Vroom for the VoIP: Cloud Computing is on the Line
Cloud computing has now extended its reach into the telecommunications sphere. The Salt Lake Tribune recently wrote on how cloud is empowering consumers with the mobile equivalent of private branch exchanges, PBXs — essentially customized telephone service systems, whose expense typically reserves them for well-endowed businesses on the make. But as the cloud touts virtualized servers that can handle demand from anywhere worldwide, and can subsequently be made available to consumers as a regularly offered service, it has simplified the process of communicating cloud-style through our devices (cell phones, smart phones, tablets, and more).
These private branch exchanges souped up with cloud computing are lessening telecom costs, particularly for SMBs. With the Internet providing the fuel and boundless space required for the cloud to fulfill its duties, it has never been less expensive for an individual or a business to take advantage of cloud phone service. And because every customer utilizes a portion of the cloud as her phone service’s foundation, escalating or streamlining her usage of cloud is also a breeze. How exactly can cloud create a virtualized service such as this? Simply by “plugging a VoIP (voice-over Internet protocol)-capable desk phone into an Ethernet line and logging in to your phone-system account on the Web or from your smartphone,” according to the article.
Yet the “911” controversy threatens to overshadow the assets of “VoIP via cloud.” In the past, PBXs both in and out of the cloud were ill equipped to handle emergency phone calls, which often rely upon a clearly established VoIP telecom line that was traditionally accounted for an integrated into the emergency information of a given local municipality. In the event of an emergency, critics argue that a cell phone not registered on the grid in this way would be rendered useless, especially if its owner were incapable of speaking into the phone at that particular moment.
Circumventing this potential hazard requires that a phone-as-a-service user firstly determine the landline numbers of emergency contacts (poison control, police, et cetera) and have them on hand, within the phone. Contact to these authorities, to register the cloud-powered phone’s number with them, is a smart next move. Thirdly, it is essential that one vet his network to ensure the sensibility of a switch to cloud VoIP. It often proves helpful to research multiple cloud phone service providers, such as Phonebooth, Panasonic and sipgate, and have them each assess your particular needs.
By Jeff Norman