Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology has been around for several decades now, and even as it continues to gain popularity, we hear from several clients that they are still on the sidelines about making the switch. Understandably so. It is a big decision. Switching from the Plain Old Telephone (POTs) lines to a system that runs solely on an Internet connection can be a bit daunting.
In order to demystify the VoIP concept, and raise awareness on the incredible value this technology can offer businesses, the following article addresses several concerns we’ve heard over the years and outlines the numerous benefits VoIP phone systems can offer businesses.
What is VoIP?
Essentially, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology allows users to make phone calls using a broadband Internet connection rather than the traditional analog phone system. It works by converting sound into digital voice communication via data packets just like any other data traveling over the Internet. So basically, if your business uses a VoIP system, you are using the Internet to make phone calls.
Technology experts and analysts believe VoIP technology to be the wave of the future for business communications. Think back to how websites looked just a few years ago and how drastically different those static webpages compare to today’s interactive sites. In the same way, VoIP technology is paving the way for bigger and better business communications.
Even after the big shake up in the 80s and 90s regarding the crackdown on the telephone monopolies, businesses looked at telephone connectivity the same as they would any other public utility – a necessary expense. There was no ability to incorporate personalization or customizable features for specific business situations and workflows. However, as VoIP hit the stage in the mid-90s, things began to change dramatically.
You can say it all started with email. Email took off big and people soon sought ways to communicate electronically in real time. Thus came instant messaging, but soon after, users still desired a more personal connection - they wanted to hear a person’s voice over the Internet in real time. Thus came the advent of VoIP technology.
In its beginning it was mainly looked at as a valuable alternative to long-distance and international telephone charges. This may not sound like a big deal to those of us who have smart phones with unlimited free long distance, but for a business, it can be a significant expense.
The earliest versions of VoIP implementation had various drawbacks, which is why many companies today still have their reservations. There were distorted phone calls, lagging transmission, and dropped calls.
However, the changes and advances in the VoIP technology since its onset have been significant and it’s now considered to be a fundamental asset in business communications worldwide.
VoIP systems are a strategic move for businesses to see financial growth and have a competitive advantage. The major benefits include:
- By using a single network to carry voice and data, there is an inherent reduction in overall business expenditures. Additionally, long distance calls are much cheaper when using VoIP systems.
- Mobile functionality. Internet telephony enables the user to take their phones anywhere there is a high-speed Internet connection. All you have to do is move your IP phone (or traditional phone with a VoIP adapter) to a different broadband network jack and plug it in. This is an incredible asset for those business employees that travel or work remotely.
- Talking on your computer. The technology also provides the ability to receive and place calls directly from your computer or laptop using a headphone/microphone unit connected to your computer.
- Call forwarding/routing. In the event that you need calls forwarded, whether it be a power outage or that you are simply away from the office, your VoIP phone number can be configured to automatically forward unanswered calls to a cell or landline number. The call flow can be configured to ring to your cell phone first for a few rings and then switch to ringing your home line, and then end up returning to your voice mail which can be simultaneously sent as an audio file to your email.
- Virtual phone numbers. Your phone number can have assigned to it any available area code, not just the one assigned to your region. If your company does business in different states, this can be a highly sought after feature to provide a local number for those existing or prospective customers to call.
- VoIP technology allows employees to have their phone numbers configured to simultaneously ring on multiple devices--such as your cell and landline phones--before going to voice mail.
- The voicemails can also be configured to be received as an email so when you’re away from your phone you will still have immediate access to your incoming messages.
- In a recent survey conducted by Sage Research, the increased productivity enabled by internet telephony added up to 3.9 hours per week, per employee.
Business Information Solutions has recently invested in a new BIS VoIP phone system ready to provide your business with the flexibility and features that can save your business a significant amount of money. It has been reported that small businesses who switch to a VoIP phone system can see a reduction in costs by up to 40%. Additionally, our easy-to-use and affordable next-generation phone system will add to the success of your business as it continues to grow, while at the same time ensuring the safety of your network thorough our comprehensive monitoring and up to date security measures. Experience our BIS CloudConnect solutions for yourself. Schedule a free demo and book your free phone audit today and we’ll show you how this customizable and dependable solution can save your business money and increase productivity.