by Bill MacLennan, CEO of Your Computer Hero
Last month’s most interesting project was the installation of a VoIP phone system for one of our clients. The business owner was frustrated with the lack of features on his aging traditional phones but reluctant to move to VoIP because he believed the sound quality would not be as good. After we did a thorough evaluation of his existing infrastructure, he decided to go ahead with the install. The process highlighted some interesting perceptions business owners may have about VoIP, so I thought it would be a good topic for this month’s newsletter.
In this article I want to define what VoIP is, explore the cost, dependability and sound quality when compared to traditional phone lines as well discuss why many companies are now switching VoIP phone systems.
What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. The VoIP Phone is essentially a specialized computer that connects through the same lines as your internet. It is an alternative to traditional telephone network that runs over a copper wire infrastructure that has been in place in America since Alexander Graham Bell started building the network in about 1900.
Cost, Dependability and Sound Quality
Initial cost of a VoIP phone system will include the phones and installation-prices vary widely depending on the phone features and the size of the network but when compared to traditional phone systems often can save money, especially if existing phones are in need of an upgrade.
Dependability and sound quality are tied to the bandwidth, firewall configuration and wired data connectivity. When we install these systems, as with any upgrade that will put demand on the existing infrastructure, we do an initial site survey to make sure your network will support the data traffic from the phones and give you the results you are looking for. If upgrades are needed to the infrastructure, that is part of the initial planning.
There are 3 primary reasons why people switch to VoIP phone systems: Features & Function, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.
Features and Function-VoIP phone systems offer a much wider range of features that traditional phones do not. Some features include:
- Find me/follow me routing
- Voice Mail to Email Transcription
- Hold Music of your choosing
- Bandwidth utilization and inbound/outbound call detail reports
- Coaching Tools
- Call Screening
- Do Not Disturb
Business Continuity–Find me/follow me routing allows calls to be forwarded to your office. Additionally, since your phone is essentially a computer, it can be treated like a laptop. Your office phone can be used anywhere you are by taking it with you and plugging it into an Ethernet jack.
Disaster Recovery–with VoIP phone systems, the only equipment that is at the office are the headsets, if those are destroyed, phone services can be accessed via the cloud so there is no need to worry about disaster recovery. If something should happen to your office, employees can continue working from anywhere, numbers can be rerouted to cell phone or another headset and voicemails will still be in the cloud or on email.
Is VoIP right for your business?
If you are thinking about replacing aging phones, are frustrated with your current phone system or believe your business would benefit from the many features of a VoIP system, give our shop a call at 763-229-4467. We would be happy to answer your questions.