Discovering The Advantages of VoIP Systems
VoIP, or Voice over IP as it is more formally known as, is telecommunications technology that leverages Internet capabilities after connecting PBX to the PSTN network.
VoIP Systems are billed under a number of different names in the marketplace, the most common are:
- IP Telephony
- Voice over IP
- SIP Trunking
How does VoIP differ from SIP?
It is easy to confuse SIP and VoIP based solutions, especially given the increasing number of telephony providers who use the labels IP telephony and SIP trunking interchangeably with VoIP systems. This mislabelling often leaves business owners in the dark when trying to differentiate between the two competing products.
Matter-of-factly, SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, facilitates IP telephony. SIP can be utilized for creating, modifying and, terminating video and voice sessions with multiple participants across an Internet network.
What are the advantages of VoIP systems?
There are many great advantages of leveraging VoIP technology for communications purpose, particularly in a business setting. The most notable are:
Reduced spending: When compared to conventional ISDN solutions, VoIP-based phone systems are significantly more cost effective. This is especially true when taking into consideration the eliminated international calling charges achievable with IP communications. For businesses with multiple site locations, particularly those dispersed over large geographic regions (or even in different countries) standard long distance calling can quickly become a hefty expense, since the telephone companies regularly bill these types of calls at per minute rates.
Most VoIP systems providers, on the other hand, offer no cost long distance calling from desk and mobile phones – which can result in savings exceeding 25%!
Business Continuity: Since VoIP systems can be accessed and managed remotely, they have built-in resilience. This means that should disaster ever strike, such as a flood, fire or some other even that renders the physical office location inaccessible, all calls to and from the business phone number can be routed, in real time, to another location, number or mobile device.
Scalability: VoIP phone systems aren’t limited to the same restrictions as traditional ISDN lines. This means that customers do not need to forecast growth patterns and purchase a system based on the number of users that they one day plan to have. It also means that businesses do not need to worry about quickly outgrowing their phone system and being forced to invest in a new one. VoIP allows businesses to add or remove users with ease, and without the need for long term, locked in contracts.
Adding users to a VoIP phone system is as easy as plugging in a new handset and calling the provider, whereas adding a user to a conventional phone system would have meant contacting the telephone company and waiting for a technician to be dispatched to install a physical line to the PBX.
Advanced phone features: Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of a VoIP communication system is the availability of advanced calling features. Previously these features were out of reach to smaller business and those with less operating capital, making it extremely difficult for them to compete with major industry players.
- Call recording
- Call distribution
- Find me / Follow me
- Inbound call management
- Scheduled routing
- Disaster recovery and continuity
- Voicemail to text, voicemail to email
- Call queuing
- Call divert
- Management and metric tools
- Mobile applications
- CRM integration
- Automated attendant
- Extension dialing
- …and more
What are the potential disadvantages of VoIP systems?
Few devices of the modern world come free of errors, challenges or drawback, VoIP is no exception. With this kind of technologically dependant communications system, users will get out of it what they put into it. Businesses trying to run a state-of-the-art managed PBX with all of the bells and whistles on a dated and low speed network will likely experience choppy signals, packet loss and unsatisfactory service. Other drawbacks to be mindful of include:
Reliance on digital connectivity: If a business were to suddenly be without Internet, they may also be without communication services. This factor alone may be enough to have some considering against VoIP. However, how often does the Internet actually become unavailable nowadays? With a high quality Internet service and a business continuity plan, Voice over IP is a tangible communication solution for businesses of all sizes. However, if regular Internet outages are a regular occurrence, opting for a premium Internet connection should be a top priority.
Greater bandwidth consumption: The greater the call volume, the more bandwidth is required. It is possible to implement connectivity solutions that consume lower bandwidth and have a smaller price tag, however, these types of solutions often fail in comparison to call quality when then network begins to manage even a medium amount of call traffic.
Some hardware upgrades may be needed: In order to migrate to a VoIP platform, IP-enabled phones are often needed. In certain situations, adapter can be purchased for legacy phones or softphone applications used, although these still require headsets and microphones. Most reputable VoIP solutions providers recognize the cost burden associated with purchasing new SIP phones for every user on a system and often present customers with deeply discounted hardware options to ease some of the upfront expense.
Is switching to VoIP the right decision?: VoIP communication systems are engineered to deliver superior results for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. The decision to implement VoIP should be taken into account after exploring the full capabilities of the system and its ability to meet the unique needs of the business.
Deploying VoIP might be a good idea for businesses that are:
- Hoping to improve business continuity and disaster recovery with a flexible phone system that can be accessed from anywhere.
- Have multiple operations sites and need a solution that will centralize each office, while lowering communications costs.
- Have anticipated patterns in employee growth or large changes in call volume on a seasonal basis.
- Are a larger enterprise and need to establish a local presence from a central hub.