VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), also known as internet or IP telephony, is the technology of voice and multimedia communications through the internet. Instead of using the PTSW (Public Switched Telephone Network), which is a circuit-switched network, VoIP converts voice frequencies to digital signals in IP packets that use a packet-switched network. The technology is more user friendly and easier to integrate into an organisation, though most will benefit from using an outsourced IT partner to find the best possible solutions and understand the most effective uses of IP telephony.
Compared to traditional telephone networks, the installation of VoIP is a simple task. No additional wires and cables are needed, which is a good thing to know when it comes to health and safety. VoIP has no need for extra hardware, which means it can be relatively easy to install. All the technology can be stored on just one network, which makes for a simple and efficient solution.
With VoIP there is no need to limit yourself to any particular phone device, as mobile and desktop apps make it possible for all devices to be used for flexible business communication, meaning calls can be taken whenever and wherever you may find yourself. In addition to this, VoIP adaptors enable analogue devices to be used with VoIP signals, so traditional telephones and fax machines can be used.
VoIP allows users to direct calls to exactly where you would like them to go, including to multiple users or even directly to voicemail. Calls can be scheduled to be directed to particular devices for different times of the day or week, so you can be reached wherever you are planning to be working from.
When VoIP technology was still in its early days, the quality of calls was not equal to landline calls. However, this has all changed and many business have changed to VoIP for the improved quality it can offer. There are still ways to optimise call quality, such as improving bandwidth and network traffic, but this is something that good IT consultants can assist with.
A feature that is often offered by business VoIP providers is a transcription service that will transcribe voicemail messages into text, and send them via email or save them to a specified location. This can provide a record that is immediately accessible, quicker for reference and convenient for clarifying particular points.
The employment of local numbers can be especially useful for companies that do a lot of business around the world. Your VoIP service will allow you to have phone numbers that are local to certain countries and cities around the world, though you don’t need to be there in the flesh. This makes things easier for your clients in those locations, while also creating the appearance of a wider global presence.
Another feature of VoIP that can make your working life more convenient is the ability to seamlessly transfer your calls from one device to another, while the call is still live. This means you can receive a call in the office, then switch to a mobile device if you need to be somewhere else.
Dedicated VoIP phones are those that have been purpose built for the use with a packet-switched network, and these have additional features, such as contact IDs, contact lists that can be shared, and seamless connection to internet. For traditional phones to be used with VoIP, an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) will be required.
A great thing about VoIP is that in comparison to a landline it is more affordable, and this is without taking into account the numerous extra features and performance. VoIP providers deal with software rather than hardware, so it’s hardly surprising that their expenses are lower than traditional phone companies. With VoIP, international calls also come at a much lower cost than when using a landline.
Thanks to the way VoIP can enable individuals to multitask without unnecessary interruptions, the overall productivity of a business can be vastly improved. As well as being able to take calls to wherever they need to be, users are able to conduct virtual meetings, share attachments and data, which is are useful features for those that are trained and able to use them effectively.
There’s no doubt that VoIP is a large industry that continues to grow, and Future Market Insights forecasts the global industry to be worth $86 billion by 2020. For businesses of all sizes, communication is an important aspect of operations, so VoIP can represent a development that will lead to a considerable growth. Keeping up with the latest technology can make all the difference in business terms, so if your don’t already use a VoIP system your business could benefit from implementing one sooner rather than later.