Spoken communication is still key in any office environment, that’s why the phone is still an essential piece of office equipment. But, like most technology, it’s adapting to the growing demand for functionality. Hosted VOIP solutions are now leveraging the power of modern high-speed internet connections allowing you to make and receive calls without the need for the old traditional on-site phone system and expensive phone lines.
VOIP works by taking ordinary analogue audio signals, just like the ones used in a normal phone, then converting them into digital data which is then transported over the internet. This means that calls can be reliably received and made from anywhere with an internet connection. You can also benefit from the ability to have a desktop phone in the office, and softphones on your PC and mobile. This allows you to keep the same number and extension no matter where you are. Sounds very practical. But what are the pros and cons? And are they right for your business?
1. Works from any location with an internet connection, this also includes a mobile data connection.
Because VOIP Phones convert analogue signals to digital. Voice conversations can be transported over any internet connection from any location. Furthermore, because your extension number can be linked with desk phones, softphones and mobile apps, you will always have the same extension no matter which location you choose to work from.
2. A large selection of phones to choose from. Or not…
There are many different types of VOIP Phone to choose from, brands like Yealink, Cisco and SNOM all have variations in models. So, depending on what the user is you can find a phone to fit that role and budget. Some phones even come with a full-colour touch screens and webcams to enhance your experience when connecting with Skype for Business and other communication platforms.
Or not? Well VOIP isn’t just through phones, you’ve probably already used it hundreds of times already through your favourite applications like skype or facetime, which uses similar technology to transmit your digital voice conversation. Although these wouldn’t be used as much in the corporate world.
Softphones (software phones) is another method of utilising your Hosted VOIP Solution. It allows users to make and receive calls on their computers & mobile devices. A simple install of the software will allow the user to be connected to their office extension even if they are out and about or working from home.
3. VOIP can save you a substantial amount of money.
As VOIP works through the internet it means you’ll no longer have to pay for expensive telephone lines. With a single reliable Internet connection, multiple VOIP phones can successfully connect to a recommended hosted VOIP solution whilst still delivering quality voice and data service. This will cut significant costs from any traditional voice solution.
4. Extra features that a normal phone doesn’t have or you must pay extra for.
One of the main reasons why hosted VOIP solutions are so popular is because of the added features that come with them. A hosted VOIP service comes with features that regular phone providers charge extra for or cannot even supply the features.
– Calls presented to your desk phone, mobile app and softphone.
This means all your devices will ring at the same time. So, you can select which device you answer on. So if you know you have to leave the office you can answer it on your mobile phone for portability.
– Automated attendant.
You can customise your menu options for when someone calls your company. They select the department they want to talk to after they have heard you own personal messages.
– Voice mail to email.
Voice mails will be sent to your email which means you can access your messages on any device through your standard email client.
– Automatic Call Distribution.
Incoming calls can be easily distributed between contact centre staff ensuring efficient and prompt call handling service, depending on certain variables. In a call queue, the automatic call distribution will select a phone for the call to be delivered to dependent on the selected algorithm. This algorithm distinguishes how many calls/time spent in calls that phone has completed. This means that each phone will get the same work load.
In addition, when the number is called the automatic call distribution can filter a call on the options the caller selects from the automated attendant. This means that a call is forwarded to the best person to answer it depending on the options they picked previously.
Essentially Hosted VOIP Phones contain all the great features that expensive PSTN and traditional digital solutions have but for the fraction of the price. All your normal favourite features such as Caller ID’s, conference calling, etc. Are available to even the smallest businesses without a lot of capital. With VOIP anyone, even with a small budget, can start to access fantastic communication features that were once only for big budget companies.
1. Poor quality with a slow internet connection.
Even today not everyone is fortunate enough to have high-speed internet. Depending on your geographical location will determine how fast your network speed is. Because VOIP uses the internet, having a slow network could make the quality of the call suffer. Which wouldn’t allow for smooth flowing conversations, this can be overcome with dedicated broadband for your VOIP service or mobile app if a strong mobile signal is available.
2. VOIP shares bandwidth with computers.
So why is this a con? Well, it can slow the network speed of the phones connected to the same network. If VOIP is being used regularly without a fast internet connection users may find that the quality of calls isn’t of the best standard if a lot of bandwidth is being used by computers in the same office downloading files or streaming content.
However, there is a solution to stop this ‘con’ from occurring. By using a reputable installer, they should use QoS (Quality of service). QoS refers to the prioritisation of traffic to certain parts of a network which means this will ensure the bandwidth isn’t just solely taken all by user’s computers and that VOIP phones are given the correct amount to function at their peak performance.
3. Handsets can be costly.
Although the usage costs of VOIP is extremely cheap, the hardware itself can sometimes be costly. With most VOIP Phones starting out from £60 and a landline phone starting from about £20, VOIP is more of an investment for future savings rather than an instant save.
With hosted VOIP solutions, the pros far outweigh the cons. The only real cons for not using VOIP Phones don’t involve the phones and service themselves but the connectivity they use.
The decision to convert to a far superior phone will be dependent on the network speed you have. If you have a good and reliable internet connection, VOIP would be the perfect solution for your business to stay ahead of your competitors whilst reducing cost.
We all know that technology is advancing at an unbelievable rate and if your broadband isn’t the fastest now it will only get better. In addition, most businesses have the required broadband speeds to use VOIP successfully with all their existing technologies. Investing in a highly-credited solution will allow your company to work collaboratively and connect with clients efficiently.