So you’ve heard a lot of things about VoIP over the years. But what exactly is it?
Well, let’s start with the definition.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or IP telephony is a modern technology that lets you make phone calls over Local Area Networks (LANs) or the internet.
And although VoIP only recently became popular, it’s been around since the early 1970s! Imagine that!
“What’s so good about it?” you may ask. Well, now is the time to get down and dirty with the nitty gritty of it all.
Business VoIP: The Good
Of course, one should always start with the good parts, or the advantages, am I right?
1) Significant Cost Savings
Whether you are a large company or a small company, a rich company or a poor company, cost is always the most important factor in anything. Thus, it should not come as a surprise that businesses will whip out their magnifying glasses, and dig out every cost-saving opportunity they can find!
One way companies can realize significant cost savings is by adopting a VoIP phone system.
Consider this: On average, a landline phone system costs businesses $50 per line each month. This rate comprises local (and sometimes domestic) calls only. VoIP plans, in contrast, are available for less than $20 per line.
Hold up! What did you just say?!
That’s right. Going by these figures means, VoIP can lower your phone bill by more than half of what it is right now!
However, it is important to also note that a shift to VoIP is not a guarantee that your phone expenses will plummet. Businesses differ, and so do their needs.
But what you can be sure about is that switching to VoIP will bring about considerable cost savings.
2) Increased Accessibility
Yet, cost efficiency aside, accessibility is one of the biggest benefits of VoIP for businesses.
Nowadays, businesses are becoming more mobile. I mean, it is very common to see people working from their office, from home, or even at the local coffee shop. As long as they have an Internet connection, they can technically work anywhere and everywhere!
Thus, in an increasingly mobile workforce, remote accessibility allows your business to be flexible. This means that mobile employees can stay productive regardless of their location.
What’s more is that VoIP adapts based on how your employees work. Employees don’t need to be physically present at the office anymore. They can use VoIP and make company calls from their smartphones anywhere they are.
3) Complete Global Portability
A VoIP number, also known as a virtual number, is completely portable. This means you can use the same number wherever you go.
For people who travel a lot, this should be more than welcome news. What’s more fantastic is that in the event your business changes address; you can retain the same VoIP number! Isn’t that great?
4) Higher Scalability
Scalability is VoIP’s fourth advantage that makes it an attractive proposition for growing businesses (but who’s counting right?). However, while this is an often-talked-about aspect of VoIP, what exactly does it mean?
Let’s face it. Given the option, every business owner would want a phone system that grows in step with his or her business.
A VoIP solution does away with having to purchase expensive hardware or dedicated line as you grow. Think of all the possible scenarios here like you’re:
- Prepping for a spike in demand during the holidays, OR
- Opening a new branch office
No matter the scenario, toggle your preferences instantly without having to purchase additional lines or dedicated hardware. And what’s more is that this is also cost-saving for your company!
5) Advanced Features for Small and Large Teams
With advanced features like auto attendant and call transferring, VoIP allows even a one-person operation to project the image of a larger company. On the other hand, it can make a large enterprise feel more approachable. It’s all about making the best use of all the available features.
Let’s say you have a Singapore-based business, but you also serve clients in Hong Kong. By signing up with a VoIP provider, you get a telephone number with the Hong Kong area code, although you’re based in Singapore. This makes customers perceive you as a local, even though you are not.
Similarly, the auto attendant feature can make you look larger than you are.
For example, you could be a sole proprietor but still set up your auto attendant to sound like you are a company with multiple departments.
Deceiving? I think not. It’s called doing business smartly!
6) Clearer Voice Quality
When VoIP service first rolled around, one of its most significant disadvantages was its weak call quality. Calls would drop for no reason, the voice quality itself was bogus, and latency was the order of the day.
Yet today, in the 21st century, as long as you have a fast and stable Internet connection, voice quality should not be an issue.
VoIP calls tend to be crisp and clear, with no latency issues, lag, or call dropouts.
The key to VoIP call quality is a robust connection with good bandwidth. Without this, it can be a nightmare, especially if you often find your office making concurrent calls.
7) Supports Multitasking
Along with traditional phone calls, VoIP allows you to send documents, images, and video all while simultaneously engaging in a conversation.
Productive isn’t it? Therefore, this allows you to seamlessly hold more integrated meetings with clients or staff from all corners of the globe!
8) More Flexibility with Softphones
Despite the name, softphones are not hardware devices. Instead, they are programs installed on a computer or other smart devices like a tablet or smartphone.
The upside to having a softphone for your business communications is manifold:
- Frees up desk space
- Cuts additional equipment costs
- Allows for even greater portability
- Enables the constantly-connected workforce
Yet more than that, softphones allow you to be flexible. They give you access to features that support your remote work style.
8 advantages?! Let’s get install it right away! But hold on, let me tell you about the bad and the ugly first for you to make a balanced decision!
Business VoIP: The Bad and The Ugly
It’s true. Everything that has an advantage has its disadvantages. VoIP telephony is not an exemption from this party rule.
1) Reliable Internet Connection Required
Well, for starters, your VoIP service is only as good as your Internet connection.
If your Internet bandwidth is low, the service is bound to suffer.
To work without any glitches, VoIP needs a fast and reliable connection of 0.1 Mbps per device. The bandwidth your business needs will depend on the number of concurrent calls you plan on making. The best way to determine this is to run a bandwidth test on your current network.
2) Latency and Jitter Might Occur
Aside from speed, there are other connection issues any internet-based technology can face: latency and jitter.
When communicating online, each message (whether it be email, video, or audio) is broken into bits of data called “data packets.” These packets are then reassembled at their intended destination to create the original message. Latency and jitter are when these data packets either hit delays in transmission or get improperly re-assembled.
Why latency and jitter occur
- Poor Internet connection — VoIP requires more bandwidth than regular web surfing. So, if you find your Internet speed wanting, it might be a good time to have an honest conversation with your ISP.
- Inadequate router — For VoIP service to run smoothly, it needs a specialized VoIP router. This is a router configured for packet prioritization so that it affords higher priority to voice traffic over data.
- Insufficient cables — Ethernet cables come in a range of categories or power levels. For VoIP, it’s best to use a Cat-5e Ethernet cable or higher. Lower cables may not be able to operate at high enough speeds.
How to fix latency and jitter issues
- Enable jitter buffering — This is easy to set up and comes pre-enabled with many of Nextiva’s devices.
- Opt for high-speed Internet — Contact your internet provider about available bandwidth options.
- Upgrade ethernet cables — Use a Cat-5e or Cat-6 Ethernet cable on all VoIP devices.
3) No Location Tracking for Emergency Calls
Of course, location tracking might make you feel like a zoo animal, with someone constantly watching you. But what if you are making an emergency call? How will the receiver know where to find you?
Location tracking is the final con of VoIP. Because of VoIP’s portability and accessibility, it’s difficult for third parties to pinpoint where a call originates.
The calls come from an IP address with no GPS data or cell tower information to track. While 99% of callers don’t need this information, this does create an issue for emergency services like 999 or 995.
VoIP Services for Businesses
Businesses tend to migrate from the traditional copper-wire telephone systems to VoIP systems for two particular reasons:
- Bandwidth efficiencies
- Reduced costs
Since VoIP allows both voice and data to run over the same network and because it works with your existing hardware, it’s an attractive alternative for businesses. Even if you were to extend your VoIP lines, it’s still more affordable as compared to Private Branch Exchange (PBX) lines.
Today, VoIP for businesses include the following and is called Unified Communications:
- Phone calls
- Web conferences and more
Thus, VoIP can spur growth in both enterprises and SMBs, without much of a budget to work with.
Convinced and Interested in getting VoIP for your business? Make the Switch to VoIP Today! Click the green button below now!
eVantage Technology is a professional and trusted IT solutions provider, dedicated to providing exceptional service to companies in Singapore and across Asia.