As the business world evolves, the need for broadening our communication methods increases. Regular phones come with quite a few limitations, especially in a remote environment where employees can work from any part of the globe. That’s where Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) comes in. But what is VoIP, and how does it make communication more effective? Keep reading to find out.
What Is VoIP and How Does It Work?
VoIP is a technology that allows you to make calls from phones, computers, tablets, and various other devices. It uses codecs to change the voice signal from your phone into a digital signal that gets transferred over the internet instead of the traditional network.
The main advantage of VoIP is that it provides so much more than basic voice communication. It consolidates different communication technologies into one whole to text, audio, or video-based communication.
Since this happens over the web, it’s a highly cost-efficient solution for businesses. VoIP can save a business quite a bit of money on both local and long-distance calls.
Onboarding new members can be cheaper as well. Instead of buying additional hardware, you can just add the new team member to your VoIP account.
Better yet, it comes with a myriad of features that can make your operations more efficient. These include call routing, auto-attendant, and multiple phone numbers.
What Equipment Do You Need?
VoIP equipment includes a communication device and high-speed internet. These are the only necessary components. Everything else is optional, so you can tailor the equipment to your liking. This versatility is among the main reasons why businesses choose VoIP. You can start with only minimal equipment and get more as your business grows.
So what kind of equipment should you get? Here are some common options:
- Analog Telephone Adapter – ATA allows you to connect your existing phone to VoIP. The adapter assigns the phone an IP address, giving it all of VoIP’s available features.
- Softphone – This is a special type of software you can install on your computer to enable VoIP. It has a user interface resembling an actual phone with the caller ID and touchpad.
- IP phone – An IP phone looks like a regular phone, except it has a different connector. Instead of connecting it to a regular telephone line, you’ll connect an IP phone to your router’s ethernet port.
Of course, you can also use your existing smartphone by simply downloading the provider’s app. This way, you can enjoy the many advantages of the service on the go.
The equipment you’ll go with depends entirely on your needs. There are no rules here, so choose the equipment that suits your business specifics and processes.
What to Look For in VoIP
While VoIP offers many benefits, not all providers support the features you might need. So how do you choose the best one?
Here are some of the main factors you should consider:
Collaboration features – The main point of VoIP is to bring your team together and keep them connected. A solid VoIP option should have features like video conferencing and online meetings. Moreover, some solutions can offer extra features like real-time annotations while video conferencing.
Third-party integrations – VoIP should complement your existing processes and make them more efficient. This can only happen if it can integrate seamlessly with the services you already use. For instance, if you use Salesforce and Dropbox, your VoIP provider should be able to support them.
Security – With any cloud-based solution, security is paramount. Make sure your VoIP provider understands their responsibilities towards your data and knows how to protect it. For safe communications, look for VoIP services with strong authentication methods and end-to-end encryption.
Costs – While VoIP is more cost effective than traditional phones, some services might still come at an unnecessarily high price. Some providers may include features you don’t need, so you’ll end up overpaying. Always compare the VoIP’s features to the costs to see if you’re getting your money’s worth.
Look for UCaaS – Unified Communication as a Service is a model that every good VoIP option should support. The whole point of VoIP is to integrate all your communication methods into a single platform. Still, not every provider offers this, so look at your options closely to ensure that you reap all of VoIP’s benefits.
Hosted vs. Cloud VoIP
When adopting VoIP, you have two options. You can choose hosted VoIP, which means that you manage the service either on or off-premises. Cloud VoIP, on the other hand, is provided and managed by a service provider.
Even though there are benefits to owning VoIP, most businesses choose to go with the cloud option. It’s always best to have a specialist managing the service and providing you with all the support that you need.
Besides, cloud VoIP is usually cheaper than hosted solutions. If you own a small business that doesn’t need the added expense of VoIP hosting, a cloud solution is a better option.
Is VoIP for You?
These days, very few businesses rely solely on traditional phones. The issue is that they must manage all sorts of services and accounts to move past them. VoIP can be a one-stop shop for your business’s communication needs. It’s convenient, cost-effective, and scalable enough to support the evolution of your business.
If you’d like to learn more about VoIP and see how the service works in New York, Totowa, Pennsauken, Edison, and Ft. Washington, reach out to the team at Docutrend. Our experts will offer all the guidance you need and suggest the best solution for your business.