VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol – is a form of technology that allows for speech communication via the Internet – with or without an actual phone. That is the official Oxford Dictionary definition anyway. In business terms, VoIP is a way to make phone calls via your internet connection. In doing so, you are tapping into an existing resource (internet) for your phone system. And this of course allows you to eliminate your landlines. Which is all well and good, but we know the real question is this: Is VoIP good for my business?
Is VoIP Good For My Business?
So in “what’s in it for me?” or “why should I care?” terms, the biggest benefit of using a VoIP system is that you save money. You save money because you can say goodbye to that dusty old POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) and the sizable bill that comes with it every month for long distance calls and faxes, among other fees. Whatever you pay for your monthly Internet service will now also cover the Internet that VoIP needs. Which brings us to the secondary advantage of using a VoIP system – the opportunity to upgrade the whole thing. Notice how we said “dusty old POTS?” Well chances are you were nodding in agreement while reading that. Because we know that businesses that have not yet upgraded to VoIP generally have traditional phone systems that range from “kinda old” to “ancient”. And hey, we get it! The expense of traditional land lines doesn’t make it all that attractive to spend even more money on better handsets with cool calling features. While there are a few options – including speaking directly through your computer – the most popular VoIP phone service solution for businesses is IP phones. IP phones look identical to normal phones. However, they have an Ethernet connector allowing them to be connected directly to your network. Which again brings us back to VoIP and that question, “Is VoIP good for my business?” When you transition to a VoIP system, you can get all new equipment (IP Phones) – and you also have options there, allowing you to simply lease it as part of your monthly service package, or buy it outright. Right now, it’s very possible that you could get a brand-new set of phones equipped with all the most modern calling features and VoIP service for LESS than what you currently pay. Features like Caller ID, Contact Lists, Call Forwarding, Voicemail, 3-Way Calling, and the ability to set up a conference call with a whole team of people are among the many benefits that come with a VoIP system with IP Phones. And there is yet another advantage in that VoIP also allows you to scale. Adding a line for a new employee or 10 employees is as simple as adding a new handset(s). That is a far better scenario than the time and expense of having new phone lines added to a traditional phone system. Flexibility is another great thing about VoIP. With IP Phones and even computer-to-computer connections, all you need is an Internet connection. This means you can take your IP phone with you and use it on the go, or between the home office and a remote work space. With the POTS system, time truly is money because you are quite literally paying for each minute that you spend talking on the phone and you don’t get any of the scalability or flexibility of VoIP. Compare that to limitless talk time and going with VoIP offers a clear advantage.
Are There Are Drawbacks with VoIP Service?
Truly the biggest pitfall with VoIP is that you must have reliable broadband Internet access with a decent speed in order to make it work. And even then, if your Internet access goes down, so do your phones. So it’s smart to have an emergency plan…and given the savings you enjoy when switching from POTS to VoIP, we typically recommend establishing an inexpensive alternate internet connection dedicated solely to VoIP – that way if your main Internet connection does go down, your VoIP system has a backup. Quality of Service (QOS) – largely related to sound – was a complaint at the onset of VoIP technology, but in most cases these concerns are now unrealized. VoIP does rely on the broadband connection itself, the quality of the hardware, the actual service, and the destination of the call itself. The majority of users are making VoIP calls now without experiencing echos, delays or weird sounds. In part it’s because the high quality of traditional phone service has become the standard so any little hiccups with a VoIP call are more glaring. But generally speaking the advantages of VoIP far outweigh the drawbacks. Unless of course, you don’t like saving money or using a modern system. If you do enjoy saving money, Corsica Tech just happens to be a full-service VoIP provider. We can provide a consultation and then supply the equipment and manage the whole transition process if you decide that a VoIP system with IP Phones is the right solution for you.