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Why Switch To VoIP?
VoIP is a method that delivers voice communications and multi-media sessions over internet (IP) networks. VoIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol. VoIP services convert your voice into a digital packet that travels over the Internet (codec), translated by a coder/decoder. The concept for the technology was developed in the 1980’s, and the first audio transceiver to enable the technology was developed by a company called VocalTech, Inc. in 1989. VoIP (“IP Telephony”) offers both advantages and disadvantages that any business considering conversion to the technology should consider.
Potential for Cost Savings
The biggest advantage that any business should consider is the potential for cost-savings over traditional PBX (Private Branch Exchange)-based telephony. Once a business has internet connectivity, most VoIP calls are free, as they bypass the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), avoiding calling fees charged for traditional telephony. For a VoIP-based system to initiate a call to a traditional phone system, there may be a small monthly fee, but in most cases, this fee covers an unlimited number of calls within the United States. Additionally, because the calls travel across the Internet, there are reduced costs to maintain separate phone lines and equipment.
Features of VoIP
In addition to the potential cost-savings, VoIP-based systems offer much greater flexibility and features for managing telecommunications than traditional PBX systems can offer. Further, telephony can be integrated with the other computer-based systems that support the business. Examples of some of these features are:
|Feature ||Benefits Explanation|
|Find me/Follow me call routing ||Directs all incoming calls to a single device which you can be carrying with you|
|Phone/entry buzzer integration ||Allows any handset to activate door security in your office|
|Voice mail to email reproduction ||Receives voicemail and automatically sends to an email account as .wav file. Alternatively, automatically translate received voicemail to text format.|
|Bandwidth utilization and inbound/outbound call reports||Enables analysis and exception reporting of telecommunications activity for improved control|
|Coaching Tools for Call Centers||Enables real-time monitoring of employee call techniques for improvement of customer service and interaction|
|Video Conferencing||Allows your business to easily enhance standard audio teleconferencing with video|
Portability - Work from wherever you are!
One very interesting feature of VoIP systems is portability. Since there is an internet address built into the handset that is unique to that piece of equipment, it means that you can take a VoIP phone out of the office and use it wherever there is a broadband connection (similar to a cell-phone). This means that your employees can maintain a connection to the office as well as their customers, improving productivity. In principal, you could take your VoIP phone anywhere in the country, even if your office were domiciled in Georgia.
The portability can even extend to international locations, provided that there is access to broadband internet service. While a cell phone can accomplish the same thing, VoIP phone service can be much less expensive, which should be a serious consideration for businesses with overseas work.
Important Considerations When Switching to VOIP
There are a few things to be aware of if you are converting your phone system from PBX to VoIP. The most important is to understand that poor bandwidth and equipment quality can have a detrimental effect on sound quality. This can be overcome by spec’ing the right equipment for your business needs and ensuring with your telephone systems provider that you will have sufficient internet speeds and bandwidth to support your telephony needs.
One other, very specific, but important consideration is that VoIP telephone systems do not connect through a PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point). This means that 911 emergency calls will not register the location that is originating the call unless you have enabled a service called E911 (“Enhanced 911”). Your telecommunications provider can establish this service if requested when you switch to VoIP, if they offer the service. This is an example of a consideration to think about should you decide to switch to internet-based telephony and are selecting a provider.
Most important in making the switch is to ensure that you have an internet telecommunications provider who is capable of understanding your business needs and can help specify a system and set of features to meet your needs. If you have an interest in finding out more about the possibilities of internet-based telephony and what it can do for you, please contact us at VASSIC and we will be happy to answer your questions.
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