VoIP technology was first introduced in the 1990s and it has made incredible advances since then. And, unsurprisingly it has risen in popularity too. Early adopters found the quality wasn’t as good as they needed. However, those concerns are long gone. And in fact, VoIP (Voice of Internet Protocol) systems make a lot of sense for almost all small businesses. Research has found that more than a third of companies with fewer than 50 employees use a VoIP phone system. With BT stated intent of removing traditional ISDN lines by 2015, then it is likely the rate of conversion to cloud-based VOIP platforms will continue.
What is VoIP Voice Over IP?
The basic summary of VoIP is that voice data is sent in a digital form over the internet rather than plugging into a traditional telephone jack like you would over a PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network).
This system takes advantage of the highly advanced high-definition codecs that have improved the voice quality, making the modern VoIP networks sound better than the best landlines.
As well as the much higher call quality, the Cloud makes VoIP a much more viable option for small businesses. Instead of having to install special equipment and wiring, companies can now choose cloud-hosted VoIP solutions. This means that there is no need to purchase extra equipment or increase the IT staff in the office.
Cloud-based VoIP eliminates the need to have the up-front hardware and software capex investment, and merely requires a broadband internet connection to get it activated. This is turn reduces the capital expenses and eases the implementation.
What Makes VoIP great?
Every business investment needs to be given careful consideration in terms of finance. Making the switch to VoIP telephones often sounds like it is going to be costly. However, typically the fee is based on how many users there are, and it is charged on a monthly basis. When you also consider that there is little to no special equipment, and no IT staff wages to cover maintenance and running costs – it can be a significant saving when pitched against other systems.
Of course, the other significant advantages of having a VoIP system is the business phone line, video conference services, local, national and international call charges, which can all be rolled up under one VoIP provider.
And while office moves are usually expensive matters, moving a Hosted IP system is very easy. IP phones are plugged into a new broadband connection, so no need for the expense of moving the existing physical on-premise office phone system
Ease of Use
VoIP eliminates the need for almost all the tech support that a typical landline PBX system may require. If a landline goes down, you are at the mercy of technicians to get it fixed. And during that time, you run the risk of losing sales and being unable to manage customer services. Not to mention that communication between departments is limited too.
The average VoIP system is user-friendly, and you are less likely to run into the complications you might find with traditional phone lines. Creating diverts and setting up disaster recovery plans is all simplified with VOIP portals.
Cloud-based solutions make it incredibly easy to add new phone lines when new staff come on board too. Again, a significant time and money-saving feature of a VoIP service. There is usually an interface that provides the option to click to add extra phone lines, and once the phone arrives, it is simply plugged into the system.
Call handling and key management features such as click-to-call, call history, voicemail, hot-desking and call recordings, all through an easy-to-use web interface
Some consider the most significant advantage of VoIP in this modern working climate, is the freedom of mobility it provides for people to work remotely. Employees can bring their business line anywhere with them, and they are contactable. And while instant messaging platforms are usually a great option, VoIP opens up even more options.
Many VoIP providers have a mobile app, which means that all mobile devices can be set up to receive client calls, providing a professional service to the customer. And, of course, this means employees can use the same app to make calls from their mobile phone – under the business numbers.
VoIP allows employees to be location-independent. This fixed-mobile convergence is another potential saving on the cost of the office rent and other expenditures associated with staff in the office.
When your staff can work at speed, and without interruption, they are going to be more productive. VoIP allows organisations to relocate communication costs to other areas of the business. Not only that but VoIP also allows for the attachment of documents, meetings to be conducted, data sharing and video calls. The enhanced clarity of VoIP also means that there are fewer miscommunications. The faster people can communicate, the faster they can get their work done. Furthermore, with VoIP systems, we are not seeing nearly the same risk of fraud that we became accustomed to with ISDN based systems.
While cost is one thing, value is another. Switching from traditional landlines and telephone calls to VoIP brings added benefits, for almost no extra cost. When you use the internet rather than a phone connection, VoIP eliminates many of the charges that are associated with many calls, employee moves and new additions, video calling, conference calls and more. Having extra services like voicemail, voice to text is also an added bonus. Providing more for less is a huge benefit of VoIP. And significantly the VOIP providers are continually upgrading their platforms in terms of robustness, feature enhancements or eve new features, which become available automatically.
Making the Switch to VoIP
While the benefits far outweigh any of the potential drawbacks, you still need to be sure that it is the right solution for your business. You will need to factor in a quality internet connection, or even a voice assured router to support the services, and you also need to make sure that your available bandwidth and throughput speeds are up to scratch. To optimize the switch to this system, you need to make sure that your internet service is the highest quality possible, and it is usually recommended that you have one line for voice traffic and another for data.
If you are looking to have unparalleled continuity, the ability to have global staff, and manage many functions from a single implementation and cost, switching to VoIP is a smart decision. However, there are some key considerations around initial deployment that Juno Telecoms can provide a no obligation consultation on to ensure you choose the optimum solution for your Business broadband and VOIP office phone system