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VoIP Made Easy

What is VoIP?


VoIP, short for Voice over Internet Protocol, sometimes called Voice over Networks (VoN) or Voice over Broadband (VoB) allows the user to make low cost, or free voice calls over the Internet. Because it works using the power of the Internet, callers can reach any telephone in the world, and they can reach you, regardless of equipment used, geographical location or phone network.

This also means that new technical capabilities that were previously out of reach, due to price tag or your in-house tech capabilities, are now readily available. The case for businesses adopting VoIP services is so strong nowadays that over 45% of UK businesses have now introduced them.

 

Why Make The Switch?

TalkTalk for Business surveyed 1,000 UK IT decision-makers to determine their motivations for switching to VoIP. The findings reflected two key themes: the desire for reduced costs and the need for greater functionality.

 

Monumental Savings

VoIP can save your business a substantial amount of money in a number of different ways.

Of the businesses that have already adopted IP Voice systems, a reported 96% made savings compared to their previous traditional voice service, according to web and telecom provider TalkTalk. More notably, the same study found that the majority of UK businesses saved an average of 35% when adopting VoIP, as opposed to traditional ISDN telephony services.

 

Adopting VoIP

 

What do you need to introduce VoIP?

Many associate the benefits of adopting VoIP with a hefty price tag, but this is not always the case. In fact, depending on the size of your business and the type of infrastructure already in place, introducing VoIP could cost your company much less than you think.

A broadband connection is required to run a VoIP system, which requires a larger bandwidth if you have a larger number of employees within the business. You must ensure, regardless of your business size, that your internal network (routers, switches etc.) can handle the strain of introducing VoIP smoothly. The majority of Internet providers suggest using a router with configurable Quality of Service settings and assigning VoIP traffic with high priority in order to maximise usability and, subsequently, productivity.

 

Pay as you go

With VoIP, businesses are only required to pay for the services they use, rather than a monthly or annual fee for line hire. The traditional ISDN line takes far longer to install than VoIP, usually taking 2 or 3 weeks. SIP, Hosted Voice and other types of VoIP however, only take minutes.

Businesses using ISDN lines often order far more lines than necessary to cope with the delay in installation, which results in lines being paid for, but many remaining unused. The same TalkTalk survey mentioned previously found that 48% of UK businesses reported that they had paid for telephone lines that had subsequently only been used for a portion of the year (on average around 6 months). With VoIP however, businesses only pay for the time used, which is far more cost-effective, not to mention far easier to track and manage for management/owners.


Types of VoIP

One of the plus sides to VoIP today is that there are a few different ways in which a business can place its calls. The three types cater to different categories of business, and infrastructures, so when making the decision, make sure you know the ins and outs of all 3 before jumping in.

 

ATA

Standing for Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA), this category of VoIP allows users to connect a standard telephone to your com-puter or your Internet network.

The ATA is a converter which transfers analog into digital by converting the signal from your traditional phone into a digital transmission over the Internet.

This requires the purchase of multiple converters instead of acquiring a modern, digital phone

– and, as a result, is often viewed as a ‘quick fix’ instead of a long-term solution.


IP Phones

IP Phones are specialised phones that look just like normal hand-sets with buttons and a receiver etc with one key difference… In-stead of having the standard is-sue RJ-11 phone connectors,

IP’s have an RJ Ethernet connec-tor, which links up directly to your router. These phones contain all the hardware/software built-in to enable VoIP calling.

IP Phones also allow callers to make VoIP calls anywhere, pro-vided they are in range of a Wi-Fi network.


C2C

Computer-to-computer, or C2C, offers businesses an extremely cost-effective way of making and receiving calls.

In 2018, there are many compa-nies offering free or extremely low-cost software solutions via C2C - you just need a sound card, an Internet connection, micro-phone and speakers.

Arguably the greatest benefit of a C2C VoIP set-up is that, bar your standard monthly Internet service provider (ISP) fee, there is usually no charge for calls, regardless of distance, nation or local charges.

 

The Big Move

In 2017, almost 25% of UK businesses said there would be a high probability they would relocate within the year, and their biggest chal-lenge when the moving date comes around is taking their phone number with them.

With traditional ISDN numbers, which are constrained geographically, only numbers beginning with the likes of 01 and 02 can be auto-matically re-directed, but this comes with a potentially high price tag.

On the contrary, VoIP calls are not tied to a specific geographical location. This can come in particularly handy when a business is moving to, or opening an office in another country altogether, which is often the case with global expansion. This is also the case with outbound VoIP calls, so for example if a business moves from London to Paris, it can still use the London number when calling clients in the London area to keep familiarity and trust with clients.


International Growth

With VoIP, businesses are only required to pay for the services they use, rather than a monthly or annual fee for line hire. The traditional ISDN line takes far longer to install than VoIP, usually taking 2 or 3 weeks. SIP, Hosted Voice and other types of VoIP however, only take minutes.

Businesses using ISDN lines often order far more lines than necessary to cope with the delay in installation, which results in lines being paid for, but many remaining unused. The same TalkTalk survey mentioned previously found that 48% of UK businesses had paid for tele-phone lines that had subsequently only been used for a portion of the year (on average around 6 months). With VoIP however, businesses only pay for the time used, which is far more cost-effective, not to mention far easier to track and manage for management/owners.


The Solution

It is evident that the benefits to VoIP greatly outweigh any downsides.

It gives businesses of all sizes limitless scope for scalability, with the ability to integrate existing hardware and software, which minimises outgoings in a big way. This is a unwavering positive, especially for SMEs whose budgets are limited, or tied up in other areas. VoIP’s ability to emulate a business’ key system also greatly minimises disruption when relocating/expanding, and will work seamlessly with both inbound and outbound calls the world over.

 


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