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VoIP technology has come a very long way since it was first introduced as a commercial service in 1995. Today, Cloud-based VoIP Technology is at the forefront of affordable and feature-rich communications solutions for SMEs because it presents a tremendous opportunity to save money and greatly improve Business communications.
What is VoIP?
VoIP (or “Voice Over Internet Protocol”) is an IP-based communications technology that allows people to make and receive telephone calls through an existing internet connection.
VoIP technology converts your Analogue voice signals into packets of digital data that are transferred over the internet – freeing your business from the commercial and financial constraints that come with using a traditional analogue phone line.
How does a Cloud-based VoIP service work?
With a Cloud-based VoIP service, your unified business communications are hosted and maintained in a highly secure data centre by a third-party VoIP services provider (like us!) Apart from your telephone handsets, no on-premise hardware is required and your VoIP service provision becomes the full responsibility of the vendor.
What are the advantages of using a VoIP solution?
We’ve created a micro-list of commercial and financial advantages that will help you make a compelling business case for switching to a VoIP solution.
Reduce your telephony costs.
Small businesses can potentially reduce their telephony costs by up to 80% by switching to a Cloud-based VoIP solution.
Any initial setup costs are greatly mitigated because the service is hosted and maintained in the cloud. In addition, internal calls including calls between different office locations are typically free of charge and outgoing landline calls are also significantly cheaper.
Zero maintenance costs.
With a Cloud-based VoIP solution, continuity of service and ongoing maintenance is the responsibility of the vendor.
No initial hardware investment or investment in future hardware upgrades is required because your entire VoIP service is hosted and maintained in the Cloud.
By passing the responsibility of your telephone service to a 3rd party vendor, you’ll have one less service to worry about!
VoIP telephony is fully scalable.
With a VoIP solution, you can add and remove new user accounts and extensions on-the-fly through a user-friendly web-based interface, or by contacting your VoIP service provider.
The number of new extensions that you can add to your account is unrestricted, although this is dependent on the speed and resilience of your internet connection.
VoIP is highly accessible.
With a VoIP system, your work extension number is no-longer tethered to your desk phone in the office. You can now seamlessly use your office extension to make internal and external calls from home or on the move through a Smartphone app.
You can make and receive internal and external calls from your desktop PC or laptop. This accessibility is especially advantageous for small businesses that promote and encourage remote working.
VoIP comes with an advanced feature set.
A reputable VoIP Unified Communications service will incorporate integrated Video Conferencing and Internal messaging services that can be used alongside a traditional voice service. In addition, VoIP telephony includes many additional features that are either unavailable for traditional phone services – or they come at an additional cost. These features typically include:
- Check the call status of your colleagues (available, away, busy)
- Find your colleagues number using the search function
- Send and receive texts, links, images and documents via messaging
- Apply configuration templates in an administrative dashboard that will automatically detect and configure any IP phones plugged into your Network
- Match inbound calls to customers based on a caller ID
- Create insightful reports on agent and client call activities through accurate call journaling
- Use Office 365 and Google contact lists
- Advanced reports that include individual and companywide usage statistics
Plus, MANY more features!
ISDN is going end-of-life.
BT has confirmed that their IDSN and PTSN networks will go end-of-sale by the end of 2020 and be permanently switched off by 2025. This outdated technology will be replaced by their existing single IP network. Because of this, many Businesses across the UK that are still using ISDN for voice and data will soon need to look for an alternative solution.
What are the disadvantages of switching to VoIP?
You need a good internet connection!
Both internal and Cloud-based VoIP technologies are 100% dependant on Internet connectivity. If you don’t have a fast, reliable internet connection with sufficient bandwidth, then switching to VoIP isn’t recommended, especially if you have a large number of employees using the service.
You also need to consider the internet connection of home users and other office locations within your organisation, although do remember that many VoIP services include a Smartphone app can be used with 3G, 4G and 5G mobile data connections.
Complete your due diligence.
Remember that cheap can sometimes be expensive. You’ll find many Cloud VoIP Services providers on the internet that offer a similar service, so remember to check how many years they have been established, ask if they can provide referrals and check the minimum length of the services agreement.
Ask your vendor where their VoIP systems are hosted and check to ensure that an adequate level of redundancy is in place to mitigate the risk of a service outage. For example, in order to ensure continuity of service, are they replicating their servers at another Data Centre so these servers can take over in the event of an outage? If you’re unsure what to ask, don’t hesitate to contact us for advice!