A recent report from Infonetics Research shows that sales of unified communications, including cloud-based phone services like those offered by Phone.com, jumped 27 percent from the first quarter of 2013 to that of 2014. At the same time, worldwide sales of PBX systems and components fell by eight percent!
The message is very clear—hardware, premises-based systems are on the decline and cloud-based systems are on the rise.
Even though companies like Phone.com have been touting the benefits of cloud-based solutions for many years, what seems to be happening is that the unified communications industry has passed the point of critical mass, and is no longer being questioned on its applicability or viability for companies of all sizes. Cloud solutions simply make too much sense when it comes to capital outlay, flexibility to add and delete accounts, diminished management requirements, and the inevitable obsolescence of hardware systems.
Companies like Microsoft, Avaya, Cisco, NEC and Mitel will continue to offer physical phone systems, but their hardware is no longer on a growth path. They have now been overtaken by cloud-based communications. Larger organizations may retain premises-based systems for some time to come, but even these companies will add hosted solutions as a more economical alternative for smaller facilities.
Finally, I believe that as cloud communications become mainstream, we will see an escalation in the erosion of the communications systems of the past, and even greater growth rates for services like those offered by Phone.com.
Small businesses have a lot on their plates to earn the “successful” label, but one factor that doesn’t always come into play when it comes to planning is the phone system. Sure, most small business owners seem to understand that some access to a phone system is necessary, but as they begin looking into the available possibilities, the task becomes almost overwhelming. Many these days work to decide between two options: a mobile phone system or a PBX. The reasoning behind the choice is a fairly clear one, too.
• Allow owners to mange voicemail
• Create the option for call conferencing and group calling
• Offer automatic call handling
• Create user statistics and call logs
Mobile Phone systems:
• Give customers access to employees no matter where they are
• Create an atmosphere of constant productivity and contact
Fortunately, if you’re a small business owner, you no longer have to choose between the real benefit of going mobile and the amazing features of PBX thanks to mobile office apps from companies like Phone.com. With the ability to manage your voicemail just like you could with PBX, block calls from unwanted numbers, and even review your call logs on the go, mobile office apps are truly revolutionizing the face of small businesses. It’s hard to imagine that anyone had to be standing by a piece of equipment just to get a fax a few years ago, but mobile office apps can automatically deliver faxes to your mobile phone. The real drawback of systems like these, of course, has been the fact that you’re still mobile, so customers will see that when you ring in on their caller IDs. Now, companies like Phone.com have found a way to conquer even that, though. When you call in, it looks like you’re calling from the office.
It’s no longer necessary to make the difficult choice between PBX and mobile. For most small business owners, it’s all mobile these days.