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Talking up a storm - Part one


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Cloud telephony has been credited as driving unified communications (UC) forward but is the reality really so bright or does cloud telephony lack the silver lining. Here in the first of three blogs, Paul Storey, Head of Voice at Redcentric, considers the issues with the technology’s business application.

It’s been ten years since we first talked about convergence of data and voice with the likes of voice over IP (VoIP). Back then for many users the likes of Voice over IP (VoIP) meant crackly, static ridden, and jumpy conference calls with huge latency issues. In recent years the technology has moved forward and now sees voice and data converging over a cloud platform to deliver cloud telephony that can support high definition voice that’s equivalent to listening to CD quality audio.

Now organisations are no longer tied to fixed line services such as ISDN. This means that their workforces are mobile and able to collaborate via multiple platforms, whether that’s smartphones, tablets, PCs, handsets or all of the above. What’s more the convergence of voice and data (or more importantly the convergence of the way it’s delivered) has enabled a third element to gain traction and improve productivity through collaboration – video. In addition to productivity gains, organisations are also seeing reductions in call costs via SIP from the provider’s platform and the OPEX/CAPX model when using UC as a Service.

But it’s this positioning of cloud telephony as delivering huge costs savings that may prove to be its downfall. The message many providers are delivering to customers focuses on cost savings achieved over connecting an onsite PBX and ISDN2 or ISDN30 to the PSTN network. A solution in this kind of scenario doesn’t take into account the dedicated connections to the platform required to run an effective service. Any implementation of adequate uncontended connections such as Fibre is going to have an impact on the bottom line making cloud telephony much less attractive.

More worryingly is the pretext by some VOIP providers that a consumer internet broadband circuit is going to provide the level of service required to maintain two concurrent calls – it’s not. Since the underlying service level agreement of a consumer internet broadband service is significantly different to an ISDN circuit – unless you are providing QoS (Quality of Service) – there are no guarantees of bandwidth, latency or packet loss, all of which effect the performance of VOIP.

Can this ‘mis-placed’ messaging be overcome? Certainly. We’re seeing customer’s successfully implementing cloud telephony platforms that not only work but work well, and still provide cost savings. Take a look at part two of this series of blogs on cloud telephony to see how cloud telephony services should be delivered.



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