Historically telephone companies provided both dial tone and telephone features to business users. For example: when purchasing a telephone service for your business you would specify the number of lines and the features; such as voice mail, call forwarding, call waiting, three way calling, per line. Businesses with multiple lines would often terminate their phone lines into key or PBX systems that support line sharing across multiple extensions and supplement the available features. Your PBX might provide call center queuing, music on hold and enhanced voice mail.

Unfortunately, once you purchased a key or PBX system you were often limited in the new features you could add without purchasing a completely new system. For example, it is unlikely you could add Voice Broadcasting, Click-to-Call, or sophisticated Interactive Voice Response dialogs to your existing system. Even if these features where available you would need to hire a high priced consultant to configure them properly.

This has all changed with the introduction of My thoughts about the evolution of cloud computing and Cloud Telephony into the marketplace. Telephone applications in the Cloud are hosted applications capable of completing (terminating) a phone call to any telephone worldwide. Let’s break this down as bit.

Today, with the rapid decline in the cost of dial tone and the availability of VOIP communications services, companies may choose to purchase their out bound and in bound telephone services from separate vendors. For example a company could purchase traditional telephone services from the least expensive vendor in their area. When they pick up a telephone in their office, this vendor would provide the dial tone and place the call. This would be coupled with services from a company such as Ifbyphone for in bound calls. When a customer calls the business the Ifbyphone telephony cloud would route the call either directly to the business or to a hosted telephone application such as a virtual receptionist, interactive voice response dialog (IVR), store locator or virtual call center.

This hybrid approach provides companies with the least expensive out bound calling packages and the most flexible inbound call routing. In fact since the in bound calls are all handled via the Ifbyphone telco cloud, calls may be dynamically routed to your office phone, cell phone, and even home phone. This is important since if your office phone fails, because a bus ran into the telephone pole behind your building, with a couple of clicks you can reroute your Ifbyphone inbound phone numbers to a alternative location or cell phone.

In addition by using a Cloud Telephony solution for inbound calls, you are able to integrate your sales team that is using cell phones, with an outside call center and even home based users into a single virtual call center. Capabilities such as call queuing and call tracking are easily configured across users all of different telephone systems.

Are there advantages of using two telephone companies, one for out bound calls (dial tone) and another for in bound calls. Absolutely.