A growing number of small businesses are switching from traditional landlines to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems. While it can be an uphill task to overhaul the entire telecommunications system of any small business, it is definitely worth considering in light of the ever-increasing costs of traditional services. In fact, according to In-Stat, almost 79 percent of American businesses use VoIP phones, a 37 percent increase since 2009.
VoIP is a method of making phone calls using the internet as opposed to using typical landlines. VoIP services integrate IP phones, which look pretty much like traditional office phones, except they plug into an internet connection with an Ethernet cable.
The biggest VoIP attraction is low cost. Since it is internet-based, hosted systems usually require little to no hardware investment apart from routers, Ethernet cables and the phones themselves, which are offered at reduced prices. According to estimates, the monthly service fees can run up to 40 percent less than traditional phone lines, and many providers offer monthly services with no long-term contracts.
VoIP is particularly cost-effective, if you have employees working from satellite offices or telecommuters. A telecommuter can take a VoIP phone home and make calls by plugging it into his home internet connection to make and receive calls on the company lines at no additional cost.
Certain VoIP service providers have introduced mobile apps that allow workers to make and receive phone calls on their mobile devices using the company phone numbers. Their privacy is therefore protected since they do not give their personal phone number. In addition, the company owns the line so if an employee leaves, calls are routed to the company rather than the employee’s cell phone.
While the mobility and scalability of VoIP systems are attractive features, there are some drawbacks to consider. For instance, since phones depend on an internet connection, if the connection fails, the phones would be dysfunctional. You can still as a precaution measure automatically drive incoming calls to voicemail or redirect them to the user’s cell phone.
In addition, bandwidth problems could affect the quality of the calls made. If other office activities are consuming the greatest portion of bandwidth, calls will be filled with pauses and clicks, and dropped calls may also occur. There might also be extra charges for connecting to mobile phones or conference calling, and many VoIP providers don’t offer 911 services or charge extra for it.
The increase in VoIP adoption is undeniable, and analysts predict that it will become the predominant business phone service over the next decade.