More and more businesses that already have a reliable internet set up are turning to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) cloud phone system for their phone services, with the enhanced connectivity and lower rates offering attractive benefits.
VoIP can replace, or be used alongside more traditional telephony systems and is normally delivered through your internet connection, alongside any broadband or other internet services you are already signed up to.
The technology is at an exciting stage, still in a phase of rapid development, with additional functionality being introduced to help keep businesses connected and making calls all over the world.
VoIP phone system: how does it work?
VoIP phone systems turn analogue phone signals into digital signals that are sent over the internet in a similar way to digital data. Sometimes, the signals are sent via the phone itself if it is set up to perform this function.
Alternatively, users can install an ATA (Analogue Terminal Adapter) or IP phone that connects via an Ethernet router and the internet.
Other telephony applications, including outbound call centres and inbound IVR functions can also be run using VoIP, making it a highly flexible and versatile system.
Benefits of a cloud-based VoIP system
So, why switch to making calls using VoIP? The two main advantages are around lower costs and increased functionality. The system generally costs less to run than the equivalent services from a standard telephone provider. This is partly due to using one, single network to transmit both voice and data.
Users can also often commandeer any spare network capacity that they are currently not using to install and run VoIP at no extra cost. It can also help cut down bills for international calls and pave the way for greater reliance on services such as Skype to conduct conference calls and remote meetings.
What’s more, VoIP enables additional functions, such as automatic rerouting of all incoming phone calls to your VoIP for access wherever you can plug it into the network.
This is a huge advantage for home workers and people who operate remotely, such as sales reps. This also applies to call centre workers; providing they have decent internet connectivity, they can work from anywhere in the world.
Disadvantages of VoIP
As with any system, telephony or otherwise, there are some disadvantages to using VoIP that need to be considered and mitigated against. The system is dependent on power being available to the phone system as it runs on the same network.
There must be a stable power source for VoIP – it is wise to maintain a second phone system for cases of power outage, such as a separate mobile phone, especially to enable you to still reach emergency services, should they be required.
VoIP operators via an IP address, rather than geographical location, making it harder for emergency operators to track the call if no other information is forthcoming.
Secondly, all sorts of other systems may already be hosted by and connected to your phone network, including security surveillance systems, digital TV subscriptions and the like. Currently, it is not possible to integrate these with VoIP, although work is ongoing in this area.
VoIP phone system for small business UK
You may be asking, is VoIP suitable for my business? Small and medium-sized businesses can find many benefits from switching to VoIP. Its functionality makes it ideal to connect businesses with fewer than 50 employees, plus it frees people up to work wherever is most convenient, cutting down on travel expenses, wasted time commuting and rents for large offices.
Sound quality is now excellent and connectivity straightforward. The reliable connection and relatively low installation costs associated with VoIP also make it a good option for smaller enterprises with more stretched resources and capacity for downtime while the system is put in place.
Normally, a business will only need an existing broadband connection to get going with it. A cloud-based VoIP system also does away with the need to purchase equipment and employ specialist, on-site IT support.
However, businesses of all sizes are advised to research the market thoroughly to make sure they are choosing the right VoIP providers, systems and functionality for their individual needs.
How much does a VoIP phone system cost?
As with most business support and communications systems, the cost varies hugely and is dependent on the functionality you choose and the level of service you sign up for. It is certainly worth shopping around to find the best system and deal you can, but check that your chosen option covers all the services you need it to.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is a VoIP phone call?
A VoIP phone call works in the same way as a ‘traditional’ telephony system, in that you can speak directly to the person you are connected to, via voice signals that travel down the line. VoIP performs the same function; however, it uses the broadband to transmit the signals.
Why do businesses use VoIP?
Businesses of all sizes are switching to VoIP cloud based systems for its lower installation and operational costs, as well as enhanced functionality and connectivity via the internet.
People can connect to the network wherever they are, making remote and home-based working easier and the need to rent large, expensive office space less urgent.
Can I use my existing phone number if I switch to VoIP?
Continuity of phone numbers can be very important, especially for businesses that have built up a strong customer base and rely on repeat business to survive. You can bring your existing landline or mobile numbers across with you switch to VoIP in most cases, even when switching between telephony service suppliers. However, you may have to pay a fee in some cases and some features may be restricted.
Get affordable VoIP Today
If your business would benefit from moving to a VoIP cloud phone system, or adding VoIP functionality to an existing portfolio of telephony services, please contact an expert at Cloud 4 Sure to talk through your options today.