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Rethinking the role of phone: how Zoom Phone makes voice communications seamless in a collaboration-centric world

Some phone providers have built solutions with the collaboration-centric age in mind, others are trying to "bolt on" capabilities.
6 min read

Updated on August 01, 2023

Published on July 07, 2023

Zoom Phone

Want to communicate with a co-worker in a different location? Connect with a prospect or customer? Hold a large, distributed meeting? In the past, the office phone was your go-to. For those one-on-one calls, or larger ones over an audio conference bridge, workplace communications hinged on hard-wired phones.

Fast forward a few decades, and we have a few more ways to communicate. We can send messages in a snap over chat, meet face-to-face in real time over video meetings, and send a quick SMS text in a pinch. We even have contact centers that let customers use any of these options to communicate with companies. 

In today’s collaboration-centric age, companies must meet people where they are, and give them the ability to choose their method of communication. Some phone providers have built solutions with this age in mind, others are trying to "bolt on" these capabilities to their legacy-built platforms. Let’s take a look at what makes the difference. 

Telephony paves the way for collaboration 

While we now connect over a variety of different channels, our experience and familiarity with phones means there’s still an appetite for a phone-centric approach to technology. Modern-day collaboration platforms need to learn from phone’s success, and apply the insights in a way that enhances other technology. A few of these elements include: 

  • Always-on services. You can pick up a phone to communicate at any time, and so you should be able to make a video meeting or chat happen at any time, too. Reliability is key for technology, and typically boils down to contract-supported assurance through SLAs and product-specific innovation for business continuity.

    Most UCaaS providers offer 99.99% to 99.999% uptime SLAs, but those only apply to their infrastructure. In addition to making a 99.999% uptime SLA available, we at Zoom have explored innovative ways to provide more reliability and remote survivability. And if disaster strikes or an outage occurs, there are product-specific innovations that can help. Solutions like Zoom Node with Zoom Phone Local Survivability (ZPLS) help enable continuity of communication. Zoom Node is a central hub for hosting workflows — or modules — that allow organizations to maintain certain services within the organization even if internet connectivity is lost.
  • Hardware: Just because we’re not married to desk phones anymore doesn’t mean we don’t need hardware to create an effective communications experience. From cameras to microphones to displays, a comprehensive hardware ecosystem is a valuable companion to UCaaS platforms. And that still includes hard phones. Only now, organizations crave the ability to tailor hard phone inventory according to both businesses’ and users’ ever-evolving needs, so hardware-as-a-service programs are essential. 
  • Choice and customization: Choice is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. Integrations and extendibility should be front and center in any collaboration platform. Deployment models and commercial options allow customers to plan and meet their needs. UCaaS providers must offer options like native calling services, integrations with your own PBX, and Bring Your Own Carrier.

RingCentral’s challenges in supporting asynchronous collaboration   

While phone is now one of many communication channels, it’s still the cornerstone of a modern communications stack. But that doesn’t mean all phone solutions are created equal.

Modern-day voice communications need to go beyond basic phone functionality — experience makes a difference, so seamless, flexible, and reliable features are a must. You need a voice communications solution that meets you where you’re at and equips you with trusted UI, not one that struggles to fold into broader collaboration platforms. Phone-first providers like RingCentral lean toward the latter, as their solutions aren't typically optimized for flexible, multi-channel communications.

RingCentral phone solutions may not have all the elements needed to enable the asynchronous collaboration that’s prevalent in today’s flexible work environments. They require fees for emergency calls, have a smaller global reach than Zoom Phone, and don't offer licenses for different use cases or a BYOC program. 

RingCentral phone solutions also don’t fold into a collaboration-centric, broader architecture that fosters agile, asynchronous work. Top-notch technology, like conference rooms, contact centers, team chat, and video meetings solutions, have to be bolted onto RingCentral solutions, stripping companies of the ability to consolidate their communications. And even though its solutions stand on their own, operating RingCentral is also pricier than operating the Zoom platform. According to a 2023 Metrigy UCaaS Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Study, commissioned by Zoom, RingCentral implementation costs 27% more than Zoom implementation for organizations of fewer than 2,000 employees. RingCentral customers’ internal IT staff-managed operations also cost 168% more than Zoom customers’ IT staff-managed operations for similarly-sized organizations.

An SLA-backed uptime, which Zoom and RingCentral offer, demonstrates a commitment to keeping systems up and running, but what if something goes wrong between the cloud and your location? Zoom Node running ZPLS offers robust functionality beyond internal calling and 911 in the event of a network connectivity issue. With capacity of up to 5,000 users per module and global availability on a variety of devices, you can provide critical support to your people with a phone system that can continue core functionality. If the Zoom client is unable to connect to a Zoom Phone data center due to an outage from a carrier, storm, or natural disaster, the ZPLS module helps organizations minimize revenue loss, maintain internal communication, and establish on-site safety with survivability that lasts for several days. 

Zoom Phone’s reliability has gone far with customers like Mike Morse Law Firm. “We saw improvement right away. We don’t lose calls anymore. We didn’t have that with RingCentral. Having Zoom Phone in place helps us better engage with our clients, and the metrics and data it provides helped us capitalize on ROI almost immediately,” said John Georgatos, CIO at Mike Morse Law Firm.

Future-proofing with Zoom Phone

Zoom Phone is our feature-rich cloud phone system purpose-built for the collaboration age. It’s designed to go with you wherever you need to communicate — the office, home, or on the go. With an intuitive and familiar interface, Zoom Phone offers reliable, secure, and flexible voice communication features that seamlessly integrate with Zoom’s broader collaboration platform. 

From enhanced reliability with ZPLS to emergency services at no extra cost to a provider exchange program, Zoom Phone equips you with advanced and innovative options so you can streamline communications.  

Because it flows into other Zoom products, Zoom Phone helps you move through your workday with the speed and ease you need. You can quickly elevate a phone call to a meeting, or jump from team chat to voice communications, all right in the same enterprise-grade collaboration hub. It also integrates with top business applications, contact center partners, and hardware providers to make sure communications can occur in context. Having a singular hub for all communication needs reduces the silos and busywork that come with having disparate solutions, like RingCentral, scattered throughout your infrastructure.

Zoom and RingCentral

Get more from your phone

Clunky, legacy technology binds you to the past, while sucking up the resources you need to take on the future. As you face a tough economic landscape, you need agile, modern technology that also makes the most of your tight budget. 

If you’re being asked to justify your IT spending, it’s time to explore how you can consolidate your phone system with other communication solutions. That’s where Zoom One comes in. Our all-in-one offering brings together phone, team chat, whiteboard, meetings, and third-party integrations into a single user experience so you don’t have to waste time — or money — switching between apps. Trim costs, get more done, and make the most of your communications, no matter where and how they take place.

To learn more about our cloud-based phone solution, visit the Zoom Phone webpage.

*Source: https://www.ringcentral.com/office/features/global-office-communications/overview.html (July 2023)

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