With today’s technology development and cheap Internet accessibility, traditional phone networks are rapidly being replaced by the newest innovation - VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This is a new type of telephone systems, where calls are placed over the Internet connection, rather than phone lines. More and more businesses are turning to VoIP services for better quality of calls, a more transparent experience and cost saving. VoIP is available as a standalone option or in a hybrid telephone system, compatible with PBX or even some key telephone systems.
People perceived it as an expensive solution, suitable only for large organizations with bigger financial capacity. Currently, business VoIP phones are much more affordable and hosted VoIP is a worthy investment even for small businesses. The phone system already in place in the company can lower VoIP prices even more, making VoIP systems a solution for any business seeking to improve their communication scope.
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Learn more about VoIP Phone:
|VoIP System Concept|
|Components of the VoIP System|
|What Is a VoIP Phone Set?|
|Features of VoIP|
|Before investing in Business VoIP Phones|
|6 Benefits of VoIP|
|Prices of VoIP|
VoIP telephone systems are the most advanced and functional solutions that the market has to offer. The basic difference from other types of systems is that it uses the Internet Protocol to deliver voice and media communications, instead of using phone lines, connected to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). VoIP allows an unlimited capacity of users and is fully scalable for growing businesses.
A simple explanation of how it works is that when an employee places a call, it is transmitted to a broadband Internet connection until it reaches the recipient when it is translated into a conventional format in order to connect to the phone line. VoIP can work regardless if the receiver of the call is using a key system, PBX or VoIP services.
VoIP systems are able to provide high-quality audio and video calls, depending on the strength of the Internet connection, router and VoIP service. The system is offered in two versions, including conventional VoIP and hosted VoIP. The main benefit of the latter is that the company can avoid the costly installation of infrastructure and maintenance since the service provider stores the main system and the payment is by subscription.
While there may be some variations from providers, these are the main components of the VoIP infrastructure:
Internet connection and modem
In order to operate, the VoIP system needs a compatible device, i.e., the VoIP phone set, which is specially designed for this type of system. The VoIP phone is different from other phone sets since it translates the placed call into a digital format, which can be sent over the Internet and translate a traditional phone format for incoming calls. The advantage of this type of phone is that it shares a network with a computer, doesn’t require any additional units and uses only Internet connection. In order to work, the VoIP uses control protocols such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). The conventional VoIP phone set includes:
Cordless or wired phone
Headset with earphones and microphone
Key or touchpad
Possible port for connection to the PSTN
Some models of phones enable the exchange of not only voice data but also multimedia. VoIP phones don’t have to be a big investment, it is also possible for companies to ‘transform’ a traditional phone set into a VoIP one by using an analogue telephone adapter. There are many VoIP providers on the market and the average price of a single phone set is around £60.
As VoIP systems are the most advanced and functional, it is natural that they have a number of features that are fully customizable to a company’s communication needs. Below are many of the available features of VoIP systems, divided into traditional features (that most phone systems have) and advanced ones.
Here are the traditional VoIP phone features:
|Call blocking||Conference call|
|Cal waiting||Speed dial|
|Call hold||Ring back|
|Hold music||Call recording|
Here is the list of advanced VoIP phone features:
|Auto attendant||Some providers offer sub-attendants for each department|
|Find me||Callers can reach recipients in any location, with the presence of Internet connection|
|Ring groups||Useful for departments when organising meetings|
|Advanced call forwarding||Calls can be forwarded to a relevant place if the receiver doesn’t answer their phone or it is bus|
|Advanced voicemail servirce||Voicemail messages can be automatically transcribed and sent over email or SMS|
|Do not disturb||Incoming calls can be blocked and forwarded where it is relevant when the user is busy|
|Call reports||In depth reporting for accounting purposes|
|System security||VoIP systems work over broadband connection and need to be protected with a firewall|
Before investing in office telephone systems, it is important to consider what the current situation in the company is. Depending on the size of the company, the infrastructure already in place, and the level of technological sophistication, implementing business phone systems can either cost next to nothing or have a significant impact on the company’s budget. This is due to the fact, these systems require a broadband connection. This means that the more simultaneous users are connected, the more bandwidth is needed to support it.
Another important issue to consider is whether the Internet network used in the company can handle the load. In this case, providers suggest using a router with the ability to configure the quality of service settings and maximizing quality. We can maximize the quality by assigning VoIP traffic high priority.
Finally, it is important to make sure that the phones you have are able to communicate over VoIP. This is an important step whether you are thinking about buying the apparatus and even more important when implementing the service to your current set-up. It is important to note, that the compatibility with phones and the ability to communicate over VoIP is also an issue with cloud-based hosted business service.
Below, you will find a table comparing business VoIP phones to traditional office phone service:
|Category||VoIP Phone service||Traditional Office Phone Service|
|Pricing||Cost Per User Monthly||Cost Per Line Monthly Plus Hardware|
|Minutes||Unlimited Nationwide Calling (Inbound and Outbound)||Additional Pricing for Long Distance and Extra Features|
|Setup||No Setup Fees/ Plug and Go||Setup Fees/ IT Specialist Required|
|Contract||No Contract Required||Long-term Contract With Early Termination Fees|
Even though the investment for a VoIP system is higher than a traditional one, it pays back in the long term, since broadband telephony eliminates the call cost nationwide and internationally.
A major advantage of the VoIP is that the service can be accessed from any location as long as there is Internet connection present. This is also convenient for customers since they are able to reach an employee even if they are out of the office.
VoIP systems are customizable and can be configured specifically for your business. This way, the business owner pays only for the features he needs and doesn’t end up with a complex system, half of which is useless for his company.
VoIP systems are the innovation top regarding functionalities, which are not only providing convenience but are also interesting and give the customer a better communication experience.
Upgraded communication means
VoIP services give the opportunity for not only voice and audio exchange but also transfer multimedia.
Support of other technology and applications
VoIP systems can connect with analogue devices like fax machines, as well as software applications like email or even text messages for increased convenience of the user.
Naturally, there is no fixed price for a VoIP phone system, since it is fully customisable and offers add-ons which raises the price. VoIP providers make offers to business owners for systems that are specially tailored to their company’s needs. However, the price depends on the type of VoIP system- hosted or in-house.
Usually, a hosted system is the more cost-efficient choice since it avoids all the initial installation and equipment cost, which puts the price in the range of £2000-15,000. With the hosted VoIP, the payment is per end user and can be £12-30 monthly. The advantage is that maintenance is taken care of by the service provider. Since VoIP runs entirely through the Internet, some additional costs may apply for ensuring that the company’s Internet connection will be able to handle the traffic from the VoIP.
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