Let’s start off with the question, what is VOIP? VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. This basically means that your phone system is running over technologies that are used for regular Internet and network use. Voice is transferred as data, over switches and routers, and is given special priority so that during data transfer through the network equipment, voice data is transferred ahead of the regular network data. This priority sequencing is designed to prevent delays in hearing the other person, or for them to hear you.
VOIP has come a long way and the benefits are numerous, from cost savings to enhanced features, VOIP can definitely bolster your business communication. Savings on long distance calling and on implementing a PBX (private branch exchange) system customized for your business, are just a couple of the benefits of VOIP. Furthermore, there is ease in reconfiguring your company’s phone system by simply using a computer without having the need to call a technician to do it for you. New employees can easily be added without the need of buying more expensive equipment. Also, workers can call using their laptops from airports, or any place that provides high-speed Internet access, as if they are making a call from their desk. This is called “softphoning” – using a computer to make calls. VOIP functions much like a Cloud system. Elasticity and scalability are aspects similar to the Cloud. In fact, many people refer to VOIP as a cloud service.
Features include all the features of a regular PBX system, such as extension numbers, call forwarding, voicemail, etc. Connecting multiple offices in different parts of the world becomes easier through a seamless connection of an auto-attendant or a single receptionist. For example, say one has multiple offices around the world – such as in England, America, Canada, and the Middle East – well, you can save money on expensive international charges as the VOIP phone system is integrated throughout the world.
There are two types of VOIP systems: 1) premise based and 2) outsourced. Outsourced VOIP is most affordable for small businesses, while medium-sized businesses can see which one is less expensive for them. What’s the difference? Premise-based VOIP is basically having your organization responsible for its own maintenance and delivery of its VOIP system; similar to having the PBX system on premises, whereas outsourced VOIP gives the responsibility to a hosted company that maintains the VOIP system over a shared infrastructure. Typically, the outsourced VOIP option has a flat fee that includes on-premises support.
VOIP did have some hiccups in the past where voice connection was lagging and there were major delays in sending and receiving voice data, but the technology has drastically improved and is the prominent choice for many medium to large-scale corporations.