Although video conferences have taken center stage as remote work has become more common, audio calls are still integral to collaboration. Hosting and conducting these calls in the cloud, via a cloud calling solution, is the best way for businesses to scale their communications in a multi-device world and to unify the calling and meeting experience.
Cloud calling is the use of a business phone system hosted in the cloud. The underlying infrastructure, as well as the system’s applications and services, are all cloud-based. More specifically, the service provider hosts and manages the solution in its data center, supporting it with feature updates and technical fixes.
This setup is the direct opposite of an on-premises calling solution, in which everything resides in the customer’s data center. The end customer of a cloud calling service accesses it via an IP network from a device of their choice, whether a desk phone, mobile phone, laptop, desktop, etc.
A cloud calling platform may also be called a cloud UC calling solution. The “UC” refers to its unified communications capabilities, which may cover messaging, presence, online meetings, and more. At a minimum, a cloud calling offering should include the following:
Some of these capabilities are available in on-prem UC calling solutions, too. However, the lower overhead of cloud calling solutions, plus their superior scalability and cost-effectiveness, have made them increasingly popular alternatives to customer-run calling platforms.
According to a Wainhouse Research report, the UC cloud is positioned to increase more than 145%, rising from 46 million seats in 2019 to 113 million seats in 2023. Over 67 million new calling-enabled cloud users are expected to enter the market, with 55 million transitioning from on-prem solutions and 12 million representing completely new users. By the end of 2024, Wainhouse predicts that cloud UC seats will be most common in the market.
Cloud calling provides substantial benefits compared to an on-premises calling solution.
Answer calls more easily
With cloud calling, end users can answer calls to a business number from virtually any device in any location. For example, someone calling the main number of a design firm might have their call routed to the cloud calling client on an employee’s mobile phone or PC, where it would ring. That employee would not have to expose their personal phone number or data when returning a call, either.
Such flexibility means fewer missed calls for the company. Just because someone isn’t at their desk doesn’t mean that they can’t be reached via cloud calling. Moreover, the cloud calling experience offers rich functionality on all devices, for an experience that goes beyond voice alone and adds in call waiting, merging, and more on devices outside the office.
Collaborate in the office and on the go
Indeed, cloud calling extends a diverse range of functionality to any internet-connected device running the solution’s client or application. Someone using cloud calling might:
Reduce costs and overhead
An on-prem private branch exchange, or PBX, is costly and complicated to maintain. Managing moves, adds, and changes can be time-consuming, plus on-site vendor visits may be required to fix technical issues or expand capacity.
In contrast, cloud calling offers a more streamlined experience. Everything from users to plans can be conveniently managed in one place, without the overhead of physical infrastructure to worry about. Pricey capital expenditures can be traded for flexible operating expenditures. The service provider also oversees cybersecurity so that there is less of a burden on the customer organization’s teams.
Ready to get started with cloud calling? Webex provides a complete phone system in the cloud to help businesses thrive in the hybrid work era and serve their customers from any location.