Business owners, managers, and other decision makers are inundated with choices in communications services, and this is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.
Vendors offering texting, instant messaging, voice, and video conferencing applications reach out on a daily basis, all claiming to provide a service that businesses absolutely must add to their arsenals.
Recently, a popular software research organization published a report revealing that 60% of respondent employees use over-the-top (OTT) communications applications. OTT applications were designed to skirt, or “vault over,” cost-related impediments. It hasn’t taken companies long to see the benefits of and adopt OTT, and many have saved huge amounts of money in telecommunications expenses as a result.
Forms of OTT
There are varied forms of OTT, with more emerging all the time. For example, a consumer using a mobile app to place a call or text message instead of using their service provider is using an OTT application.
There are currently two types of OTT applications:
- Texting and Instant Messaging (IM)
Additionally, there are two classes of OTT applications platforms:
For texting and IM, many free platforms provide adequate service. But for voice and video streaming, some of the unpaid services have proved lacking. Available services should be evaluated individually based on overall capabilities, user-friendliness, reliability, and cost.
OTT and Least Cost Routing
Providers of novel services have also begun to synergize their applications with dynamic least cost routing (LCR). This is another cost-saving utility that should arguably be added to all OTT communications applications. Providers of aggregated services are streamlining their customers’ communications, doing away with the inconvenience of customers having to enlist numerous providers for their home, business, and mobile communications needs.
This is a trend that can aid businesses in “vaulting over” competitors that are slow to examine new paradigms, unwilling to be the first in their industry to do so, or are bogged down with long term contractual obligations. LCR makes real-time assessments of the least expensive routes for phone calls, then directs outbound and inbound call traffic to routes that have the best call quality and the best rates.
As companies discover that the integration of LCR into OTT provides a cumulative economic benefit, this is likely to become the standard in business communications. Determining the best provider packaging will take some research, but it has become clear that businesses can benefit from having least cost routing included within their OTT applications array.