Definition - What does Cloud Communications mean?
Cloud communications is the blending of multiple communication modalities. These include methods such as voice, email, chat and video, in an integrated fashion to reduce or eliminate communication lag. Cloud communications is essentially internet-based communication. The storage, applications and switching are handled and hosted by a third party through the cloud. Cloud services are a broader aspect of cloud communication. These services act as the primary data center for enterprises, and cloud communications is one of the services offered by cloud service providers.
Cloud communications evolved from data to voice with the introduction of VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol). A branch of cloud communication is cloud telephony, which refers specifically to voice communications.
Techopedia explains Cloud Communications
Cloud communications providers host communication services through servers that they own and maintain. The customers, in turn, access these services through the cloud and only pay for services that they use, doing away with maintenance associated with PBX (private branch exchange) system deployment.
Simply put, cloud communications provides a variety of communication resources, from servers and storage to enterprise applications such as data security, email, backup and data recovery, and voice, which are all delivered over the internet. The cloud provides a hosting environment that is flexible, immediate, scalable, secure and readily available.
The need for cloud communications has resulted from the following trends in enterprise:
- Distributed and decentralized company operations in branch and home offices
- Increase in the number of communication and data devices accessing the enterprise networks
- Hosting and managing IT assets and applications
These trends have forced many enterprises to seek external services and to outsource their requirement for IT and communications. The cloud is hosted and managed by a third party, and the enterprise pays for and uses space on the cloud for its requirements. This has allowed enterprises to save on costs incurred for hosting and managing data storage and communication on its own.
The following are some of the communication and application products available under cloud communications that an enterprise can utilize:
- Private branch exchange
- SIP Trunking
- Call center
- Fax services
- Interactive voice response
- Text messaging
- Voice broadcast
- Call-tracking software
- Contact center telephony
All of these services cover the various communication needs of an enterprise. These include customer relations, intra- and inter-branch communication, inter-department memos, conference, call forwarding and tracking services, operations center and office communications hub.
Cloud communications is a center for all enterprise-related communication that is hosted, managed and maintained by third-party service providers for a fee charged to the enterprise.