics.
This was last updated in February 2019

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