Telephones have existed in the United States since 1876, and they have experienced an impressive evolution. A device that once was a rare commodity is now something that individuals and businesses rely on each day. The same goes for the internet. When the internet was invented in the 1980s, it was slow and rarely used. However, the internet today is considered a necessity for schools, businesses, and homes.
It’s clear that modern businesses depend on reliable phone and internet services, and companies are always looking to improve their efficiency. One of the most efficient ways to utilize an existing internet connection is to set up a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) business phone system. Could VoIP make sense for your business operations? Keep reading to discover if it’s right for you.
How Does VoIP Work?
VoIP is a system that allows businesses to make and receive calls over the internet. This method of using digital lines to carry phone calls was created in the late 1990s. Essentially, VoIP is an alternative option to using a local telephone company. If your business has an internet connection, you can make or receive calls without a local phone service or contract. In addition to making and receiving calls, VoIP provides other functions, such as:
- Call forwarding
- Call recording
- Caller ID
- Conference calling and video conferencing
- Hold messages or music
- Fax to email
- Web-based system administration
- Integrations with Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Salesforce, and more
VoIP is incredibly accessible for businesses because 93.5% of people in the United States have access to high-speed broadband internet. Broadband internet includes cable, DSL, and fiber internet. VoIP converts phone calls to data and sends the calls over the internet in less than a second. Your business can access the internet through Ethernet cables or Wi-Fi signals.
VoIP works in four simple steps:
- Your business phone connects to your switch or router in your Local Area Network (LAN).
- When you dial a phone number, your IP phone communicates with your VoIP provider to call the number.
- Your VoIP service initiates the call and exchanges data from your IP phone.
- The VoIP phone transforms the digital signals into the sounds you hear.
Signs VoIP Is Right for Your Company
With VoIP, your business can bypass analog phone systems and telephone companies entirely. Many companies rave about the benefits of business VoIP, but how do you know if it’s right for you? There are a handful of indicators that suggest your business could be a perfect candidate for VoIP, such as:
1. You Have a Small or Medium-Size Business
If you don’t own a large business, don’t fret. VoIP is ideal for small businesses of all kinds. Small and medium-sized businesses are fantastic candidates for VoIP because many small businesses already rely on cloud-based applications for file sharing, file storage, and backing up data. VoIP fits into this equation by utilizing the cloud, no longer requiring expensive appointments with service technicians, and hosting an unlimited number of incoming and outgoing calls.
2. You Want to Simplify Your Equipment
Quality is better than quantity, especially in the business world. If you’re looking to consolidate your business equipment from multiple inefficient systems down to a few reliable systems, VoIP is an excellent option for you.
Say goodbye to the frustrating and tedious process of installing special wiring and bulky equipment. Companies that utilize VoIP don’t have to purchase extra equipment or use an IT team to install or maintain it.
Businesses that use traditional analog phones know that diagnosing and fixing issues when the landline goes down is time-consuming and irritating. With VoIP, you can cut out the landline entirely and rely on your existing internet network.
3. Remote Connectivity Is Important to You
As society continues to change, the business world adapts with it. Nowadays, it is incredibly common for businesses to operate in a hybrid setting where employees come into the office a few days per week and spend the other days working remotely. Many other companies even provide fully remote working opportunities for all employees.
Not to mention, some occupations require employees and owners to travel for work. Whether you want to support your employees working from home across town or traveling to a different state on business, remote connectivity is essential.
VoIP is the perfect business phone system for remote demands because it allows employees to bring their business phone line with them anywhere they go. Most VoIP providers have a mobile app that can ring when a client or customer calls an employee’s business line. VoIP apps also allow employees to make outgoing calls on their business line from their personal cell phones.
4. You’re Looking to Save Money
Most businesses would happily take any opportunity to lower their operating costs. If you’re looking for additional ways to save money, switching to VoIP can help. Since VoIP doesn’t require special equipment or an IT staff, your business can save significant amounts of money. Additionally, most VoIP providers charge a monthly per-use fee instead of a fee based on how many minutes are spent on the phone.
Some VoIP providers even allow free access to some services. Typically, cloud-based business solutions can be as low as $10 to $30 per user, per month. VoIP avoids toll charges from traditional telephone services and consolidates video conferencing, voicemail, and long-distance calling services into one system, allowing your business to bundle services and save money.
5. Your Business Prioritizes Customer Service
If providing excellent customer service is one of your business’s core values, you may be able to increase your capabilities by using VoIP. With the efficiency and accessibility offered by VoIP, your business’s customer service will stand out from your competitors.
Amp up your customer service by starting calls with a customizable welcome message and add pleasant music or an informative message while customers are on hold. You can even utilize call transcription features so that your employees can give their full attention to clients without having to take notes.
Is VoIP Right For Your Business? Get Started Today!
Does your small business sound like one that we described above? If so, you are likely a fantastic candidate for business VoIP services. Don’t wait any longer to save money, consolidate equipment, support remote work, and amplify your customer service; instead, get started with VoIP today.
If you need a trusted VoIP provider, contact Integrated Communications today. Our team will perform a free telecommunications audit report to decipher if VoIP makes sense for your business. For more helpful advice regarding business telecommunications, check out the other articles on our blog.
Voice over Internet Protocol, commonly referred to as VoIP, is a technology method that delivers voice communications over the internet. Business VoIP systems are essentially the modern form of a business phone. Instead of being tied to a landline, businesses can use the internet to send voice, video, and data communications. There are VoIP advantages and disadvantages, but for the most part companies can enjoy many VoIP benefits like flexibility, low cost, and mobility. Business VoIP is the future, especially with so many employees working remotely. No matter what size business you run, VoIP can help you stay modern and connected. Here are a few of the benefits of using business VoIP:
- Allows employees to work from anywhere, with the use of smartphones.
- Lower cost than traditional landlines.
- Easily scalable for when your business grows.
- Flexible phone option that won’t tie you down.
- More features than conventional phones.
How Does VoIP Work?
The VoIP definition is: communication that works by digitizing voice data and sending it over the internet. This means that you can make and receive business calls over the internet, using various devices such as headsets, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The only thing you need for business VoIP, or hosted phones, is an internet connection. Instead of using circuit switching like traditional phones, hosted phones utilize packet switching, which is much more efficient. It uses bandwidth only when needed.
Business VoIP Benefits
You might be wondering, what are the VoIP advantages and disadvantages? Believe it or not, there’s more than one benefit to using business VoIP. If your company hasn’t switched to it already, you might want to reconsider. Using business VoIP gives your business freedom and flexibility. Your employees will be able to take calls from wherever they are, with whatever devices are available to them. Business VoIP also comes at a lower cost than traditional landlines and is easy to scale up if you hire new employees and your company expands. If you think your business would appreciate this mobility and its low price, then you should consider switching to business VoIP with a trusted VoIP provider. Here are five of the best VoIP benefits to consider when making this critical choice.
With the world of technology expanding and the popularity of remote working on the rise, businesses have to find ways to adjust. Using VoIP phone services is just one way to do that. Employees can work from anywhere and still receive calls with the use of VoIP. Working from anywhere is essential, especially if your employees travel or often have meetings outside the office. With VoIP, everyone will stay connected over their business lines, making it easy to be mobile.
Using hosted phones is significantly cheaper than traditional landlines. Because of the way VoIP operates, you really just need to have a strong internet connection. By providing business VoIP to your employees, you will save a considerable amount of money in your budget, which can then be allocated elsewhere. Think about how much money you’ve spent installing landline phones and rewiring cables, plus adding additional lines whenever you have a new employee. Those days of costly services are gone, thanks to affordable hosted phone plans. Choosing business VoIP will give you mobility and flexibility, not to mention a good portion of your phone budget back.
When your business grows, your technology and phone capabilities have to grow too. Adding additional business VoIP lines is straightforward and easy, making this growth transition that much easier for companies. Instead of having to call your landline provider, buy a new hardwire, and reserve time for installing new lines in the office, you can just add lines through your admin portal. Whenever you hire new employees, giving them a phone line is simple with VoIP. Scalability is one of the many benefits of using business VoIP. Moving offices? That’s no problem either when you have hosted phones you can use anywhere, as long as there’s an internet connection.
Office workers used to be tied to their desks all day because of landline phones and technology that wasn’t flexible. Now, technology has made huge strides so that people can work from wherever they want. Business VoIP operates in the same way. You can stay mobile and flexible, opting to work from wherever suits you best, without giving up your phone lines. Stay connected and remain flexible with business phone hosting. If you and your employees are always on the go, VoIP is the best choice for reliable phone services that are as flexible as your company.
The final fantastic benefit of business VoIP is all the features that don’t always come with a landline phone. The VoIP definition communicates clearly how voice data is simply sent over the internet. These hosted phones can actually do so much more than traditional phones, including integrations with other work productivity systems and voicemail to email. With business VoIP, your phone system will help employees to be their most productive. If your company needs full functionality out of your phone system, then hosted phones are the way to go. Here are several of the features you can enjoy with business VoIP:
- Automated attendant
- Caller ID
- Call blocking, forwarding, waiting, and transferring
- Conference calling
- Contact Center/Call Center
- Integrations with Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Salesforce, and others
- Fax to Email
- Find Me/Follow Me
- Hold music
- Mobile management
- One-line sharing on multiple phones/devices
- Ring groups
- Voicemail to Email
- Voicemail to Text
- Web-based system administration
Choosing Business VoIP
When you choose a VoIP system, you will be investing in your company to grow into the future. Of course, there are VoIP advantages and disadvantages, but we think the pros outweigh any cons. Hosted phones allow for maximum flexibility and scalability while remaining the most affordable choice for business phones. VoIP technology is constantly evolving, and since it is cloud-based, you will always have access to the latest version without any significant changes to your system. Thanks to hosted phones, all you need is a strong internet connection to be able to carry conversations and receive work voicemails from wherever you are, on whatever device is available to you. The benefits of business VoIP are plenty, and it’s one of the best investments you can make for your growing business today.
More businesses are adopting Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions than ever before. From streamlined platforms to centralized communications, VoIP is a truly cost-effective and flexible alternative to outdated phone systems. VoIP improves operational efficiency, cuts telecommunication costs, and increases overall performance. The preferred choice for countless brands and ventures, VoIP easily integrates into any existing telephony system or communications protocol.
Within the VoIP market, however, there are several brands and services available. The only way to secure the best VoIP package is to conduct extensive research. When it comes to the right system for your business, there are three important aspects to consider.
Scalability should be of paramount concern when selecting a VoIP system. Companies should look for the following before choosing a service provider:
- affordable VoIP services that promote brand growth and expansion;
- seamless integration of VoIP into existing telephony and business communications platforms;
- file sharing, screen sharing, uploads, downloads, and any other specific features that are needed by the business;
- Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking to expand or reduce business lines on an as-needed basis; and
- compatibility between private branch exchange (PBX) and SIP, with the flexibility to enhance, edit, or bring on new services.
Hosted vs. On-site Services
There are hosted and on-site options available for PBX services. Both have their unique advantages and disadvantages and should be taken into consideration when adopting new VoIP platforms.
- Businesses without existing PBX hardware tend to benefit from cloud-hosting services.
- Cloud services are easier to deploy, are more cost-efficient, and eliminate the need to purchase new hardware and pay maintenance fees.
- On-site systems offer more flexibility and better control over private telecommunications networks.
- On-site PBX is the best option for companies that have the means to invest in hardware and maintenance for optimal system functionality.
Deciding between on-site and remote services depends on the particular needs of the company. Businesses should also weigh the benefits and risks of deploying these services before signing their names on the dotted line.
With the advent of burgeoning technologies and bring your own device (BYOD) policies, more and more employees are able to get work done while on the go. In fact, many now use their own mobile, wireless, and digital devices from remote venues. With this in mind, businesses need to integrate contact lists, video conferencing, and call-forwarding services for their remote teams.
With modern VoIP features, businesses are also able to secure more freedom and flexibility for workers. They no longer have to invest in expensive tools for mobile workforces, since the same applications and programs are being utilized across the board.
The birth cry of the Internet came about in the U.S. when the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) delivered the first data packet between two computers in 1969. That very same ARPANET saw the birth of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) when the first data packet of encoded voice was transmitted in 1974. In recent years, the dawning and proliferation of the information age has seen VoIP truly come into its own.
An Innovation in the Data World
From businesses to the home internet connection, relatively inexpensive high speed internet is allowing VoIP to replace traditional telephone services. In all but the most remote rural areas, sufficient internet speeds are now available, prompting consumers to question the need for both telephone and internet services when internet will serve both voice and data functions.
Affordability and Convenience
In the past there has been resistance to innovations such as VoIP due to cost and the dread of having to get a new telephone number. That is no longer the case. VoIP equipment is highly affordable and often is less costly than even an average smartphone. Further, the cost of transmitting a data packet over long distance is hardly more than the cost to send the same data packet across the room, making VoIP more affordable than traditional long distance telephone services.
In the early days, a VoIP call had to go through a third party because telecommunications companies held a certain level of propriety over the connections. Now, VoIP calls go directly to the recipient, bypassing the middleman and keeping costs low.
Changes in FCC laws now allow phone numbers to be transferred from one service to another. The process of making the change takes just moments, and the service provider is usually happy to do the work in order to get new business. The service itself is has yearly costs comparable to regular monthly cellular phone charges.
Services That Are Part of the Package
Most VoIP packages include long distance as just another service provided for a very low single fee if not provided entirely for free. A number of services once considered to be extras were billed as such but are now being provided by VoIP as a standard package. Some of these standard services provided at little to no additional cost include call forwarding, voicemail, and call waiting.
Marrying VoIP to Apps
VoIP is IP-based and highly adaptable with regard to data handling applications. As a result, VoIP telephony systems are capable of previously unheard of functions and new applications are arriving on the scene every day. From screen sharing to faxing to email, the IP-based world is growing and expanding in capabilities at a mind-boggling rate. With the affordability of VoIP services being realized, what was once thought to be a tool for businesses has taken root in the home.
With more available options for communications, many businesses are looking at what service they should use for their telephone line: a more traditional Private Branch Exchange (PBX) or the newer Voice over IP (VoIP).
Both services have their advantages and disadvantages, including cost and reliability. PBX may be an easier option for internal employees, because it allows businesses to connect all their internal phone lines to a single leased external phone line. In most cases, this means that employees would only need to dial an extension number rather than dialing the full number to call a coworker.
VoIP, on the other hand, uses the Internet to make phone calls by transferring audio information as digital data. It possesses many of the same benefits as a PBX, but it has a lower cost. However, there are also some disadvantages to a VoIP system, leading some businesses to consider an IP PBX system, a combination of the two.
For large businesses or those that are geographically dispersed, cost may be the single biggest factor in whether to choose PBX or VoIP.
Using a PBX system comes with a monthly charge that can fluctuate depending on how many phone calls are made. In addition, whether or not these calls are made internationally can increase the price. However, VoIP systems use the company’s broadband connection to place phone calls, meaning that the majority of the calls are free no matter where in the world the person is calling. Another benefit of VoIP is a low initial cost; instead of an entirely new system, businesses only need to purchase phone adapters that will change their system from analogue to digital.
While cost is lower for VoIP, its reliability can sometimes come into question when compared with a PBX system. Because VoIP relies on the company’s Internet connection, loss of power or connection means that phones will also be unavailable. In contrast, PBX systems are powered by the telephone wire itself and will still work even if the power is out. Some businesses are looking into an IP PBX system for this reason: The ease and cost of a VoIP system with a few PBX lines is ideal for emergencies.
The company’s Internet connection will also affect the quality of phone calls made over VoIP. Small companies with slow or low-capacity Internet will find that voice quality is lower than with PBX. Fortunately, there are many features in a VoIP system—such as the ability to access a work phone number no matter a person’s physical location—that will encourage businesses to upgrade to a more robust Internet connection.
IT professionals and business leaders should have a good understanding of the pros and cons of VoIP and PBX before deciding which one to purchase. While cost is lower for VoIP, PBX has the advantage in reliability and will still work even without power or an Internet connection. However, with the speed with which today’s digital world moves, businesses may find that VoIP allows them the mobility to keep up – with PBX lines as a backup.