When it comes to your business telecoms there are plenty of options to consider. Of course, determining the best will likely come down to factors such as scalability, cost and efficiency. However, in this post we’ll look to address VoIP services (Voice over Internet Protocol) and discuss how this is a viable option for your business.
There’s no denying, over the last few years VoIP has become a serious contender in the telecoms market. Plus, it’s seen as a genuine way to make calls and be less expensive than traditional methods.
But, is VoIP the future of calls?
What is a VoIP phone service?
You may be under the misconception that VoIP is a relatively new innovation – however, this couldn’t really be any further from the truth. In fact, the use of VoIP dates back to the 70s and whilst is a popular option for homes and businesses, its first use can be traced to the US Department of Defence.
Voice qualities are now just as good for VoIP calls, as they are with traditional telephone lines.
VoIP calls work in a similar way to how data is transferred across networks. Small packets are sent across the network and rearranged so the correct information arrives at the receiving end. It wasn’t so long ago packets weren’t overly used, due to their association with poor quality. However, an advance in technology in recent years means this is now a viable method. Voice qualities are now just as good for VoIP calls, as they are with traditional telephone lines.
Thanks to the boost in popularity of VoIP services, there are a number of services to choose from. This includes the following:
- PC to PC: PC VoIP calls are typically used by most businesses, sometimes even on a daily basis. Instant messaging services are common too, such as Skype and other similar apps.
- PC to Telephone Network: The caller will require a headset, but the receiver will simply use their phone.
- Telephone Network to Telephone Network: An adaptor will typically be used on the telephone.
- IP Phone to Telephone Network: The phone will be IP enabled, meaning there isn’t a need for an adaptor.
Many experts believe VoIP services will soon replace traditional phones completely. But do the benefits really stack up?
What are the benefits and drawbacks of VoIP?
With VoIP there is a range of superb benefits for choosing this solution.
For starters, there’s cost to consider. As you would expect, the cost of calling using VoIP is cheaper than a landline, especially when it comes to making international calls. In fact, if you’re calling another VoIP user, it’s often free of charge.
As VoIP is run through a network, it makes no difference whether you’re calling home or abroad – There’ll be no difference in the price.
If you’re calling a non-VoIP user, the cost itself is a little more difficult to calculate. Gateway services are often required, whereby you’ll receive a dedicated number to make and receive calls. There will likely be a flat monthly charge for this use.
However, despite the costs, this is still a cheaper option than making calls with the landline. As VoIP is run through a network, it makes no difference whether you’re calling home or abroad – There’ll be no difference in the price.
For businesses, VoIP also makes perfect sense. Having the same supplier for all your data and voice communication will improve efficiencies in the workplace. It also helps to avoid making expensive internal calls, whilst also being perfect for contacting customers.
With all the benefits, you may be wondering if there are any drawbacks to VoIP. In essence, there is a worry on the quality of lines, but thanks to the rapidly growing technology used, these fears are no longer necessary.
What else is included with VoIP?
Along with the benefit of free calls dependent on your service, there are a number of other bonuses a VoIP phone offers. These include the following:
- Anonymous call block: Fed up of nuisance calls? VoIP services are able to block all incoming calls from withheld numbers.
- Caller ID: This does as you’d expect, displaying the name of the person calling before you pick up the phone.
- Call diversion: If you’re unavailable, a call diversion ensures incoming calls aren’t left unanswered. Instead, they’re diverted to a pre-determined number.
- Call waiting: This option allows you to answer an incoming call, whilst still being on another line.
- Do not disturb: When you’re particularly busy, divert calls straight to your voicemail service.
- Conference calls: This is great for businesses and allows you to have a number of people on the same call – ideal for conferences.
Should I choose VoIP over a landline?
In essence, throughout this post we’ve worked to provide you information on what is a VoIP phone, and by now you should have a better understanding. However, even though there are plenty of amazing benefits for the VoIP option, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a straightforward choice.
Why is that the case? Well, primarily because not all VoIP solutions arm you with the same options you may expect from a landline. For example, VoIP could be restricted from emergency calls and some international locations. Plus, if there was a power cut, your VoIP service would be out of action.
…with VoIP there’s the chance to save a significant amount on your phone bills – even if you need to pay an ongoing monthly fee.
If you’re using broadband, the chances are you’ll still be required to pay a line rental – even with a VoIP service.
However, you can see throughout this guide just how many perks there are with the VoIP. The benefits of calling overseas and at home for free can’t be understated and with VoIP there’s the chance to save a significant amount on your phone bills – even if you need to pay an ongoing monthly fee.
For the time being, VoIP phones will likely be used in conjunction with landlines, rather than replace them entirely. However, you should certainly be considering the VoIP technology and in no time at all, it could easily become the staple for homes and businesses in the UK.