To be competitive, businesses (especially small and medium businesses) must choose their phone provider wisely and keep a careful watch on what they spend on phone services. This makes choosing the right mix of phone lines for your business extremely important. We recommend taking full advantage of VoIP lines for their cost savings, increased flexibility and productivity gains.
VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol chops up audio from our conversations into packets, transports them over the Internet and reassembles them at the other end. VoIP uses a small fraction of the network capacity required by telco land lines, which occupy dedicated network circuits for the duration of a call. And VoIP uses the public Internet instead of its own dedicated private highway (PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network). This makes VoIP a much more economical communication technology compared to traditional land lines.
So here are the top 6 reasons why your business should be taking full advantage of VoIP:
1- Cost Savings
VoIP calls between staff and offices within an organization are always free, regardless of whether you are calling across the hall or across the world. VoIP is also a local and long distance killer as it enables business to drastically cut their phone bills. What small business does not want to save money and reduce their phone bill? While saving money is great, there is more to it than just that.
Business VoIP lines offer the flexibility of decoupling phone numbers from physical lines. Traditionally, this feature was only available to large companies that could afford a T1 PRI service. VoIP takes the idea of flexibility one step further by allowing you to share 1 line among 10 phone numbers for example OR share 10 lines with only 1 phone number (with line rollover an inherent feature of VoIP). It also removes the need for this phone number to be local which means you can have virtual numbers from any place in the world on your VoIP line(s).
Business VoIP lines offer tremendous scalability so you can grow and add lines whenever needed with minimum effort, hassle or cost. Traditionally, adding lines depended on availability of copper pairs, capacity of the telco, scheduling a service technician to visit your site for activation and cabling, not to mention the cost of all this and the capacity of your phone system to support more interfaces.
Business VoIP lines are inherently portable. Since they work over the Internet, they can be used virtually anywhere. When it comes time to move, this is a huge advantage since it requires no calls to the telco, no scheduling of the move, no technician visit, and no cost. You can simply unplug your phone system, move it to your new location and plug it into the network. No muss no fuss!
Business VoIP lines are also inherently mobile. Any mobile device, IP phone or phone system used by a mobile worker, teleworker, home office or branch location can easily use VoIP with virtually no consideration for location. As long as there is a decent Internet connection, you’re good to go.
6- VoIP Pays for Itself
In our experience, substituting or supplementing legacy phone lines with VoIP can save businesses thousands of dollars per year. We have deployed many projects where the cost savings alone pay for the entire cost of implementation many times over, leaving all the other feature and productivity gains as a bonus!
As with all things, there are some limitations. For good call quality over VoIP, you will require adequate Internet capacity and proper network and device configuration. If the network is has issues, call quality may suffer. If the Internet fails, VoIP lines will go down. Also while most VoIP providers offer some form of emergency 911 dialing service, this will never measure up to the reliability and responsiveness of E911 on a landline.
Balancing Pros and Cons of VoIP
Due to its limitations, some business VoIP providers also offer failover and redundancy solutions. We recommend working with an experienced firm that understands the nuances of implementing VoIP in a business environment. Such a provider can help you design and implement a solution that will enable your business to reap the cost and feature benefits of VoIP while managing risk and protecting against disruptions to your business.
Kashan Chaudhry is a senior telecom consultant and partner in VoIP Superstore and RingOffice Business VoIP Services. He is based in Toronto, Ontario and enjoys helping businesses communicate better and save money. If you need help determining which solution would be the best fit for you, contact us for a free consultation.