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Hosted VoIP

Making the move from analogue phones to hosted VoIP is a good way to make your business communications more remote-friendly and flexible. Specifically, hosted VoIP is more scalable than a traditional phone system—and it usually costs a fraction of the price. If you’re looking for a robust communications solution that offers video conferencing and SMS/MMS messaging alongside VoIP calls, book a product tour to see how easy it is to set up with Dialpad.


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What is hosted VoIP for business?

Before we take a closer look at hosted VoIP for business, let’s go over the basics. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. (You might also see it referred to as "Voice over IP.") It’s a digital technology that enables you to make phone calls over the internet instead of the copper wiring used in traditional telephony.

In hosted VoIP services, your vendor would host the service on behalf of your company. They own and maintain all the servers and hardware in their own data centres so that you don’t need to keep this infrastructure on site.

With a router and a reliable Internet connection, you can use your VoIP solution’s desktop or mobile app to make phone calls on a computer or mobile device.

What is a hosted PBX system, and how does it work?

You’re probably familiar with traditional PBX (Private Branch Exchange) systems, which have to be located on the company premises. But nowadays, it’s possible to implement virtual PBX or hosted PBX systems instead.

These solutions keep the hardware off-site at your provider’s location—but all calls, signalling, and features are still handled through an IP-PBX server. Even so, hosted PBX still technically isn't as flexible (or affordable) as a true cloud phone system that can make calls entirely over the Internet.

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Hosted VoIP solutions vs. on-premises VoIP (vs UCaaS)

There are two principal categories of VoIP systems: Hosted VoIP solutions and on premises alternatives.

On-premises VoIP

As the name suggests, on-premises VoIP involves having a physical business phone system installed at your location. The hardware is usually stored in a server room and you’ll need an IT team to carry out the installation, configuration, and maintenance.

Hosted VoIP

With hosted VoIP, your provider looks after the entire system from a remote location, including maintenance and regular software updates. Because you don’t have to find room for physical hardware—and you don’t have the hassle or expense of administering it—hosted VoIP is typically a much more suitable option for small businesses.

As well as giving you flexibility and scalability, hosted VoIP solutions tend to be more affordable than traditional telephone systems using PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) landlines.

UCaaS

Hosted VoIP is a step up from on-premises PBX, but you can take things to another level with a UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) solution. UCaaS solutions are all-in-one communications platforms that are essentially super-powered VoIP phone systems—the difference is that UCaaS platforms also let you communicate in a variety of other ways. For example, with Dialpad, you can have phone calls over the internet and also have video meetings and send instant or SMS/MMS messages, all in one app:

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👉 Did you know:

Investment startup Betterment wanted to build a more connected company after going through a period of hyper growth. Thanks to a hosted VoIP solution with phone calls, video meetings, and SMS/MMS messages in a single platform, their teams can now communicate much more efficiently. Even better, using a unified communications platform instead of several separate tools helped the company to save more than £750 a month.

Why should I switch to a hosted VoIP provider or UCaaS solution?

Always on: Keeps your business up and running

Consistent service is vital for your business—the last thing you need is your system crashing at peak times. Good hosted VoIP providers have backups in place, so if there’s a problem, your business won’t suffer from excessive downtime. For instance, Dialpad guarantees 100% uptime SLA (not 99.999%, which is the norm) for its Enterprise plan customers.

Less equipment: No need for expensive on-site installations

As already mentioned, another advantage of hosted VoIP is that you don’t have to fork out for costly (and bulky) servers and hardware. Instead of upfront capital investment, you pay a monthly or annual fee to your service provider.

It’s also far less time consuming and complicated to install than on-premises systems. As soon as you’ve signed up to a VoIP service, you can start using it on your computer and/or mobile phone right away.

Low maintenance: Leave it to your VoIP provider

With no physical telephony equipment on your premises, there’s no maintenance to carry out. Your VoIP vendor takes care of all that, leaving you free to get on with running the business. (And if you still want to use desk phones, that's easy—just plug them in and go!) One thing: make sure your provider offers excellent customer support.

Scalability: VoIP is made to grow with you

Compared to on-premises alternatives, hosted VoIP systems are much more flexible. Let’s say your business needs to scale up and down according to seasonal peaks, meaning adding extra users and phone numbers. There’s no need to install physical phone lines—just amend your subscription.

With Dialpad, you can do that in just a few minutes, right in your online dashboard:

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Looking for a hosted VoIP solution?

With Dialpad, you can make phone calls, send SMS/MMS messages, have video meetings, and more—no hardware needed, right from your computer or mobile. Sign up for a free 14-day trial to get set up with a virtual phone number and try it for free, or take an interactive self-guided tour of the app!

What are the essential features of a business hosted VoIP solution or UCaaS platform?

The growing popularity of business hosted VoIP means there are plenty of solutions on the market. But what are the key features you should look out for?

Call queues / auto attendant / call routing

When you’re handling a large volume of incoming calls, features like call routing and auto attendant are essential. This type of technology automatically distributes calls to the right person or department, which reduces the workload for your staff. Contact centre teams will find this especially handy.

Choose a VoIP solution with well-designed call queue functionality, particularly the ability to configure the system with your own rules—without having to ask a third-party support team for help. Dialpad makes it easy to do things like set up in-queue callbacks so that callers can choose to get a call back later instead of waiting on hold:

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Built-in call analytics

The more phone calls your business receives, the more you’ll need call analytics built into your VoIP system. This feature gives you instant access to real-time metrics like missed and abandoned calls, which will help you make business decisions more responsively:

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If you’re running a contact centre, you can take the analysis one step further with Dialpad’s contact centre-specific analytics. This lets you monitor metrics like call volume patterns and average speed to answer to measure the performance of individuals and the centre as a whole:

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Video and audio conferencing

As remote and hybrid working practices continue to rise, audio and video conferencing features become ever more important to keep people connected. Hosted VoIP systems don’t always include this functionality—but if you go with a UCaaS solution, it comes as standard. Look for a solution that provides conference calls and video conferencing across desktop and mobile devices.

Voicemail transcription

You’ll find voicemail is a feature of most business phone systems and UCaaS solutions. For example, Dialpad lets you customise your voicemail greeting right in your online dashboard. But how about voicemail transcription?

Most providers don’t include this, but Dialpad's AI-powered visual voicemail feature can transcribe your voicemail messages in real time and send them directly to your inbox. It’s ideal for checking messages when you can’t pick up the phone and you can store the audio and text version for future reference:

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Long-distance phone numbers

International calling is essential if you have offices or customers around the world (and even if you don’t have those yet, a global phone number has you covered for future growth). Don’t be concerned about the expense of calling overseas—with VoIP, it's much more affordable than it would be on a landline.

Dialpad offers international business phone numbers for almost every country in the world and you can add them in just a few clicks. Dialpad-to-Dialpad communications are always free—check out the international rates.

👉 Fun fact:

Dialpad also allows you to set up a toll-free phone number so that your customers can call your sales or support lines free of charge.

A softphone app

Softphone apps enable you to make phone calls and send messages from your computer and mobile device, instead of using a desk phone handset. Not all hosted VoIP solutions include this feature—typically, this comes standard in a UCaaS solution.

Dialpad’s softphone app works across computers, mobile devices, and operating systems (including PC, Mac, Microsoft, Android, and iOS):

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🔎 Did you know:

TED (of TED Talk fame) wanted to replace their on-site PBX telecom provider with a more modern telephony system. By leaving behind their desk phones in favour of a softphone app, their employees can now work from anywhere.

Call recording

The ability to record calls is definitely an essential feature. It lets you keep a detailed record of customer interactions, which you can use to gather insights, carry out staff training, and demonstrate compliance. You’ll find, though, that most business VoIP providers charge for call recording as an add-on—so always check the small print. (Dialpad offers unlimited call recording and cloud storage at no extra charge.)

Call forwarding

Call forwarding is another key feature for businesses and it should be part of any UCaaS or hosted VoIP solution. It means your teams won’t miss out on important calls when they’re working remotely or out on the road.

With Dialpad, you can forward calls to five different phone numbers—such as your mobile phone, a colleague’s phone line, or another landline. And it’s really easy to add or change your call forwarding numbers right in your online dashboard:

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Looking for a hosted VoIP provider?

Why not see if UCaaS might be a more robust solution for your business? If you'd like to talk, message, and meet—all from one beautifully designed app—book a product tour to see how easy Dialpad is to set up and use!

Consider UCaaS as an alternative to hosted VoIP

Switching to a hosted VoIP phone service will give you a scalable, flexible, and affordable business phone system. But if you also want to communicate with customers and colleagues via other channels like video conferencing, messaging, and more, then UCaaS is an even more versatile and cost-effective option.