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CHICAGO — Computer expert Scott Graflund, owner of CMIT Solutions of Arlington Heights, shared with operators at the Illinois Limousine Association’s fall meeting last month three concepts that can change the way they run their operations: cloud computing, VoIP calling, and thin-client appliances. Deployed correctly, these tech tools can complement or replace existing office systems and perform the same functions at lower cost.The Cloud
Most people by now have heard of cloud computing. It’s a system where a company’s computing resources, such as data servers, are hosted and managed offsite by a third-party provider and accessed over the Internet via web applications. The cloud essentially eliminates the need for bulky inhouse servers and frees up office space.
The economic model offered by cloud services mean lower upfront costs and less hands-on maintenance. “The cloud is important because it saves you money,” Graflund said. “Instead of a big investment in in-house computing infrastructure that’s amortized over a period of time, you can pay [for cloud services] by the month.”
While the cloud offers tremendous benefits, there are also some risks involved
. But as cloud computing proliferates, expect to see increased data security.
For more about the cloud, please read Jim Luff’s article on cloud computing
and his blog post about a recent computer crash
to see the headaches that come along with it.VoIP
“VoIP’ stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is basically a phone service that delivers voice communication through a broadband Internet line instead of a traditional phone line. The main advantage to this is that a person does not have to physically be in his or her office to answer incoming calls to their extension.
VoIP makes phone calls through an internet connection.
VoIP systems are similar to the cloud because the phone lines are hosted by a cloud-like VoIP provider.
“Instead of buying a phone switch, you can set up your company’s phone numbers through VoIP for a monthly or yearly fee,” Graflund explained. Like with cloud servers, this method saves money by reducing up-front costs.
“The call quality and service is great and comes at a fraction of the cost,” Graflund said. “An owner can have his business spread out all over the globe and no one has to know, because although employees and offices might be out of state, they can all share a single number with different extensions, just like a traditional office phone system. They can be at home and still answer their office line, still re-route calls to the company’s other extensions.”
Learn how to set-up a VoIP system in this PC Magazine article.