Cutting the cord doesn’t only concern consumer services like cable television; it’s also playing an increasingly important role in the world of business. As reliance on landlines wanes and internet speeds get faster, small businesses are turning in droves to VoIP for the many benefits it offers. Nonetheless, to get the most out of this enormously beneficial technology, you’ll need to review your options first.
How Does VoIP Work?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. In other words, it converts analogue voice into packets of digital data, which are then translated back into audio on the other end. What this means is that it can use the same infrastructure as your internet, working together with other forms of communication like video conferencing and instant messaging.
VoIP systems for businesses may be hosted in the cloud or on-premises. With a hosted system, the underlying infrastructure is managed entirely by the vendor, which means a lot less installation and maintenance work on your part. By contrast, implementing a self-hosted, in-house system requires a lot more hardware, although this option does, in theory, offer a much greater degree of control and customization.
What Do You Need for VoIP?
What you need to implement a VoIP phone system will vary enormously depending on whether you want to go for a cloud-hosted system or an in-house infrastructure. In the case of the latter, your upfront costs will be much higher, since you’ll need to invest in an IP PBX server to connect the system to your existing phone line. There will also be complicated programming considerations to take care of.
Hosted VoIP solutions generally make a lot more sense for small businesses, since they’re cheap and easy to set up and have minimal dependence on in-house hardware. Instead, your service provider will do all the heavy lifting, and all you need is an internet connection and any internet-enabled device with a microphone to make and receive phone calls.
Since VoIP communications are entirely reliant on the quality and speed of your internet connection, it’s imperative that you have enough bandwidth and a very low latency rate. Bandwidth shouldn’t be a problem, however, particularly if you prioritize VoIP traffic. Nonetheless even fast internet connections can sometimes be subject to high latency rates, which lead to a discernible delay in real-time communications.
Which Features Do You Need?
Virtually every business-ready VoIP service provides a range of basic features that already make it much better than standard landline telephony. Some examples include caller ID support, call forwarding and automated attendants.
Most services also provide apps for Windows, Android and iOS as well as web-based apps for unsupported operating systems. You can also use any SIP-enabled deskphone or cordless phone to make and receive calls. For most businesses, this basic set of features is likely to provide ample functionality.
For companies and call centers that need the highest level of security and control over their communications, a more complex VoIP service is a must-have. These industry-leading solutions provide a wealth of extra features, including support for multiple extensions.
Other premium features to consider include multiple virtual receptionists, customizable call routing, music on hold, time-based greetings and conference calling. VoIP systems designed with larger call centers in mind also provide coaching tools, which help supervisors provide training and support to employees during calls.
As you can see, companies have a lot of options available to them when it comes to making the move to internet telephony. All you need to start taking advantage of this powerful technology is a stable broadband internet connection, and your company will be able to enjoy a fully scalable and flexible communications infrastructure.
If you’re ready to join the VoIP revolution, Truewater offers the tools and expertise you need. Call us today to find out about our tailor-made VoIP systems and how they can help your business grow.