What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the method of delivering voice communication data and other pieces of digitized information using your internet connection. As businesses start to adapt to the rapid technological shift of today’s world, it’s becoming more and more popular to leave behind the legacy analog phone system, also known as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), and move toward a cloud-based VoIP phone system.
Although large enterprise companies are adapting quickly with this new communication method, VoIP can bring several benefits to small business, too.
If you’ve been hearing about VoIP, then you know by now that it’s a cost effective solution. What you may not know is that along with savings, you can also benefit from essential call management features like custom prompt menus and auto attendant which improves both internal and external communications. Users also notice improved call quality, which goes a long way with customers.
Are you one of the many people who likes to use their smartphone for business? Luckily, VoIP is also compatible with smartphones, allowing you to take your business communications wherever you go without restricting your professional image.
What is VoIP Phone Service?
Despite this new communication technology slowly taking over, not many people are really sure what VoIP phone service is. Simply put, a VoIP phone service can fall under two categories: on premise and hosted.
On premise gives you more control over your users but the set up and maintenance cost is usually higher and it requires space in-house to store the servers, meaning you will need a knowledgeable IT team to keep up the maintenance.
A hosted VoIP phone service is often recommended for small businesses since it leaves the responsibility of set up and maintenance with your provider and doesn’t require servers to be located in or near your place of business.
What to Look for in VoIP Providers
Business owners often feel overwhelmed when researching VoIP providers. Between pricing and all the available features, it can be hard to know what to look for in potential service providers.
Usually, people interested in VoIP are looking for something within their budget that can meet their unique business communication needs.
When it come to your business, you want to make sure that the provider you choose hosts capabilities like plug and play, which allows for easy set up and virtually zero downtime, as well as call management services, like call forwarding and ring groups, for full control of your call flow. Most phone systems will offer unlimited calling but rates depend on the provider.
With FastPBX Business Phone Service, you’ll enjoy all the services mentioned above, along with 24/7 U.S. based customer support truly unlimited calling to the U.S. and Canada.
International rates are the lowest among competitors, making it a clear choice for anyone looking to upgrade their business communications to a more reliable and cost-effective solution
Getting Started with VoIP
Unlike traditional phone service, getting started with VoIP requires little installation and equipment. Depending on whether you choose to use a premise-based system or hosted, you will need to prepare differently.
Keep in mind that if you’re opting for on premise VoIP service, you would need to clear a space to create a dedicated server closet.
Although VoIP is relatively easy to deploy, you still need to cross your t’s and dot your i’s before you move forward. Here’s a list of a few things to pay attention to and help you stay on track:
- Your local network
- Your internet connection
- A disaster plan
- VoIP service
The History of VoIP
We all know that Alexander Bell Graham invented the telephone in 1876, but the beginning of VoIP can be attributed to Alon Cohen. In 1989, he co-founded VocalTec Inc. and changed the telecom industry with the invention of an audio transceiver that would go on to pioneer the VoIP technology as we know it.
Thanks to Alon Cohen, businesses all over the world can enjoy VoIP phone systems and the innovative features that make VoIP a solid choice for professionals.
Today, there are solutions for most communications issue businesses may be facing. Whether it’s dropped calls, poor call quality, or unreliable communications- VoIP has evolved to solve these issues and more.
What is a VoIP extension?
A traditional phone extension had to be physically attached to the corresponding phone lines and the PBX system. This limits users to one extension per number. So, when you hire a new employee and need to add an extension, you also need to add a new phone number to your system and install additional cables.
Relocating or expansion can also become costly and result in downtime while the system is installed in the new location.
With VoIP, your extensions are not limited by the number of available cables; in fact, you can have virtually unlimited extensions per phone number because they’re operating from a cloud-based solution.
Now, you can have your main office number and reroute the incoming calls to multiple extensions or devices without having to purchase additional phone numbers.
What is a virtual number?
A virtual number frees the phone number from its physical location, as opposed to traditional numbers that are “attached” to one single physical line. Routing a call using a traditional phone number requires added assistance (and expenses) from PBX systems that maintain the necessary applications.
One limitation that results from this is that the phone number can only be routed to the physical location (an office location, for example) that it’s associated with.
A virtual phone number, however, can eliminate the need for these additional applications because of VoIP’s inherent flexibility. Since virtual numbers are not tied to a physical location, you can use the same phone number that people use to reach you at your office to also be reachable on your cell phone while you’re out of the office or traveling.
You can do this without additional applications since VoIP service includes the necessary features to route your calls however you choose.
Disaster Recovery: You can prepare for the worst with insurance, but some things you can’t prevent. If your phones go down because your power goes out, there is no amount of insurance that can revive your communications.
Luckily, there’s call continuity and other disaster preparedness solutions that can be implemented to keep your phone calls coming in even if your office is out of order.
Flexibility: Whether you’re on your desk phone, your mobile phone, a desktop computer, or tablet, you can have the same capabilities wherever you go to communicate with the people who matter most to your business in a way that works for everyone.
Since VoIP communications happen over an internet connection, you can take your communications with you wherever you go and still talk to the other person as if they’re right next to you.
Cut Cost: From implementation to maintenance to expansion; VoIP is an all-around money saving option that can work for any budget. Since you don’t need the clunky, expensive hardware and time-consuming installation to get started, you can minimize downtime and start assisting your customers in just a few minutes.
Small business owners already have a lot on their mind thinking about securing capital for their business, it doesn’t make sense to continue spending any more time or money on a phone system that doesn’t grow with you or help improve your caller’s experience.
Easy Expansion: Cloud-based communications make it easier to expand your business and manage multiple locations. You can direct overflow from one site to another and communicate internally across locations thanks to virtual extensions.
An 800 number can create a unified presence among your many locations and extension numbers can be used to reach specific agents easily. Once you discover the capabilities and functionality of a VoIP phone system, you’ll be wondering how you got along without it for so long.