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Hosted VoIP for SMBs: Great Advantages at Lower Costs
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By Chalan Aras

According to a recent Yankee Group report, the small and medium size business (SMB) voice over IP (VoIP) market is expected to reach more than $1 billion by 2009, growing by more than 500 percent in the span of just a few years. Once thought to be too complex and expensive except for large enterprises, VoIP is now within the reach of SMBs.

VoIP technology allows service providers to deliver business telephone functionality to SMBs without the need for an on-site telephone switch, significantly reducing start-up and maintenance costs. Hosted VoIP solutions also enable SMBs to take advantage of converged, IP-based voice and data communication to integrate with other IP-based networks and applications, allowing enhanced capabilities such as unified communications and wireless telephony. With a hosted VoIP solution, SMBs can now afford to deploy wireless and wired VoIP systems that not only increase productivity, but also improve the bottom line.

Hosted VoIP Ė Enterprise Telephony Without the Management Hassles
Voice over IP as a hosted solution can provide the sophisticated business features necessary to remain competitive, while enabling a cost-effective solution. A hosted telephony solution leverages a service providerís network and call control infrastructure across multiple customers, providing each customer with private and secure business telephone services without an on-premises PBX. The service provider takes care of all the administration and maintenance of the call server, eliminating the capital equipment costs and maintenance expense for the customer. Hosted VoIP services leverage a broadband connection which can be used for voice and data, allowing SMBs to take advantage of bundled voice and data services from a single provider.

For an SMB, a hosted VoIP solution allows the company to get the same professional telephone system functionality of a large enterprise and stay competitive in the market. Although sometimes taken for granted, a businessís telephone system can make or break the customer experience and can enhance or diminish employee productivity. In addition to providing high-end business telephone features and functionality, a hosted VoIP solution also provides the benefits of scalability, lower total cost of ownership (TCO), and disaster recovery.

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Chalan Aras is vice president of marketing for Polycomís voice communications division.
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