Why should I be considering cloud communications?
You would have had to be living in a remote wilderness recently to not have heard of Cloud IT services. The concept is familiar to most people these days as a result of wide-stream media publicity by large technology companies, such as Apple, Google and Microsoft. Furthermore, cloud technology services such as file-sharing, data backup and e-mail have been widely adopted by businesses in recent years due to a greater appreciation of the benefits of cloud rental models. Managed, highly-available technology services, delivered over fast, reliable Internet connectivity is a more practical and economical option, one that is now increasingly favoured over investment in office-based systems with expensive running costs. By comparison, far fewer people are aware that the same approach can be applied to business telephone communications and, in fact, that innovative and highly developed platforms have been available to deliver this for quite some years.
It is surprising to us, just how many company decision-makers, when choosing new or renewing existing agreements for business telephone services, are unaware that there are very competitive alternatives to the industry giants, such as BT, or traditional phone system dealers, who:-
- - are protecting lucrative revenue streams for fixed line rental, software licenses and equipment leases
- - offer complex tariffs for standard call charges
- - charge for annual maintenance agreements
- - cannot offer affordable integration with business IT systems
- - promote old technology that isn’t flexible, practical or economical
Today's forward-thinking business is working with cloud service experts, like ITbuilder, to provide them with hosted communications services that are:
- - Feature-rich, incorporating as standard, functionality such as:-
- > Auto Attendant/Receptionist
- > Call Recording
- > Web-based Call Management
- > Voicemail-to-Email
- > Call Reporting
- - Low installation fees and flexible terms
- - Low, fixed monthly rental fee, bundling equipment, services, call charges and support
- - Highly reliable whilst also offering inherent business continuity and site disaster recovery capability
- - Provided with a wide range of handsets from top brands, such as Cisco & Polycom
- - Simple and affordable to integrate with business computer systems and software
- - Skillfully designed, deployed and supported by IT professionals
ITbuilder is proud to be partnered with Gamma, the UK market leader in hosted telephony, bringing its award-winning cloud communications service, Horizon, to UK businesses. Horizon is increasing the productivity of our customers and, at the same time, reducing the cost of their telephony.
How can Horizon cloud communications benefit me and my business?
Different businesses can gain from adopting cloud communications technology in various ways, but anyone choosing Horizon is guaranteed to benefit from the following:-
Features you can easily control : Horizon puts you in complete control of your phone system and comes with an extensive range of call handling and management features, all operated through an easy-to-use web interface.
Empower your staff with ‘one number anywhere’ : Horizon conveniently integrates your fixed and mobile capabilities so that you never miss a call. Callers need only dial one number to reach your desk phone and mobile phone simultaneously; ongoing calls can be moved seamlessly from one device to another without hanging up and a single voicemail box can be accessed from any device.
For more detailed information on the features of Horizon, please download a service brochure here.
An on-demand service with no hidden costs : As Horizon is hosted on your behalf, you only pay for what you need on a simple per-seat basis. As you’re not buying a phone system, there’s no major hardware investment and no financing costs to consider. It is also multi-site ready, so can be deployed to new offices or branches with hardly any cost uplift.
Lower call costs : Horizon offers all the cost benefits of IP telephony including free UK calls to landline and mobile as well as cheaper international call rates. If you use Horizon together with our mobile services you benefit from free calls between your fixed and mobile devices as well as combined billing.
Enables flexible working : Horizon helps businesses become more efficient by enabling flexible work environments through hot-desking, home working, and extending the service to mobile devices.
Number choice : You have total flexibility with the numbers you want to use. You can keep your existing numbers or get new numbers. Extend your business reach and use any local area number no matter where you are located. You can have a London number in Leeds!
A business continuity solution : Unexpected events such as snow, floods, strikes or utility roadworks won’t disrupt your business. Because Horizon sits in the cloud, the service provides business continuity features that allow your organisation to carry on making and taking calls, whatever the circumstances.
How do cloud communications work?
As with all cloud services, the user device (a telephone, in this case) accesses hosted infrastructure online (or 'in the Cloud') which is where all the clever stuff is done and, of course not in the sky, but at a secure, remote datacentre facility. The same applies to Horizon, which exists across two facilities in the UK, one in the north and one in the south, to provide complete redundancy and both connected to Gamma's highly resilient national network. Here resides the brain, or the Horizon call controller to give it its proper name, which is monitored and maintained 24x7. This is where the magic happens in terms of ringing, dialling and connecting calls to your telephone devices. Just like your computer and the way it receives email, your telephone simply needs to be connected to the Internet and you are smiling and dialling.
Because connectivity is fundamentally important, we deploy every Horizon service with managed and monitored Internet access using
high-quality, dedicated Internet connection (a service named AssuredIP) that is specially optimised for telephone communications. Each AssuredIP service is terminated directly onto the same network backbone as the Horizon call controller, so that the end to end service can be, well, assured. With such a level of control over the connectivity, every AssuredIP broadband service is backed with 4 hour SLA, so that faults are fixed fast and downtime kept to a minimum. Smaller branch-office sites of three users or fewer, including home workers, can access Horizon over regular broadband connection where demand for Internet bandwidth or importance of connection uptime is not as high.
“It’s amazing … I still can’t believe there was no down time and people calling our business would have noticed no change. To anyone thinking of making the change for their business I have two words... DO IT!”David Matthews, Managing Director, Dutch & Dutch
What other businesses are using Horizon?
Of course, we think Horizon is brilliant, but then as advocates of clever technology, we would. But we prefer to let our customers, the ones using Horizon day in and day out, speak up for it. In the case studies below, you can see how other businesses broke the shackles of an old phone system and reaped the benefits of modern cloud communications with Horizon.
Top London Real Estate Firm Enjoys Horizon
Smart new network for smart new headquarters
Forward-thinking firm of accountants takes to the clouds
It is important to point out to anybody reviewing their current telecoms arrangement is that cloud communications is not new, but is very much here and now. We strongly recommend that you review Horizon as one of your options considering the following summary of points:-
- - Save money and work smarter with fixed and mobile integration
- - Ideal for home and flexible working
- - Future-proof – get new features immediately
- - One supplier end-to-end to make your life easier
- - Multiple site deployment – only one system to buy
- - Highly reliable and scalable with support included
- - Full range of handsets and options to suit your business
- - Fully featured professional system
If the information in this article has enlightened you to a new alternative in business telephone communications then it has served its purpose and we are grateful to shown one more person the light. If you were aware or even use cloud telephony already, but have only just made acquaintance with Horizon, then this pleases us equally because Horizon is the UK number one for a reason. Either way, we would be glad if you made contact with us to find out more. Please click on the chat tool here or ring us now on 0333 344 980