What is VoIP and should you go there?
VoIP is the acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol. It allows the user to make free or extremely low cost phone calls over the internet. VoIP has proved to be increasingly popular and holds immense value in its feasibility, due to its affordability and the ability to establish effective communication, irrespective of the type of network and equipment the recipient of the phone call uses. (In other words, you can use a VoIP system to call anyone and they will be unaware of any difference from a traditional call.)
Since effective communication is essential for the success of any business, VoIP phone services can prove to be elemental in the growth, progress and efficient managing of a business. However, having a VoIP phone service for your business has its own pros and cons which are well worth investigating prior to making a commitment.
VoIP, combined with a fast enough internet service, can be very beneficial and cost-effective for residential users and small business, in particular. One of the most obvious advantages of having a VoIP service for your business are the low costs associated with this service. The service offers a variety of calling options to suit the users’ convenience, such as a PC-to-PC phone call or the option of a PC-to-phone connection, and you can select the one that fits best with your requirements. Also, since the calls are made over the internet, there is no heavy tax payment involved, as with regular phone calls. VoIP allows you to make calls anywhere in the world at highly competitive prices.
As VoIP service is not location dependent, the cost and connection of the call are not influenced by long distance calls. In fact, distance is no more an influential factor in determining the quality and cost of a VoIP call!
But VoIP has its downsides. For instance, where a regular phone service is functional during a power outage, the same cannot be expected from VoIP. Since it depends on internet connection, in the case of a power outage, a VoIP based service becomes dysfunctional. Furthermore, in the case of emergency calls, it is impossible for the authorities to trace your location on their own when contacted through a VoIP call, so that help may reach you faster.
The dependency of a VoIP service on the internet makes it very reliant on the quality and service of your internet connection. In the case of a poor internet connection, your VoIP service may function erratically, with broken communication, fuzzy lines or intermittent connectivity. Moreover, you might also face some PC limitations when working with VoIP if you are trying to share both PC & phone usage via the same "pot". Another concern that arises around the use of VoIP can be security risks involving phishing attacks, identity and service theft, call tampering, viruses, spamming, malware and denial of service.
Nevertheless, all these hurdles can be overcome, or minimalised, with the right system and protocols in place.
VoIP services, with the ability to allow you to connect and communicate globally at extremely reduced prices, can prove to be an excellent choice for all sizes of businesses. When choosing a particular VoIP supplier, you may consider certain factors to ensure higher feasibility of the service for your business.
Enquire about the initial upfront costs and the compatibility of the service with the equipment you are using. (Telephone headsets, for example, will need to be VoIP compatible and often need a specialist dedicated lead in order to function properly.)
Where you have several employees within your business, try to ensure that your system handles voice traffic separately from data traffic. (Essentially a separate dedicated internet resource for VoIP,) so that fluctuations in internet usage has no impact on calling quality.
Consider also having a dual or back-up system in place so that you minimise the risk of any disruption.
Check out the availability of supplementary faxing services, plus other specific VoIP features the supplier has to offer and whether there is additional cost for availing any of those features. Investigate the quality of the service and rates for international calls. A VoIP system can also usually give you an extremely cost effective way of implementing a call recording system for all your call traffic.
Making a thorough enquiry concerning all these issues and you will be better placed to assess whether VoIP is the way to go for your business.