Market musings

What Is a Virtual Phone Number And Who Needs One?

by Sasha Viasasha
October 31, 2017

A virtual number is a telephone number without a directly associated telephone line.   Your phone systems lives inside an app and can be deployed across your mobile infrastructure. Software is eating desk phones, hardware, wires and all the IT resources that used to be required to service a business-grade office phone system. 

Think about all the analog tech that have gone digital recently. Music, photography, books, film, cash registers, currency, and everything else that we now do online. Digital is the new normal and many people have to schedule a “device vacation” to go offline.

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Digital Transformation Initiative keeps track of all the advances in digitization in categories such as automotive, electricity, healthcare, logistics, mining and telecom.

The WEF estimated that the digitization of telecom alone will be worth $2 trillion in cumulative operating profit before 2025.

Part of that value will come from transformation of clunky desk phones, complex wiring and aging servers into virtual phone systems that live in the cloud. Virtual phones and software defined networks (SDNs) make it possible to build businesses to run networks that are self-optimizing and respond more rapidly to security threats.

Virtual phone number defined

A virtual phone number doesn’t exist in a single location. It’s part of a virtual phone system that is delivered by software as a service (SaaS). All the essential maintenance tasks such as add/move/delete programming and software upgrades are handled by the provider.

There’s no new hardware to buy, install, or service. It can even be deployed on top of personal mobile phones, eliminating the need for desk phones and local phone service.

A virtual phone number is sometimes referred to as direct inward dialing (DID) or a direct dial in (DDI) line. This technology can be a bridge between your customer’s traditional switch network and a business voice over IP (VoIP) phone system. 

How businesses are using virtual phone numbers

When you sign up for a virtual phone system, you can request multiple numbers assigned within another part of the US or even other countries. For your customers or partners in those regions, they just have to dial a local number, which makes them more likely to reach out to you. The call will map to your team’s assigned numbers, which can include your current number that you have ported in to the virtual phone system so there’s no disruption for your existing  customers.

Virtual phone numbers can be set up to route calls to a specific number during work hours and a different number on nights and weekends. There are follow-me/find-me options that rings a series of numbers in turn until someone answers or it reaches the end of the dial list, when the call goes into an automated system for follow up later.

With a virtual phone number you can: 

  • Greet callers using an AI attendant that learns and evolves from your callers
  • Offer the option of company address book to find a specific person or team
  • Assign hunt groups, so that a call rings multiple numbers until someone picks up
  • Be assured your data is encrypted in transit or at rest, without extra security costs
  • Open a conference call on a desk phone when necessary using Bluetooth
  • Use the new presence feature to discover if the other party is available before calling

Not all providers of virtual phone numbers have the same capabilities. Make a list of the features that would be most valuable for your business needs and make sure your provider can deliver before you commit to a new system.

The future of business is here now

Digital everything is part of the new mobile world. In the WEF report, nearly a quarter of telecom companies surveyed said that digital services, both B2B and B2C, will account for more than 25 percent of their revenues within three years.

The virtualization of phones helps companies drop their expenses, eliminate the complexity of PBX systems, and give smaller businesses access to enterprise level services such AI answering attendants and local numbers in desirable markets. A virtual phone systems can open up new markets to help your business grow.

All mobile all the time

A mobile business is more agile, more flexible, and more customer-oriented. The Spoke Phone app can add a mobile component to companies with desk phones and VoIP systems, but it can also transform a business into a mobile-only organization.

The vast majority of professionals already have their own personal mobile phones. You can take advantage of your existing mobile infrastructure and turn it into an advanced virtual phone system. Calls from inside the Spoke Phone app mask the employee number and encrypt company data. Calls outside the app and all other app usage on the employee’s device are kept private. Employees get to use the phones they love and employers save a vast amount of money by reducing capital expenditures.

You won’t need an IT team to install, administer, and maintain your phone network, yet you gain all the power of an enterprise level virtual PBX system. Spoke is as easy to install and easy to use, yet powerful enough to replace your office phone system, eliminating up to 88% of your telecom costs.

What is a virtual phone number and who needs one?

  • Entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and contractors in the field
  • Global companies with a multi-city presence and remote workers
  • Agile, lean start-ups who need to stay professional on a budget
  • Small businesses who aren't well served by existing solutions
  • Companies who are having a hard time getting their current system mobile

Spoke Phone is a truly global phone system with DDI’s in 56 countries, AI auto-attendant, and smart geo routing. To learn more about Spoke, including how our AI is powering the next generation voice UX, sign up for an interactive demo and see how to transform your mobile phone or business phone line into a smart office phone system.