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The future of cloud telephony in India

In quite a short time, cloud telephony has managed to become an integral part of our daily lives. Ambarish Gupta, CEO Knowlarity, explains why.

November 1 2016:  From families talking over Facetime, Skype or Whatsapp, to a customer calling in with a service request, to a sales call connecting the extremities of our nation, cloud telephony works seamlessly whether it’s the world of business or our personal lives.

But the journey has only  just begun and cloud telephony, despite having made giant strides, still holds so much potential, it’s hard to imagine what lies over the horizon. Here’s a look at how and where we can expect cloud telephony to have an impact over the next few years:

A helping hand for startups
The most obvious area, and one where cloud telephony has already made inroads. Startups, by their very nature, prefer tech solutions which combine affordability (startups invariably face a funds crunch), scalability (startups grow fast and can’t afford to be stuck with a difficult-to-upgrade service), reliability (when you’re small, you can’t afford a service outage). Factor in another important aspect - startups are pioneers in making use of new tech - and cloud telephony comes across as tailor-made for any new startup. But while this is applicable the world over, it gains even more importance considering the Indian market - we prefer communicating over voice instead of ‘impersonal’ email, and considering our geographical spread, a unified, single point of contact becomes even more important.
Over the next few years, expect this bond to grow stronger, and as cloud telephony offerings become even more comprehensive, with new features that can be rolled out at minimal cost and effort, cloud telephony might even become the driver for new startups and services - instead of remaining a support tool.

Traditional and offline businesses enter a new era
But the Indian economy is much bigger than the word of startups, and while our homegrown ‘tech cities’ like Bangalore and Gurgaon might get all the attention, there is a business revolution brewing across India - in the villages, in small towns and Tier II and III cities. It’s everywhere, and it may even turn out far bigger than the startup boom.
There are existing small businesses and ‘offline’ retailers who have the experience, vision and product the world would be clamouring for. But so far they’d been constrained by the costs of growth.  Now, cloud telephony might be what it takes to make these small and offline businesses the new stars of our economy. Family businesses, professionals working together, small enterprises that are now looking for markets beyond their backyard - cloud telephony will give them the tools to expand their customer base far and wide.

Institutional and governmental users adopt cloud telephony
Another interesting change that we’ve witnessed in the past couple of years is an improvement in governmental services. Apps are being made, complaints are attended to promptly, and in general, while we have many miles to go, there seems to be a genuine effort at making life easier for the citizen. 
In a nation like India, where everyone comes into regular contact with governmental services, and yet, these departments are often constrained by funds, cloud telephony holds the promise of boosting civic engagement. Municipal corporations, electricity departments, tax offices - there’s a shift towards greater, smarter use of technology, and cloud telephony offers a chance to improve communication between the government and the citizenry. It might not be possible - for reasons of cost and a lack of infrastructure - to use traditional telephony to improve services in far-flung districts or even a crowded city, but cloud telephony can ensure every citizen is heard.

Multi-language support helps boost usageUnity in diversity- that’s what India is about. And there’s no better symbol of  diversity than the multitudes of languages spoken. Cloud telephony allows for freedom from geographical constraints, no longer forcing a business to have all their sales or customer service executives sitting in one location. Call filtering and special call flows can help businesses divert voice calls easily to regional language specialists, boosting customer satisfaction to an unprecedented level - after all, what better way to show the customer you care than to speak his or her language? Cloud Telephone is everywhere, yet it’s fair to call a new and emerging tech - after all, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what all is possible!
Ambarish Gupta is the founder and CEO of Knowlarity,  leading provider of cloud based communications solutions to businesses in the emerging markets.