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April 20, 2011

Advanced Carrier Services Extend VoIP to the SMB

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor


In today’s market, businesses need enhanced communications services and channels if they hope to compete with other companies. This puts increased pressure on carriers to enhance their offerings and deliver advanced carrier services to meet a growing market need.

One advanced service small businesses are increasingly taking advantage of is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This communication platform enables small businesses to become more agile and responsive to customers, while reducing overall communications costs. Providers are also recognizing that advanced carrier services such as VoIP are significant revenue opportunities, and are therefore evolving their networks to meet the growing need.

In the fall of 2010, Metaswitch served as a major sponsor of an extensive market research study conducted by Inzenka that examined the current VoIP market for advanced carrier services. With the awareness and adoption of VoIP growing in the market, SMBs are learning to expect advanced carrier services to be delivered readily. With the solutions and features on the market expanding, SMBs have access to more information and can more easily prepare themselves to make the right decisions for deploying VoIP and selecting the right partner for the overall launch. 

When considering the overall market and expectations for advanced carrier services, there are specific drivers that are pushing high rates of VoIP adoption. The top five drivers for VoIP adoption include a reduction in cost, both in terms of total cost of ownership and monthly expenses; easier system management; more features, including those that enhance productivity; enhanced customer service; and business grade capabilities in current VoIP platforms. 

As small businesses evaluate VoIP solutions, it is important that these companies understand their needs as they pertain to VoIP and what technology platforms are currently available. One effective focus could be on the top seven VoIP features that are available through advanced carrier services. These include standard call center features; portal access; soft phone; simultaneous ring; advance call center features; Find-me Follow-me; and music or messaging for callers placed on hold. 

At the very least, small businesses need to expect advanced carrier services to include the basic features they enjoy with legacy systems. At the same time, VoIP users want more out of their communications platforms, as well as value integration with the Web and with their desktops or mobile devices. 

With a steady push toward Unified Communications (News - Alert), VoIP continues to gain ground. Advanced carrier services extend beyond traditional calling to include real-time or near real-time modes such as video, chat, e-mail and other platforms, meeting the growing need in the market today.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein




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