In 1973, Motorola announced that they’d developed a groundbreaking new invention.
… A communications device that you could carry with you and be contactable from anywhere.
… A mobile phone that, perhaps, could one day supersede conventional landlines altogether.
Bear in mind that, at this stage, your conventional copper-wire-based telephone system had remained virtually unchanged for a century. Telephone technology, which early skeptics had in their time dismissed as either a fad, prohibitively expensive or even downright demonic had now become ubiquitous, but it was also stagnant.
The world was long overdue an exciting new idea to shake up the way that people and businesses could communicate.
And so, with such a landmark development on the near horizon, you’d expect the tech press to be jumping with excitement, right?
Here’s how the Associated Press began their write-up, the day after Motorola’s Marty Cooper demonstrated the first mobile phone call (cheekily, to AT&T, their biggest competitor) on a New York street:
“Dick Tracy may have pushed it. A television set in a wrist watch, for heaven’s sake. But that telephone in the secret agent’s heel is almost here—if you’re the Jolly Green Giant, have a jolly green bank account and can wait until 1976.
That’s when Motorola, Inc., hopes to come out with its portable phone, a little under eight inches long and weighing less than three pounds, yours for a basic charge of $60 to $100 per month, plus tolls.
Carry it to the beach, the supermarket, the yacht, the fox hunt, the golf course, the hideaway where you went to get away from it all.”
Looking back, that’s clearly a serious error of judgment. It’s hard to imagine how anyone could think that a device as convenient and problem-solving as a mobile phone would never catch on.
But the AP wasn’t alone. And in fairness, it took a long, long time for the mobile phone to properly take off. In fact, it wasn’t until the late 90s – more than 20 years after that first announcement – that they became commonplace enough to start threatening landlines’ share of the comms market.
Meanwhile, in 1995, a team in Israel discovered that by harnessing the potential of another cool new fad called the Internet, they could call each other computer to computer with just a microphone and a set of speakers. Within a few years, other entrepreneurs figured out how to adapt this idea to call from computers to phones, or even from one phone to another, essentially for free. And just like that, the next groundbreaking development in calling technology, VOIP, was born.
But let’s fast forward another two decades – to the present day.
Just like telephones and the Internet and mobile phones before it, VOIP technology has weathered its own barrage of skeptics and naysayers and snarky tech reporters who thought it would never scale.
It’s grown up. And now it’s taking over.
Why? Because it makes huge financial sense.
By moving away from the conventional phone system, the public switched telephone network (PTSN) to Internet-based technology, and companies can use a single subscription to make as many simultaneous phone calls as their bandwidth will allow.
Meanwhile, they can flex considerable control over the codecs and protocols they use to process those calls. They can mix and match different types of hardware and existing communication systems. They can migrate their phone systems to the cloud.
And crucially, it streamlines their communications to an enormous degree. Businesses the world over have long understood the economic benefits of switching to a unified communications approach that can encompass not just phone calls but also email, fax, web conferencing, voicemail and the like.
That’s why, by 2008, four-fifths of all private branch exchange (PBX) lines installed on the entire globe were VoIP.
It’s why the global VoIP market has grown, and will continue to grow, at such an incredible rate.
Why by the end of 2015, the sector was estimated to be worth around $75 billion.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking.
This is all very interesting, but what does it really mean for me?
If you’re a hosted PBX and VoIP reseller, this means that right now is the optimal moment to capitalize on the soaring of this technology.
Your customers are looking for solutions that save them money and hassle. And now that much of the scepticism of the past over cloud solutions has evaporated, they are open to exploring the benefits of Hosted PBX.
In particular, they’re interested in hearing about how a hosted PBX can offer to slash their operational costs and capital expenditure on complex, unnecessary infrastructure and hardware without compromising on the reliability of their phone service.
Plus, they want to reap the benefits of VoIP calling and the wide-ranging features that come with the technology, but they don’t want to have to worry about interoperability issues. They don’t want to splash out on more layers of expensive software to ensure that everything slots together and works without any hiccups.
A Hosted PBX can do all of these things by shifting the system into the cloud and by extension into a system that’s subscription-based rather than incurs hefty upfront software and hardware costs. This is good news for your customers’ cash flow in the short term, but the long-term benefits are also extensive.
First, businesses aren’t paying for ongoing maintenance because the Hosted PBX provider is directly responsible for its upkeep. They don’t need teams of dedicated IT personnel on hand to stop anything from going wrong.
The Hosted PBX provider – which, after all, has the most expertise in this area – is the party that’s monitoring quality control and preventing any service disruptions. This isn’t delegated to an overstretched in-house IT team – one that could be more productively tasked with bigger, strategic projects that help your clients to grow their business.
And, of course, it’s far easier for them to scale up as they take on more and more employees. Cloud technologies like a Hosted PBX typically allow companies to onboard new users quickly and easily and to manage the costs of doing so.
It also means they aren’t locked into a costly system if they do ever need to shrink back down again. They only need to buy the number of SIP Trunks that they need to, and they only need to pay for those that they actually use.
What’s more, at the same time that Hosted PBX options have helped to drive down costs, the quality of calls and other features offered by VoIP technology has come on leaps and bounds.
Video conferencing is improving all the time, providing a crucial means of reliable communication in companies with widely dispersed workforces, multiple offices or remote working policies.
By making this part of a unified communications system, too, companies using VoIP technology to handle their video conferencing and other internal comms needs can simplify the way they run things in-house.
They can adopt straightforward working practices that are easier for the workforce to navigate, helping them to run a tighter ship that encourages greater efficiency and productivity.
At the same time, they project a slicker, more professional image to their customers. Using a Hosted PBX allows companies to respond to incoming calls faster, transfer them more smoothly, and manage aspects like holding music and voicemail access more effectively.
In short, the fears and barriers that discouraged potential customers from making the switch in the past are falling away one by one.
Opting for a Hosted PBX and using VoIP services to handle all your communications needs isn’t just cheaper, simpler and easier to implement than conventional landlines. It also facilitates better working practices that streamline operations across an entire organisation, simultaneously improving the customer experience and fostering growth.
Today’s businesses get this – and they are getting it in droves. There’s never been a better time to be the guys that bring them on board.