The advent of Voice over IP telephony (“VoIP”) has radically changed the face of communications for both personal and business users. It has opened up opportunities for enhanced, and substantially cheaper communications, especially for long-distance and international calls. VoIP for Business has provided communications options that are not possible with a fixed line environment.
However, the prudent personal and business user needs to be vigilant to make the best return on their investment and achieve the lowest possible international call rates.
Here are three simple tips for personal and business users to make sure that they accrue the full benefit of cheaper international communications.
Reduce Personal Costs
Smart device apps like Skype and Whatsapp provide the ability to make essentially free international calls. Clearly, they require a network connected to an internet service provider to operate successfully, but the spread of WiFi networks has made this much easier to manage.
A personal user can connect from a desktop linked to a broadband service provider at home, and increasingly from a smart device attached to a home WiFi network. You will need a high-speed connection for an acceptable video image, especially if you make group calls between several participants.
Out in the wide world, many municipalities and malls are providing publicly accessible WiFi networks and many stores and cafes are also providing their own networks. In theory, you can connect internationally from your smart device while sitting having a cup of coffee in your local mall.
There is no difference between local, regional and international calls, just select the person you want to call and off you go.
If you cannot find a WiFi service, or your smart device doesn’t support WiFi for some reason, there is a second option. International call service providers will connect you internationally for the cost of a local call.
Dial the service provider at local rates, enter the international number you want to call, they connect you using VoIP and you are talking. Some even offer a video call service. However, local telcos and cell service providers lose revenue when you use this service and some actively try to prevent you making international calls in this way by cutting off the service provider. Enlightened ones have adopted a revenue sharing business model, but many service providers are short-lived and change their access numbers frequently. You will need to search for service providers locally.
VoIP can also be used to call home from overseas, but your options are much more limited, perhaps to Skype from an Internet Café. If you have a local cell service number, you can use an international call service. Be aware the costs of using data over your home cell provider roaming service, even for Skype or Whatsapp from your smart device are very high and should be avoided. Many users have been shocked by the size of their data bill when they come home.
The increasing use of VoIP based call services is worrying cell service providers, since again in theory, if all the people you want to talk to are registered with Skype or Whatsapp and have decent access to WiFi, you don’t need a cellular service at all. With Skype, you can pay a relatively modest fee and make calls to landlines.
Reduce Business Costs – Improve Outbound Call Security
Most VoIP for Business systems provide the capability of assigning security levels to users and user groups. The business can assign logon PIN numbers to users and assign users to user groups to ensure that they are restricted to the type of calls they are likely to need to make during the working day. Call logs and registers provide management information to make sure that call services are not being abused, for example by borrowing the managers phone to make an international call.
Unauthorised international calls can be largely eliminated by using user PIN numbers and group security levels.
Reduce Business Costs – Use Video Conferencing
Companies with an international presence pay a lot for international communications, particularly video-conferences. The costs of a video-conference are usually less than bringing all the participants together, but they can be reduced further by using the power of VoIP, coupled with video to provide a video-conferencing environment.
As an example, Skype for Business allows a meeting organiser to set up a video-conference, and email a conference id to each participant. They then log-in using a standard browser interface and the conference id. The meeting them proceeds using VoIP.
More sophisticated video-conferencing environments, for example Polycom, use a similar principle to arrange conferences. The difference is that they offer a wider range of ancillary facilities like desktop sharing, file transfer and less common video options.
Overall, VoIP will provide substantial savings in international calls. The prudent business needs to make sure that they are achieving the full benefit of VoIP.
One of the more commonly encountered results of the digital convergence between voice and data is the IP PBX System. There are obviously costs and benefits to moving to IP telephony, and a business needs to consider if it should move to a IP PBX System and if it chooses to, when is the best time.
Typically, an IP telephony installation consists of a central PBX function and VoIP phones on user desks. Rather than dedicated cables needed for traditional non-IP systems, conversations are digitised and carried over the cabling that supports the office network. For the very small business there is the option of a Hosted PBX system, where the IP PBX is hosted at an external service provider.Continue reading
A digital revolution in communications has been ushered in by the convergence of telephony with television, video and IT networking. This revolution is driven by a digital voice distribution protocol Voice over IP, (“VoIP”).
VoIP telephony in both home and business is one of the fastest growing segments of the VoIP market. It provides advantages in cost, in mobility and increased functionality with a range of compatible devices.Continue reading
We have all been frustrated at poor voice call quality on phone services. It can be noise or chopping on the line or sounding like you have breathed helium. VoIP is no different. The typical business will refer problems to the business VoIP phone service supplier providing the VoIP support contract. It causes further frustration and delays if the fault is not with the VoIP for business system and the business needs to make a second support call to another service provider.
In the event of failure or call poor quality there are a few steps that the business can take prior to making the call to make sure that the problem does not arise elsewhere and the support call can be correctly placed.
Poor call quality can arise in at least three areas: the business network itself; the VoIP system – centrally and at the desktop VoIP phone for business; and the Internet or PSTN service provider.Continue reading
The convergence of telephony with television, video and IT networking has enabled a digital revolution in communications. At the core of this revolution is Voice over IP, (“VoIP”), a digital voice distribution protocol. All sizes of business are replacing their existing telephone systems with VoIP systems from a specialised VoIP provider operating over the company network.
Most businesses will need the assistance of a VoIP provider to help them navigate through the various options available in tariff plan, equipment, and feature selection. There are several websites that compare and contrast the best UK VoIP providers. It will also be useful to ask other business owners their experiences.
The first introduction of a VoIP phone system to an organisation is a lot more than just changing the handset on the desk. The features and functions offered by a VoIP system to the end user are a world apart from those of the traditional telephone system.Continue reading
The first introduction of a VoIP phone system to an organisation is a lot more than just changing the handset on the desk. The features and functions offered by a VoIP system to the end user are the world apart from those of the traditional telephone system.
As with all changes taking users from their current comfort zones to somewhere new, training and handholding are needed. It is a serious error to consider the new system as “just a phone”. The surface similarity with cellular and smartphones tend to give the impression that you just need to pick it up and use it. That’s dead wrong. In addition, in most implementation projects when financial pressures hit, training is the first area to be trimmed. “After all it’s only a phone”.Continue reading
There are numerous benefits to opting for a business VoIP phone system for your company. However, there are a lot of different VoIP UK systems to choose from and not all of them are a perfect fit. Sure the principle is the same, but there are things you need to take into consideration before you make a decision.
In the following article we will examine the possible solutions for VoIP phone systems, and hopefully, help you determine which one will be the best for your line of work. Furthermore, we will go over some questions that you need to ask yourself, in order to make the best decision when choosing a VoIP phone system for your business needs.Continue reading
When a company upgrades its network system, it is highly likely that it will add a Voice over IP (“VoIP) capability to the corporate network. The advantages of so-doing are first and foremost reduced costs, and second, access to a range of applications and functions that are not available on a traditional phone system. WhatsApp and Skype allow voice and video calls to be made at significantly reduced cost. In some cases, video conferencing systems use VoIP techniques.
However, slack VoIP security can lead to an attack by thieves and hackers. Users might generate substantial bills through service abuse, and hackers might use lax security to gain access to the corporate network via the VoIP system. There have also been instances of Identity Fraud perpetrated over a VoIP network.Continue reading
If you have decided that a VoIP phone service is just what you need for extending your business, the next step is to choose the right Business VoIP services vendor. Ensure you know exactly what you require before making a wise selection.
When you choose a VoIP service, it is crucial to remember that all telephone calls are transmitted over the internet connection. This will greatly depend on the kind of connection you have for judging the upload capacity. If you have a large amount of data, you may not have enough bandwidth to utilise VoIP successfully. This will result in an unreliable VoIP connection, causing data transmission problems over the internet.Continue reading
Your phone system is one of the things in your business that you rarely give much attention to, as long as it is working normally. However, there comes a time when you need to change your phone system from the traditional system to VoIP.
The problem is that you may need a little bit of cajoling for you to realise that you need to make this bold move. However, certain signs should help you make the decision to move to VoIP. In any case, you should watch out for these signals and and change your phone system whenever you spot them.Continue reading