137 years after the now famous words “Mr. Watson, come here; I want you,” were transmitted across Alexander Graham Bell’s home in Boston, we live in a global marketplace where every level of the supply chain is in the process of being integrated and nearly each and every functional and operational process of a business can be remotely monitored and managed in real time.
Cloud computing’s emergence over the last several years and its implementation across organisations — large and small — are due to the tempting advantages it offers. Direct savings on infrastructure costs and the inherent capabilities for ease of access on-the-move are the primary benefits businesses enjoy while moving their data onto the cloud.
The reports and market analysis trends clearly indicate that cloud telephony, worldwide, is spreading far and wide and is forecasted to reach $55.5 billion by 2014, accounting for a 27.4% growth rate. Although India must take the big leap towards VoiP but for now, a major chunk of calling is done with the help of the traditional PSTN only. PSTN is achieving for India, what is VoiP and what’s doing for the developed world today. And quite successful!
Cloud telephony worldwide is spreading far and wide and is forecasted to reach $55.5 billion by 2014, accounting for a 27.4% growth rate.
Today, apart from the now popular toll-free number and IVR service, which helps add more professionalism to a business at a nascent stage, cloud telephony companies are aiming at making life simpler for micro and small businesses. SMEs are looking for looking for innovative phone solutions, apart from the elimination of costs and responsibilities that other PSTN would involve.
With the ‘hosted’ (off-site) software versions of services that were previously constructed on-site in hardware, there are now a number of new functions and capabilities which PSTN is enabling access to, such as single multiple-line access numbers, customised greeting and hold music and voice mail, apart from other established features such as call routing and distribution, call tracking and lead management, CRM and data capturing of all key metrics of a call, namely caller details, time of call, type of call and date to optimize your team effort and schedule follow up actions et al.
But, the newer technologies that the SMEs can benefit from are services such as sending a fax via email. You don’t need a fax machine; you don’t need to type it out on a paper. Just get a service login and send it to any part of the world. Want instant recognition among masses. Send bulk SMSes at just a click of a mouse. You can also now take orders, request feedback and send information via SMS to millions at a go.
There are also today specialised services such as the personal emergency number which assists a girl in sending out a panic call automatically to a number of people when in distress. There are others too like emergency and broadcast functions, third party API integration, and advanced voice recognition capabilities. And they are working wonders for our SMEs.
A few examples of implementation are:
- redBus.in was able to decrease the response time of their customer interactions to enable them to effectively manage 20,000 bookings a day and effectively raise their conversions by streamlining and automating their processes.
- Fortis Healthcare uses a cloud based telephony broadcast system to send pre-recorded calls to doctors in case of medical emergencies.
- Sikkim Manipal University incorporated a Web Application to process student inquiries to automatically generate a call between the student and the counsellor of particular college in which student had shown interest. The response time was reduced from days to 30 seconds.
Cloud telephony as a technology assists enterprises of all sizes, especially SMEs and start-ups, save their capital expenditure which can be allocated towards future expansion and diversification planning.
As more convenient modes of communication multiply in SMEs, many organizations are seeking solace in cloud-based telephony and UC services to stay abreast of the latest developments, a trend that is definitely going to continue into the foreseeable future.
(Ankit Jain is the founder of VoiceTree Technologies Pvt. Ltd., a cloud telephony company, which has recently launched MyOperator, a cloud-based EPABX system.)