Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows businesses to make and receive calls over their internet connection. However, there are still many unanswered questions about VoIP.
Mark Pearcy, Head of Marketing at business telecommunications provider 4Com,explains the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP, and how business owners can make a seamless switch.
Advantages of VoIP:
By utilising a cloud-based VoIP system, you open up the possibility of a highly scalable phone system. As new starters join your business, you can simply let your supplier know their details and the additional handset can be sent to you pre-programmed. Softphonesystems which utilise the software on computers as the system’s endpoint also enjoy this benefit. With VoIP, your only limitation is your bandwidth rather than the number of lines you have coming into your office.
The headline benefit of VoIP is the possibility to have lower costs for your phone system, compared to those associated with traditional telephone systems, though this does come with a major caveat.
Some providers will claim that you can simply run a new phone system over your existing internet connection, but while this is true for those with a high capacity connection, in many cases it is prudent to install an additional internet connection to handle your voice traffic. We’ve seen larger companies opt for the guaranteed speeds of a leased line to ensure they have ample capacity for all their connectivity requirements.
One of the greatest things about VoIP is its availability; if you have an internet connection then you have the possibility of having a VoIP system. This is of particular interest to those in remote locations, as services such as wireless or satellite internet can still work well with VoIP systems.
Ease of use
Analogue phone systems have handsets with very limited functionality and relatively poor usability. VoIP has enabled the development of far more usable devices, including many with touchscreen displays such as HiHi. Features such as voicemail and call forwarding have also been simplified considerably to improve their usability.
VoIP’s development over the years has introduced many features such as call recording, call reporting and integration with other devices, to create a unified communications environment. What’s more, thanks to the wide availability of these features, they are often available for very reasonable prices.
Disadvantages of VoIP/:
A good internet connection is essential for a great VoIP service, as this will help you avoid any latency concerns. It goes without saying that without an internet connection, you simply can’t have a VoIP service.
A note on reliability
If your internet connection is unreliable and tends to drop out from time to time, then your phone service will suffer from reliability issues if you are using VoIP. Most reputable providers will check your broadband availability and performance as part of the pre-sales process to ensure you can successfully use the service.
How to switch to a VoIP service:
Check your broadband
Most reputable providers will perform a broadband check on your premises to ensure that you can enjoy a VoIP service.
Find the perfect device
There are a lot of VoIP enabled devices available these days, so do your homework to be sure you find one that’s easy to use and comes equipped with a range of helpful features.
Consider additional services
Communication is about so much more than just phone calls, so think about which additional services would be useful to your company. Options include integration with your computer system, on-hold marketing and call recording to name just three.
Pearcy adds: “As fibre optic broadband becomes more widely available across the UK, there has never been a better time to explore a VoIP phone system for your business.
“With latency and quality concerns widely considered to be things of the past, VoIP could represent a cheaper and more versatile option for your communication needs.”