VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a technology that allows you to send and receive voice calls over an internet connection.
The analogue voice data is converted to digital information which is then broken into smaller chunks know as packets which can be transmitted and received over an internet connection. At the other end of the line, these packets are decrypted and converted back into voice data.
If you have spoken with a relative on Skype, made a voice call over to friend over WhatsApp or been part of a team chat on Discord then you have already used VoIP – even if you were not aware of it at the time.
We’re going to let you know some of the advantages and disadvantages to using VoIP and explain why many businesses are switching their office phone lines entirely over to VoIP.
How does VoIP work for businesses?
In recent years, many businesses have begun using VoIP as a higher quality and lower-cost alternative to traditional analogue phone lines. There are several advantages to using VoIP for a business, including…
- Lower Cost
Calls between VoIP users on the same platform are always free, even when you are calling a colleague in a different country. The rates to call a landline from a VoIP phone vary depending on the VoIP provider but are normally significantly cheaper than your standard phone line’s rates.
- Predictable Costs
As the majority of time, you will be paying per user rather than per minute, the monthly cost for your VoIP systems will be a flat rate. This avoids any unexpected phone bills and keeps the cost of your business communications predictable month to month, making it easier to factor into your budget when planning ahead.
VoIP is highly scalable. A new line can be added just by making a new account. There’s no need to install new physical cabling. Lines can be scaled down as well as up, meaning businesses can increase the number of lines they are paying for during busy periods (e.g. Black Friday) and then decrease their number of lines when they are not needed. A business should only pay for the lines they are regularly using.
- One Number, Multiple Devices
As your VoIP number is assigned to a user account rather than a specific device it allows you to take your office phone line with you no matter where you are. You could have the same VoIP client installed on your desktop at work, on your laptop at home and as an app on your smartphone.
- Perfect For Remote Workers
With the ability to make calls between colleagues free, no matter where in the world they are, remote workers, freelancers or colleagues in a different branch can communicate and collaborate easily.
- Advanced Features
With an analogue phone you have a very limited set of features. VoIP gives you access to a host of enterprise-level features no matter how small your business is. Features like digital receptionists, hunt groups and auto attendants.
As the information received is already in a digital format, it is much easier to share or archive. Voicemails or call recordings can be easily shared via email or stored in cloud storage. Conference calling normally comes at no extra cost and can have far more participants than in the analogue domain, with some platforms allowing for up to 100 participants in a call at one time.
- Not Just Voice Calls
Many VoIP platforms also include HD video calling and text message chat, giving your employees and your staff more options on how to stay in touch. Participants on a call can also share images and files with a single click, making collaboration easier and quicker.
- Easy to Use
Unlike many new technologies, which can be difficult to learn and even harder to master, VoIP is incredibly easy to use, even for the non-technical staff members. If someone has used WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger or any other online messaging service, they will already be familiar with the majority of VoIP’s features.
- HD Call Quality
Provided you have a good internet connection, VoIP will have far superior call quality when compared to the crackle and echo heard on most analogue or mobile phone lines.
- Easy To Fix
As VoIP is software based, all most all technical issues can be fixed remotely and do not require an engineer to be dispatched to your site. This keeps maintenance costs low and gets you back to work quicker.
Can I still keep my existing business phone number?
Normally, yes. Most VoIP providers offer the ability to port your number over from your landline to your VoIP platform so you can still keep a recognisable business number.
Alternatively, through the use of SIP trunk technology, you can join your VoIP platform of choice to the analogue phone network. This allows you to make and receive calls on the analogue network through your VoIP client.
Are there any downsides to VoIP?
VoIP runs over your internet connection. Therefore, it is important to have a reliable, high-speed internet connection so that your call quality remains high and you do not risk missing an important call. If your internet goes down, your VoIP lines will go down as well.
Multiple users making and receiving calls can quickly eat up a lot of bandwidth, if you run a call centre or another business which requires multiple simultaneous calls, you should think about upgrading your internet connection to one with better bandwidth first. Luckily, Carden Telecoms can provide both high-speed internet connections and VoIP services.
How can I start using VoIP in my business?
There are numerous VoIP platforms to choose from. Popular brands include Gamma Horizon, Citrix and Dialpad among others. If you would like help choosing a provider, installing your VoIP systems and managing your VoIP systems on an ongoing basis, Carden Telecom’s VoIP team are here to help.
Each of our clients has a dedicated account manager who will work with you to determine which VoIP platform has the best feature set and price point for your business’s needs.