An Explanation Of VoIP And Why It’s A Good Thing

An Explanation Of VoIP

BT or British Telecommunications announced that it would be switching off its PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) by 2025 in favour of VoIP powered calls, which means even more change in how we communicate and businesses are clamouring to future-proof their systems.

What is VoIP?

Voice over IP or VoIP is technology aimed at turning voice into data by making it possible to place phone calls using the internet highway. Probably one of the most known VoIP technologies is Microsoft’s peer to peer service Skype, which is an application that allows phone and video calls to be made worldwide at a fraction of the cost or for free – once the receiver has Skype as well.

Within the business world, VoIP is a highly useful piece of tech to integrate into any communication system and is quickly overtaking hardware reliant on-premise setups as the preferred solution for customer communication.

VoIP and the cloud

VoIP plus the cloud is great for any agile business, meaning that it eliminates the need for PBX (private branch exchange) hardware allowing for freedom to scale at a chosen pace. Another plus to relying on communication through the cloud – it prevents the loss of customers over the phone due to power outages and/or natural disasters.

It’s very difficult to miss a call with cloud-based VoIP since the service allows for mobility, meaning a distributed workforce can connect to customers from anywhere.

Security wise, most cloud providers would have automated security protocols that adapt and evolve according to threats.

So in short, if your business is reliant on legacy telephony systems – get ready for the shutdown by adopting a reliable cloud telephony provider, ease up on buying heaps of outdated ISDN reliant hardware and get some strong WiFi.

With these checked off the future will be brighter – and cheaper.

Via: Computer Weekly

A Look At Scalability And Elasticity In Cloud Computing

elasticity and scalability

According to Network World, “Cisco Global Cloud Index (2016-2021), the networking giant predicts that by 2021, 94 per cent of all workloads will run in some form of cloud environment.” Another finding from this report claims traffic will triple in the next three years, shooting up to 8 zettabytes per year. Cloud computing is soon to become a mainstay for most industries.

When going from static, premise-based systems to a diverse cloud environment it is important to know exactly what you are getting in to. It’s an investment but a worthwhile one.

A much-discussed topic among cloud aficionados is the difference between a scalable system and an elastic one. Frankly, they are pretty vital terms to know and all cloud-based systems should feature both, but what makes them stand out from each other? Let’s explore the differences.

 

Scalability 

As a business grows so should its technology to meet the demands, scalable systems are malleable and can adapt to any level of growth. Scalability is a short term solution with long term benefits. If a particular system gains more users, a scalable environment can expand or retract the server requirements to adapt. Scalability tends to respond to a more predictable outcome.

Scaling comes in two forms, vertically or horizontally. Vertical scaling means you can only grow to the size of your server. The ceiling is high but it’s there. Horizontal scaling is wider, hence the name. It adapts to growing traffic by combining resources like hardware and software so that they exist as one, fat autonomous system.

Elasticity 

Elasticity makes scaling possible, it is a process that makes room for resources if and when they are needed. So if you’ve scaled up and added servers, an elastic cloud can make room for them, meanwhile if you’ve decided to scale down, an elastic system changes course according to need all automatically.

The overall positive result from having elasticity and scalability is saving wads of cash that can be put towards growing your company instead of maintaining legacy hardware.  So, are you ready to turn to the cloud?

Find out more about CPaaS and the cloud here. 

Via: Network World, Cisco.

Why Cloud-Based Healthcare Can Put Power In The Caller’s Hands

cloud-based healthcare

Cloud communication can certainly make a difference in how we connect to customers and proving ROI but when the customers have life-threatening issues, it’s even more impactful. 

Healthcare is a hot topic on the minds of tech innovators, cloud-based healthcare is even more engaging. “The NHS England’s former director of patients and information, Tim Kelsey, has said that investment in electronic health records, digital services, and data could save the NHS up to £13.7 billion out of a £127 billion forecasted healthcare budget by 2020–21, or as much as 10.8 per cent of total healthcare spending,” according to McKinsey. 

Saving money isn’t the only benefit of using the cloud to store patient data, it also offers secure flexibility to caregivers and takes the weight off of IT departments. Doctors and nurses have easier access to patient records from any device.

Since January 2018 the NHS has greenlit cloud technology for storing patient data. “They come at a time when NHS trusts are increasingly looking to cloud as their next big IT project, allured by the technology’s promise of enabling rapid scaling-up without the associated hardware costs,” writes Digital Health.

One of the biggest sources of data? Calls. Doctors in both private and public systems see calls as a cause of both pain and pleasure. Within five years there was a 25 – 50% bump up in patient to private doctor calls in the US, mostly due to rising insurance deductibles – people are looking for an easy way to diagnose illnesses without paying huge doctor bills.

Meanwhile, in the UK, “the NHS England Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis, says it’s time to ‘grasp the nettle’ to help reduce some of the 118 million outpatient appointments every year – many of which are unnecessary.”

He’s currently turning to remote communication platforms like Skype, apps and online services to help reduce the foot traffic.

Cloud features and patient care

Beyond the obvious convenience, calls are highly useful clusters of data because they occur in real time and wield immediate and significant information quickly. This is vital to delivering good care in the health industry but it also gives patients power. How? It adapts to their needs and patterns.  In healthcare, 96% of patient complaints are related to customer service, according to a study by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Probably one of the most significant aspects of using cloud communication features for incoming calls is the ability to prioritise based on context. This tool can benefit patient callers by finding them the right care quickly and not leaving them waiting in a call queue.

IVR can’t understand the digital context of a call, but cloud-based communication platforms can use intelligent workflows to route patients based on their need and clear the outpatient queue mentioned by Professor Stephen Powis.

So someone complaining of the worst headache they’ve ever had would receive a pick up before a simple enquiry about surgery opening hours. Automation processes can either give them a time for a callback or redirect to a voice assistant programmed to answer more arbitrary questions.

We’re not at the point of AI self-diagnosis but we’re close, until then helping this new influx of mobile reliant patients with advances in technology can make a huge difference.

Via: Becker’s Hospital Review, McKinsey, Digital Health, Marketwatch, NHS.

Want to know more about caller context? Click here. 

7 Advantages Of Using Cloud Contact Centres

Cloud contact centre

Using the cloud to house contact solutions is becoming a major trend for the future of omnichannel customer communication. This year we’ll see a boom in cloud contact implementation across multiple industries thanks to the prolific channels customers now reach out from. With this on the horizon, we wanted to pinpoint some major advantages of relying on that which we cannot see (the cloud).

1. Saves Money

Investing in cloud contact centre technology can save a pile of money mostly because it avoids upfront capital investment but also reduces the reliance on renting physical spaces to house call centres and service agents. It also grants total control over extra costs like training and putting funds into trialling new products — especially in unfamiliar markets.

2. International exposure

Setting up shop remotely can open up the world to businesses confined to one geographical location. While the outsourcing of contact centres is on the decline due to customer complaints regarding language barriers and mediocre training, allowing agents to work from home anywhere in the world can reduce rent costs. This provides extra funding for training these employees more intensively and improving technology to meet customer demands.

3. Employee morale

On a personal note, working remotely via virtual contact centres can help boost employee morale by both providing flexibility and helping them achieve a better work/life balance.

4. Consolidate data

The cloud is scalable, meaning it grows with business demands. Instead of the additional cost associated with buying hardware, cloud helps companies compartmentalise and manage data across multiple platforms instead of sifting through on-site applications.

5. Centralised platform

Using this type of contact centre means using a singular platform which becomes the central point of inbound and outbound customer communication for a company. Think of it as a central station, customer requests move in and out but the currency or in this case, data they produce plugs into one place making it easier to oversee and fix problems before they get too out of hand.

6. Less Hardware

In this case, everything is achieved using a server, which means adding on more hardware is not required. The benefit of this means not waiting months for installation, not to mention the additional time and money put towards training agents to use new systems.

7. Call Routing

We’ve saved the best for last, with calls becoming a major source of valuable customer data, managing the flow of customer requests coming into a contact centre means not leaving anyone behind — like we’ve seen before with outsourcing contact centres, bad customer service does more damage than anything else. Call routing is an integrative technology welcomed by the cloud and can manage a large influx of callers by prioritising based on context. Customers are sent to the agents that can better meet their expectations instead of being kept on hold or lost in an IVR abyss.

Learn more about call routing here!