VOIP - is it right for your business?
There was once a time when every business needed a landline. It was their lifeblood. Thanks to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) that’s all changing. But before you take the leap and drop your landline, it’s important to weigh the benefits – such as mobility, scalability and cost savings – against the drawbacks.
VoIP provides you with the ability to use the internet to make phone calls, rather than using a landline. The technology converts analogue audio signals into digital data for transmission, allowing phone calls to be made using IP phones, telephone adaptors (ATAs) or computer-to-computer connections. The benefits of each are as follows:
- IP phones: most popular solution, look like regular phones, Ethernet connector allows direct network connection.
- ATAs: simple setup, often provided free-of-charge by the VoIP service provider, analogue-to-digital converter allows connection to a regular phone.
- Computer-to-computer connection: computer needs sound card, microphone, speakers and internet connection.
What are the benefits?
Mobility - Hold a conversation from almost anywhere in the world, so long as there is an internet connection. This includes conducting video conferences. It’s never been easier to keep in touch with customers and staff.
Scalability - As your business grows, VoIP grows with you. All you need to do is buy new headsets. With VoIP, the headaches that come with installing new phone lines are a thing of the past.
Cost savings - VoIP providers incur lower operating costs than phone companies. These savings are not only passed on, extra features, that phone companies often charge for, come free of charge. These features include call transfer, caller ID, call waiting and three-way calling. Plus, depending on how the call is placed, long distance calls are cheaper, or sometimes free.
Better sound quality - Despite rumours to the contrary, VoIP sound quality is typically better than the sound quality of regular phones.
What are the drawbacks?
Reliability - VoIP relies on the internet and internet connections can be shaky at times. This can result in jitter, packet loss and latency, which means the quality of the experience is compromised. VoIP also relies on power. No power. No VoIP.
Need to employ experts - Large VoIP systems can be complex and need to be installed, configured and maintained by a trained and qualified VoIP professional. Chances are you won’t already have one of these people on staff so you will need to expand your workforce and carry the associated cost of this.
Security risk - Unfortunately, VoIP has not avoided the attention of hackers and they have the ability to bring down your entire phone system. However, a best practice approach to security will help reduce the risk.
About the Author
Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled Technology Director at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.
Surety IT can help you create the right system to enhance your business, ensuring you know how it is right for you and how to use it. We will tailor a solution to suit your needs with leading systems, local support and more, building your vision for a more flexible and capable business.