Phone System: On Site or Hosted. Does It Really Matter. Sure. But It Depends.

Every business needs a phone system. Some very small businesses can make do with a cell phone or two and Starbucks. Others might need a more traditional phone system installed in their office, with telephone lines and desk phones.
However, there’s hundreds of thousands of companies who are in the middle. Maybe it’s 25 workers, and only 5 of them are in any kind of an office. Maybe it’s 10 of them who are using a shared workspace. In these types of scenarios a traditional PBX phone system can be costly and overkill.
What works for many of these types of companies is a virtual phone system that is service via the Internet.
Bandwidth.com recently launched a service to compete head on with the free Google Voice, but it’s geared towards business users and also free.
The new product is called Free Phonebooth. One of the features offered is Contact Us Plus which is a widget that you install on your company’s site that allows visitors to call you directly like with Google Voice, but this widget routes those calls to the appropriate people/departments in your company. It is free, and still gives phone system functionality that’s much more polished/professional than anything else on the market. This is something that we heard that SMB’s really wanted in terms of integration.
There’s lots of competition in the market: Grasshopper, Ringcentral, VirtualPBX, OneBox, eVoice to name just a few from memory.
Want to know if the benefits of a hosted telephone service or for you?


Bandwidth.com wrote a great article to help you decide, on Mashable.
Site vs Cloud: The Line Continues to Blur
Recently, discussions in the Telecom industry have pitted on-site and cloud-based phone systems against one another. I have often wondered as a telecom professional offering solutions for both, why the two are so disparate. There are many compelling reasons for both solutions, but I am not going to beat a dead horse in this article perpetuating the argument. In the spirit of peace, love and understanding, I am going to talk about how these two diverse environments have already begun and will continue to move closer together by highlighting the major features that should reside in the cloud and some that make sense to manage locally.
Read the full article here.
If you’re looking for a traditional phone system, with all the trimmings of a “big company” phone system, but for less cost and managed by someone else, check out M5 Networks.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook