What Is a Cloud-Based Phone System?

A cloud-based phone system is like a traditional PBX, but with the PBX servers that handle the calls situated in the cloud and accessed over the internet. And with the Australian telecoms industry migrating away from–and shutting down parts of–the old copper line network, cloud phone systems are becoming more convenient replacements for older PBX systems.

But more than just being a digital replacement for an out-of-date system, a cloud-based phone system:

  • Is simpler to implement and configure
  • Doesn’t require costly onsite servers  
  • Can be managed remotely through an easy-to-use web interface 
  • Can work across multiple branches or locations

Understanding VoIP

The nbn™ and fibre connections have made Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology more accessible and reliable. Because of this, and because of the age and cost of maintaining the copper line network, analogue calls are being phased out. In most areas, the old copper line network is being shut down within 18 months of the nbn™ or other fibre connections becoming available. Once this happens, VoIP and mobile will be the only way to make and receive calls. 

VoIP is not that different to the traditional method of making and receiving calls. Although your voice is now transmitted as audio data over the internet, you can still use most analogue phones to do this. The biggest difference is that, as well as being able to use IP Handsets, VoIP also allows you to make and receive calls using nothing more than a desktop or laptop computer. Switching to VoIP might require small adjustments to cabling in your workplace, but it doesn’t require any big investment in new equipment.

The only requirement to get started with VoIP is having nbn™ access with a suitable, VoIP supporting, nbn™ plan The number of concurrent calls you need to support determines the size of the nbn™ plan you need, with an NBN50 plan providing enough bandwidth to meet the needs of most businesses. Learn more about Commander’s nbn™ plans.     

How Does a Cloud Phone System Work?

Understanding how VoIP works also means understanding how some of a cloud phone system works. With all voice calls now transmitted over the internet, it’s even easier to replace a physical PBX system with one hosted on a secure off-site server managed by a VoIP provider. The server manages all incoming and outgoing calls, while the VoIP provider will also give you access to an app that allows you to configure your phone system and its features to better serve your needs.

The server cuts the need for a physical PBX system and many of the costs associated with installing and maintaining it. But you still get all the features and benefits of a PBX system, plus the ability to manage it remotely via the cloud. Your current business phone numbers can usually be ported to a cloud phone system, so there is no disruption to your business. Learn more about Commander’s cloud phone system.

Benefits of a Cloud Phone System

In addition to not having to house and maintain onsite servers, there are a number of other benefits offered by a cloud phone system.

Lower Costs

The upfront costs of a cloud-based phone system can be significantly lower than that of installing or upgrading a PBX system. Additionally, onsite cabling doesn’t always need to be updated.

Because your VoIP provider manages the server, ongoing maintenance and support costs are usually part of the monthly cost for the phone system, so there is less need for onsite support and maintenance. A single cloud phone system–such as our Commander Phone–can also be used for multiple locations. If your business has more than one branch or office, they can all be connected to the same phone system, reducing monthly costs further.

Greater Control & Flexibility

Adding a new line is as simple as adding extra users to your plan; there is no physical line to be activated at the exchange, so the new line is available almost at once. But you can just as easily remove users from your plan, depending on contract commitments, giving you total control over how many lines you pay for each month.

Cloud phone systems include support for both a physical receptionist to direct calls, along with an auto receptionist feature, meaning an automated system answers all incoming calls, with the caller then able to choose the department they want to be directed to from a menu of options. This makes a cloud-based phone system a valuable solution for smaller businesses that could never justify the cost of a PBX system before. Naturally, the ability to set up hunt groups and sequential ringing sequences are also available. And all of these can be set up by yourself using the web app supplied by your VoIP provider.

While some features available with a cloud phone system are optional add-ons, many are included by default, and the majority can be controlled by you.

Unified Communications

A standout feature of cloud phone systems is unified communications. This is essentially the ability for you to make and receive calls on a softphone, physical handset, and even your mobile phone. A softphone is an app allowing calls to be made and answered using a standard desktop or laptop computer, meaning that physical handsets are not a prerequisite for using a cloud-based phone system. These systems also support a simultaneous ringing service, so a call directed to a specific person will cause their desktop softphone or handset and mobile phone to ring at the same time. They can then answer on either device. And any call answered on a desktop softphone or handset can seamlessly be transferred to a mobile device, leaving you free to move about in the office–or even leave the office–while busy on a call. You can answer work calls on your mobile phone when you are out of the office, without the caller having to call your mobile number.

Get in touch with our Sales team to learn more about Commander Phone–our cloud phone system–or any of our other phone systems for businesses and offices, making it easier for you to find the perfect solution.