With the increase in Internet speed and capacity, as well as the increase in technology and cost, more and more companies are cutting off the shackles of traditional telephone systems.
They chose to use the Voice over Internet (VoIP) system. Likewise, wisely determine whether the hype is reasonable. How good is money saving?
How does it integrate seamlessly with your current or future business technology? Is VoIP safe? Before making any decision about changing the business phone system, please understand the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP.
VoIP phone systems: How it works
VoIP works by converting voice into digital data and sending it through an Internet connection through a router. VoIP allows ordinary calls to be made over the Internet, while traditional PBX systems in enterprises usually enjoy all these options, including voice mail, call waiting, call forwarding, conference calls, caller ID, etc.
Also, VoIP software can be well integrated with desktop computers to be used as a “softphone”. The only requirement is that they have voice and audio input/output capabilities.
Setting it up
Setting up VoIP is very simple. You need a reliable internet connection and appropriate bandwidth. Most VoIP providers handle calls and software requirements, especially when you use a plug-and-play phone certified for that service provider.
Generally, there are no other hardware requirements other than the phone itself. If you choose a self-hosted live VoIP system, then it will involve more.
You will need to obtain a VoIP-friendly version of the private branch exchange (PBX) telephone system, which many companies already use to handle routing calls to appropriate phones on the network as well as PTSN gateways to sit between VoIP PBX software and traditional public telephone exchanges network.
If you don’t want to host PBX software on the server, you can choose a cloud-based phone system. In this way, all hosting and management are done through the cloud service provider and pay per subscription.
No matter what option you choose, managing VoIP and extensions is very simple, and you can make further fine-tuning through the provider’s online account interface.
The IP phone itself usually has two forms. Most look very much like traditional desktop business phones with all the usual functions-speakers, hold and transfer buttons, multi-pager functions, etc.
Some even allow video conferencing, which is useful for presentations, sales pitches or just to provide a face for communication. Another option is “softphones”, which are software-based clients installed on computers and mobile devices.
They provide the same complete functions as desk phones and usually have instant messaging capabilities, and in the case of providing video input, face-to-face video conferences can be conducted.
VoIP versus POTS
When a new technology comes out, people usually argue about which is better. POTS is an acronym for Pretty Old Phone System (also known as PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network)).
Since the days of Alexander Graham Bell, this has been the way companies handle communication. For this reason alone, many people are hesitant. But how does the difference really compare with the enterprise? POTS actually has some reliable reasons.
First, there is a continuity of business and service. If there is no internet connection, VoIP will not work. This means that it is not only vulnerable to network problems, but also power failures.
In this case, POTS is more reliable, and even if the Internet is interrupted, the enterprise can maintain telephone communication. 911 calls may also be more reliable on fixed phones, while e911 calls are susceptible to power or Internet interruptions.
For these reasons, some companies (such as alarm companies) require landlines to maintain their security monitoring. Moreover, in some cases, the voice quality on POTS is still superior, but with the continuous development of VoIP, this situation may change. On the other hand, VoIP provides many benefits that are not easy for POTS users.
What are the benefits of VoIP?
There are reasons why so many companies adopt VoIP technology. Although there are some advantages of maintaining POTS subscriptions, the benefits of switching to VoIP outweigh them.
Generally, VoIP systems are only cheaper than traditional telephone systems. There is less hardware to buy, and in most cases, the VoIP host does not need any new hardware at all.
If you do this, it is usually readily available hardware that will not be locked due to proprietary restrictions. When managing remote employees (even remote employees), there will be no additional costs due to distance.
Since voice and data are sent over the Internet, there is no need to consider long-distance charges. New York calling Los Angeles is the same as calling across the street.
In fact, most VoIP services provide free calls to colleagues regardless of their location. Monthly subscription fees are also low, and there is usually no need to sign a contract.
Much depends on the amount of phone traffic you often have. Worst of all, your spending may not exceed the money you have already spent. However, you will have the added value that VoIP can bring to you.
VoIP is particularly suitable for employees who do not rely on desks or traditional office settings. Many providers provide dedicated applications for sending and receiving calls from remote locations using their data connections and mobile devices (including those under your enterprise’s BYOD policy).
You can set these applications to be used at the same time as your office phone. The application can even act as a standalone extension. Similarly, the video conferencing option allows salespeople to conduct presentations and promotions as easily and cost-effectively as voice communication is the most convenient or effective way, thus saving time and travel.
Leaving the phone is not a problem, because voice mail and instant messages can be converted into emails or text messages and then sent to any device specified.
When your business needs new extensions, you don’t need to worry about installing additional hardware. The expansion of VoIP services is simple and cheap, just like buying another plug-and-play certified phone.
At most, connecting a VoIP phone to your network will require adjusting some settings. You can also install the softphone client software on other networked computers.
VoIP allows adding or deleting any number of phones and extensions. Therefore, you can do what best suits your business’s current needs.
Integration with unified communications systems
If your business uses or is considering implementing a unified communications (UC) system, VoIP is a great fit and may already be part of its infrastructure.
Because both UC systems and VoIP rely on network connection and management, both make sense and both use many of the same communication functions, such as instant messaging, call management, video calling and conferencing, and mobility.
VoIP becomes another tool for enhancing collaborative workflow and business productivity.
Security on VoIP networks
When it comes to the security of VoIP systems, most of them are in the hands of users. Many VoIP services have no internal security barriers and can help cybercriminals overcome.
To do this, you need to rely on the same security protocols and best practices as usual. You need strong firewall protection commonly used on the network and employee training on phishing scams and malware attacks.
You can also consider encryption and VPN options. In general, VoIP is as safe as traditional phones.