When I was in my early 20s, I worked for a failed Internet startup. The business concept was solid, implementing content management systems, but our business processes were horrible—we had a do-it-yourself mentality where we did everything ourselves, from custom billing systems to development tools. We focused on all the secondary details and didn’t spend enough time on our core business.
One of the lessons I learned from that business mistake is the value proposition for the hosted softswitch. Voice-over-IP (VoIP) providers can own and manage their own softswitch infrastructure, but in cases like mine, it didn’t make sense.
With small and medium-sized businesses, the case for starting out with a hosted solution is obvious. But carriers also can benefit from a hosted softswitch.
There are at least five good reasons why a carrier might choose a hosted softswitch over on-premise solutions: managed services, no infrastructure investment, the latest technology, redundancy and scalability.
Let’s start with one of the best reasons why carriers should choose a hosted softswitch: the softswitch becomes a non-issue because support and maintenance is offloaded to the hosting provider. Hosted softswitch solutions are managed and maintained by a support team that deeply understands softswitch technology and makes it their focus. That means the carrier can focus on its core business, not maintaining its softswitch infrastructure.
Transforming the capital expense of an on-premise softswitch into the operating expense of a hosted softswitch solution is a second great reason that carriers should consider a hosted solution. With on-premise softswitch infrastructure, there’s the initial investment in softswitch technology and then the constant need for upgrades and maintenance. With a hosted solution, however, capital expense is completely wiped away. Softswitch infrastructure becomes a much more budget-friendly operating expense.
There isn’t even the need for a long-term contract in the case of REVE Systems’ iTel Switch Plus hosted softswitch. The hosted iTel Switch Plus starts at just $290 per month and can be purchased on a month-to-month basis.
Always having the latest technology is another reason why a hosted solution makes sense for carriers. With an on-premise softswitch, there’s the capital investment and then periodic upgrades as time and budget allow. But with a hosted solution, carriers always have the latest technology.
Scalability is a fourth advantage. For many carriers, VoIP offerings are relatively new. As carriers build their VoIP business, they need infrastructure that scales. Hosted softswitches accommodate the small business to the very large. Adding capacity is simple in a hosted environment, less so when additional hardware must be purchased and supported.
Finally, carriers can benefit from the redundancy of hosted solutions such as iTel Switch Plus. With on-premise solutions, hardware failure means customer service problems. With a hosted solution, the softswitch just works because it is based on a cloud environment. The redundancy of a cloud-based softswitch solution means that carriers have less possibility of technical headaches.
Just as businesses have discovered the advantages of hosted e-mail, so too should carriers consider the advantages of the hosted softswitch.