Should Small Businesses Use VOIP?
As an emerging technology, VOIP has recently gained a lot of ground on regular telephone systems. But what is VOIP exactly, how does it work, and what are the benefits of VOIP for a small business? Read on, as we reveal all.
How Does VOIP Work?
VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. This is a fancy way of saying that calls are sent via the internet, instead of relying on conventional landline/mobile networks. VOIP uses a mix of hardware and software technologies to achieve this. The hardware (physical equipment) can be based on site, but most businesses using VOIP choose cloud-based solutions instead.
The Techie Bit
First up, if you’re only here to get the low-down on how VOIP can benefit your small business, then feel free to skip ahead. Otherwise, read on as we look at some techie facts behind the ways that VOIP works.
When you make a VOIP call, the sound of your voice is converted into digital data. There’s nothing very new there however, since modern ISDN lines used by regular telephone systems already handle digital signals. The difference is in the way the data’s transmitted.
VOIP technology breaks that data up into manageable chunks known as packets. These packets are then sent across the internet to their destination (i.e. the person you’re calling). Once they’ve arrived, the data’s pulled from the packets and reassembled into its complete state. This big block of digital data is then converted back into sound.
VOIP relies on tried-and-tested data-handling techniques (known as protocols). The same protocols are used every time we access the internet, whether we’re looking at a site, downloading a file or streaming a Netflix movie.
How Popular is VOIP?
VOIP is rapidly becoming the go-to solution for businesses, and uptake is increasing for domestic users too. Services like Skype and FaceTime have brought the technology to the masses, and there are signs that older-style telephone systems could be reaching the end of the line.
Last summer, BT announced plans to retire the analogue telephone infrastructure, closing down the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) by 2025. The change is about more than just analogue vs digital though, since BT plans on implementing IP-driven solutions.
VOIP is the future of telephone communication; the only question is when your business will make the switch.
The Benefits for Businesses
There are many benefits of VOIP for small businesses; here are some of the most eye-catching advantages:
Lower Call Costs
VOIP calls are typically significantly cheaper than regular phone calls. Often, there’s no distinction between a local call and an international call. What’s more, the best business VOIP plans come with a chunky allocation of inclusive landline/mobile minutes.
VOIP offers great benefits for businesses where team members are regularly away from the office. With VOIP, it’s possible to make calls from anywhere in the world, just so long as you have an internet connection. Essentially, you can think of VOIP as offering a kind of virtual telephone system – one which you can access wherever, whenever, and use to make calls just as though you were in your office.
Added Call Features
By choosing a good VOIP plan, you can access a host of extra features – some of which aren’t available with a regular phone system. If you’d benefit from the ability to make conference calls, access voicemail messages from your email account and record calls, then VOIP can cover all your needs.
South Yorkshire VOIP Installation
VOIP installation can be fast, simple and affordable. Hosted business telephony works by putting the nuts ‘n’ bolts of the system off site, meaning you don’t need a whole array of hardware cluttering up your office and adding to your maintenance costs. Here at Stephenson’s IT Support Solutions, we perform South Yorkshire VOIP installations, helping local businesses to implement this innovative, in-demand technology.
Contact our experts to ask us a question or schedule your VOIP installation.