Most businesses have installed a VoIp for Business system. The digital revolution has enabled most to replace their existing PSTN based systems with VoIP because of the benefits in cost management and customer service.
They might have justifiable concerns over call quality, and that they will need disaster planning measures so they don’t lose their phone service if they lose power. Recent advances in technology and the use of standby power can dispel these concerns. Bottom line, the advantages of VoIP for Business to the business far outweigh any potential drawbacks.
Integrating VoIP for Business in an integrated communications environment including video conferencing, instant messaging and Social Media integration brings the business firmly into the 21st century and at the leading edge of communications.
Here are some advantages and disadvantages:
Reduced Call Costs
This is often the first benefit that brings VoIP into consideration
Calls are routed over the Internet rather than over the local PTT. That means that the call charges levied by the PTT fall away, and the call becomes essentially free, any infrastructure costs absorbed in the overall cost of providing the Internet connection. The cost saving can be significant if there are frequent long-distance and international calls.
Some organisations manage call costs by using a budgetary cost recovery model. Being able to use call logs to see who made a call, to whom, when, for how long and the actual cost allows users and departments to manage phone call budgets easily.
In the past security was based on the physical handset. If someone wanted to make an unauthorised long-distance call, they would need to sneak into the manager’s office and use their handset. In the VoIP world, security is based on the user. A user has a log-on id and pin code that defines their authorisation level. With their credentials, they can use any handset and have the same security profile.
Implementation of SIP interfaces in the VoIP for Business configuration allows a user to replace their desktop VoIP phone extension with a smart device. The user has full access to the corporate VoIP phone system from anywhere in range of the corporate network, usually over WiFi, both centrally and at remote offices. A facility via a secure network for users to connect to the corporate phone system over the Internet allows them to use the corporate phone system from anywhere.
A business VoIP system provides new features and communications applications. As examples:
- Employees become productive immediately they arrive at a remote office and connect to the corporate network. No waiting to be allocated a phone, they use their main office credentials and any handset to continue with their main office phone extension number.
- Hunting and call-forward groups. Employees can see if a colleague is present and if not, pick up their calls. Call-forward groups forward a call automatically after a preset number of rings.
- Help Desk consultants can operate the phone system using a softphone application on the desktop giving a point and click interface.
As we are too well aware, nothing is for free. VoIP systems do have disadvantages:
Setting up a VoIP environment can be a time-consuming and labour-intensive affair:
- A network audit is needed to make sure that all the network equipment supports VoIP and that everywhere a handset is located has network and power connections;
- All network switches are correctly configured;
- The data centre is capable of hosting the VoIP servers and other equipment
Not all devices are capable of operating in a VoIP environment. These are usually fax machines, modems and alarm systems. Sometimes a driver or firmware update will make them digitally capable.
Overall, replacing a PSTN system with VoIP for Business is a no-brainer. The cost, operational and reputational advantages far outweigh any downsides.
VoIP Solutions have been enthusiastically embraced by individuals and businesses. For some, it is no other reason than the substantial cost savings in moving from the tolled PSTN network to toll-free internet connections. There are, of course, other benefits in improvements in operational processes and customer service levels.
One of the strategic moves forced on IT by the events of 2020 has been the move to remote working. Resources have been diverted from planned projects to emergency projects to enable the transition. VoIP Solutions have been a significant growth element, either as new implementations or developing an existing Unified Communications Strategy.
One question that is often asked, particularly in the education environment, is whether VoIP Solutions make a positive contribution. The answer is a resounding YES, and not just for Education. Any campus style, multi-building, or multi-site environment will benefit.Continue reading
The increasing use of VoIP systems and the current anti-Covid measures have brought video-conferencing to everyone’s attention. Most VoIP systems, both local and hosted support it, and there are specialised video-conferencing software applications that deliver sophisticated solutions, particularly for the larger multi-site and multi-country organisations.
However, conferencing does not always need video, and on occasion, video is not possible because of technical limitations. Indeed, phone conferencing solutions were available before video conferencing became common and economically and technically feasible.
Call conferencing is made possible by a bit of technology called a conference bridge, which creates a virtual conference room. Participants then dial into the conference room using their phone, landline or cellular. The call can be either voice-only or voice plus video. Some offer screen sharing and other collaboration options. This approach is adopted by both analogue and VoIP systems.
At the outset, non-VoIP conferences were limited to small numbers of participants, usually three. Most conference systems allowing lots of participants are an add-on to the basic phone system and are usually very expensive.Continue reading
VoIP systems are now common in many large and small businesses. For most, it is a no brainer because of the cost benefits in moving long-distance and international calls to the Internet, but many are now using the other benefits of a VoIP system to improve the quality of service they provide to their customers.
It used to be limited to large businesses only, but Cloud PBX systems now allow small business to take advantage of the features of a VoIP PBX.
One of the main advantages is to enable even the smallest businesses to use their Cloud PBX to establish a call centre to improve customer interaction and to develop new business. In the past, they were seen as a liability, but are now seen as a means of delivering revenue to the business by converting prospective customers to customers and helping customer retention. After all, it has been determined it costs eight times as much to gain a new customer as to retain an existing one.Continue reading
Business and home users have taken to VoIP like ducks to water. To both, it offers cost savings and convenience. To businesses, it provides the opportunity to use advanced communications features over and above the traditional land-line POTS solution. Rolling out toll-free International calling and video-conferencing, providing advanced call management to customer support centres and improving their overall business profile is now achievable and a modest and controllable cost.
Originally needing big iron, small businesses can run a virtual PBX on a dedicated desktop PC and take advantage of those new offerings.
However, as with all digital advances, security comes into play and VoIP Security is no exception.Continue reading
The widespread adoption of Business VoIP is well underway. The benefits, both financially and in improving the quality of customer service make it a no-brainer. Another aspect of the current digital revolution is the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (”AI”) to automate routine manual tasks.
What if the two could be brought together? AI is touted as the way of the future and is finding its way into many business areas, not just IT.
Here are four ways in which Business VoIP and AI could work together to the benefit of the business.Continue reading
VoIP Communication is a common feature in corporate and personal life nowadays. Most large concerns use it as a matter of course as part of their corporate integrated communications platform.
In the past, communications costs were inflated by unauthorised calls and other activities designed to get around telephone security policies. It’s no different today in VoIP Communications. People still try to make unauthorised calls inside the organisation, and people try to hijack the company communications networks to make their calls. Nothing really new, except that it’s now digital.Continue reading
Most, if not all, large businesses use VoIP as their prime communications medium, usually because of the cost and functionality benefits it confers. As the market has developed, the ability to adopt a VoIP solution has extended to smaller businesses. However, as with other IT areas, VoIP has attracted the attention of miscreants, thieves and hackers intent on stealing information and disrupting business operations.
A new discipline, VoIP Security, has grown up to counteract these efforts.
In the larger IT environment, one particular thorn in the flesh has been Denial of Service (“DoS or DDoS”) attacks. These are intended to prevent normal communication with the organisations systems and services by flooding the organisations IT interfaces with large amounts of data, preventing authorised traffic from getting through. In a cloud environment, or for an Internet-based sales or service provider, this could be fatal.Continue reading
VoIP for Business provides a range of benefits, including substantial cost-savings that make it a must-have for most businesses. However, as with most IT advances, VoIP has attracted the dark side of the developers. Hackers and scammers are using VoIP for Business as a way to steal data and execute hacking exploits.
As with other types of malware attacks, business need to be aware of how these exploits are executed and what preventative measures they can take.
The first thing to understand is that most successful hacking attacks are by having users provide sensitive information. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated, and they are increasingly using VoIP to steal personal and company data or just cause mischief.Continue reading
The benefits that VoIP for Business can bring to your business are undeniable. Add to that Cloud VoIP, hosted or on-site and you have a winning combination that can add significantly to your business profile.
Depending on the size of the business, either implementation can be applicable. However, having said that, a cloud-based approach can fit more easily with an existing cloud-based environment, either on‑site or hosted.
Before choosing a particular approach, it is best to consider firstly whether on-site or hosted VoIP is better suited to the business, and secondly, whether a Cloud-based architecture is appropriate.Continue reading