A look into VoIP phone systems and how they benefit business
Nearly one third of businesses in North America have adopted a VoIP system to manage their phone needs. Whether it’s a small office of five employees, or a large enterprise of 5,000, more companies are making the switch from landlines to VoIP and the reasons are justified. From cost savings and availability to functionality and reliability, these services offer several benefits that landlines simply cannot compete with.
While VoIP phone systems are great alternatives for many businesses, there are instances where its’ predecessor is the better option. In some cases, although uncommon, both can and should be utilized. To best determine if your business should switch phone services, it’s important to understand what VoIP is, as well some of the barriers that make it a poor choice.
It’s Fun to Say, But What Is It?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocols) is an advanced telecommunication system that allows you to make phone calls using the internet. Instead of relying on the physical infrastructure that exists between two landlines, VoIP simply utilizes an ordinary internet connection found in many homes and businesses. Voice signals are converted into digital data packets, quickly transmitted to the receiver, and reconverted to an understandable audio. VoIP systems can connect to traditional landlines that don’t have internet and visa versa.
Setting up a VoIP system can be done many ways and can also utilize a company’s current equipment.
Phone with adapter – Pairing an analog phone with a VoIP adapter that connects to the internet
Dedicated VoIP phone – Similar to standard phone, but connects to a computer or internet
Smartphone – Download provider application that enables calls to be made over the internet
Computer or tablet – As with smartphones, applications essentially make devices VoIP phones
Some plans will allow a phone number to connect to multiple devices. For example, incoming calls could be received on the main office phone, personal computer, as well as a smartphone.
Cost Effective – Seeing that VoIP utilizes already existing internet connections; this allows providers to offer more competitive pricing than traditional landline services. While actual savings vary among businesses and providers, it’s quite common to see savings of up to 45% when making the switch.
Functionality – VoIP systems can offer an abundance of features and functionality that many landline phone systems don’t. Many services allow you to easily host video calls, shares multimedia such as files and images, create robust phone attendants, review call analytics, and more.
Flexibility – With several possibilities for different device connections, a VoIP system can be implemented in nearly any business setting. For example, administrative staff can utilize their computers as a VoIP phone, while service agents in the field might use a tablet or smartphone.
Reliability – The digital nature of VoIP allows for information to be easily and quickly transmitted between parties. In addition, the system is utilizing the same infrastructure that the internet is built on, in many cases the most vigorous in the world.
Availability – If you can get internet access in your area, you can use a VoIP system. This enables phone capabilities nearly everywhere.
Requires reliable internet access – Although high speed internet is not necessary for VoIP phones, a steady internet connection is required for quality use. Depending on the consistency of connection (or latency) and the importance of continuous phone use, a landline could be the better option for rural businesses.
Emergency calls – When an emergency call is placed with a landline, responders can easily determine the address from where the call is made. With VoIP, an extra step to add an emergency address to each line is required. It is important to note that many services will use a businesses’ default address for each additional line, these addresses should be updated with the accurate user address.
Elevators/alarms – Elevators have phones for emergencies and alarms often utilize a landline to contact a security provider, business owner, or emergency officials. While a converter may be implemented for these cases, local regulations might prohibit this and require a landline connection. If a business has an elevator or alarm system, it is important to review local regulations to assure compliance.
Making the Decision
It’s not always clear whether a business should switch to a VoIP plan. In most cases, a business can expect a seamless transition along with some hefty savings.
If you’re unsure if VoIP is right for your business, shoot us an email or give us a call -we’re happy to learn about your business needs and help you find the right VoIP provider.
Schedule a consultation