Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology lets you use the Internet to make and receive telephone calls.
Range of Services
VoIP is available in a wide range of services. Some basic, free VoIP services require all parties to be at their computers to make or receive calls. Others let you call from a traditional telephone handset, or even a cell phone to any other phone.
For VoIP, you need a broadband Internet connection and an IP phone, or VoIP software on your computer. You can use a traditional phone, but you will need a VoIP adapter.
Security and Service Quality
Most consumer VoIP services use the Internet for phone calls. But many small businesses are using VoIP and unified communications on their private networks. That’s because private networks provide stronger security and service quality than the public Internet.
VoIP Versus Unified Communications
Unified communications (UC) systems offer more features and benefits than basic VoIP, yet many are still priced for small businesses. UC brings together all forms of communication, including voice, video, messaging and meetings, regardless of location, time or device. With UC, faxes, e-mail, and voicemail are all delivered to a single inbox. You can integrate your phone and customer relationship management (CRM) systems to improve your customer service, and much more.
Benefits of VoIP
VoIP and unified communications enable you to:
Reduce travel and training costs, thanks to web and video conferencing
Easily grow your phone system as needed
Have one phone number ring simultaneously on multiple devices, helping employees stay connected to each other and to customers
Reduce your phone charges
Have a single network for voice and data, simplifying management and reducing costs
Access your phone system’s features at home or at client offices, in airports and hotelsóanywhere you’ve got a broadband connection.
ADVANTAGES OF VOIP VS. TRADITIONAL PBX
Myers said the software application driven features of VoIP are the biggest advantage over TDM. Using analog systems, users canít benefit from features like call blast or simultaneous ringing. An IP phone can be programmed to ring on a cell phone when an external call is received, but route to voicemail for other calls. Another popular feature is receiving voicemail transcribed in an email or text message. Users can also video chat in VoIP in a softphone client on a desk or video phone without the need for a complex telepresence system.
And, voice can be integrated with other business applications. For example, a salesperson connects their phone to a customer relationship management system and can access their notes from previous conversations when talking to a customer.
VoIP for business is becoming more application-based, transitioning from hardware systems to software that is leased in a cloud model.
ìThink about VoIP as an application, rather than a piece of equipment, if you donít have the data center infrastructure but a cloud available to lease space from,î said Haskins. ìItís a huge change in turn up timeframes and disaster recovery.î
An IP-based PBX service can view the user from anywhere based on IP protocols, so the user has a virtualized experience and distributed voice calls. An IP service associates a user with a phone number and can register any number of devices.
ìAs far as the PBX is concerned they just need to know who you are and where to send the application,î said Haskins. ìItís a huge benefit to take your phone with you and work from home or an airport.î