VoIP: What Is It and Do You Need It?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), in its simplest definition, is a way to make phone calls using your Internet connection. Instead of a dedicated landline, the hardware you use to access the internet is used to process your phone calls.
At first glance, it just sounds like a new way to do something we’ve been doing for generations. But, as you’ll, see, there’s a lot more to it than that. VoIP encompasses much more than phone calls, and its capabilities can have a real impact on how your business operates.
VoIP Isn’t What You Remember
If your existing knowledge of VoIP is several years old, perhaps around the time the technology was becoming a mainstream business option, you might have an outdated view of how it works. If you’re thinking about a costly, unreliable system with garbled voices and complicated requirements, it’s time for an introduction to modern VoIP.
Today’s VoIP features superior call quality (high-definition sound with noise-canceling phones), enhanced encryption and security features, and lower local and international rates. You can enhance your calling system, transform how your business operates, and save money at the same time.
How Does It Work?
A traditional phone system uses analog telephone lines to transmit a person’s voice as electric signals. The signals travel over a network of lines, eventually reaching the other person.
With VoIP, communication is converted into digital data packets using your existing internet hardware, like a modem and router. If you have access to high-speed Internet connection, you have an opportunity to use VoIP. The existing tools that provide your business fast and reliable Internet can be utilized to provide superior calling opportunities many businesses haven’t even considered.
But How Does It Really Work?
The process of bringing such a complex system to life is actually pretty simple. The phone connects to your Local Area Network. The VoIP-enable phone instructs the service to call the party you want and transmits data packets from the phone across the network. The phone also receives and translates data packets into the sound you hear. No telephone company, no telephone wires, no analog system. It’s all done with your Internet hardware, the proper phone, and a strong connection.
What Are the Advantages?
So what’s the big deal? A lot, actually. By converting phone calls into data packets using internet technology, new tools are immediately available that business easier, and some simply aren’t possible over telephone lines. Your business can have an automated voice greeting, and route calls to the proper department. You can record calls. You can collect and analyze your call data. You can take voicemail messages and send them to your email inbox, or transcribe them to text. You can hold video conferences, send and receive faxes without a fax machine, and have custom music or other audio files that play while callers are on hold.
These features aren’t embedded in the phones you use, though they’re designed to take advantage of them. Many enhanced tools take place in the cloud and are accessible in apps you can access with almost any device you use in your daily work experience. This accessibility allows team members to interact with each other, with vendors, or with customers in new, efficient ways. Work gets done faster, data is aggregated and analyzed, and the user experience is as seamless for your customers as it is for you. It’s a modern approach to a generations-old form of communication. And with special call encryption built-in, the entire experience is protected for all parties involved.
So What’s The Catch?
For a modern, web-friendly business, there really isn’t a catch; just a few things to remember. You’ll need a reliable high-speed Internet connection and you’ll need different IP-enabled phones, or adapters to make your existing phones work. Emergency services will need more information from you since they won’t know exactly where your call is originating. You’ll also need to be wary of power outages because if you lose your internet, your phone system is in jeopardy. The solution might require additional planning or investment, like forwarding the system to a cell phone or directly to voicemail, or adding a battery backup system for your business to ensure everything functions until power is restored.
But aside from adjusting to the new conditions and opportunities, VoIP offers plenty of upside without much downside. It can modernize your communications, enhance your productivity, and save you money at the same time.
The one thing VoIP can’t do for you is to choose which related products and services will make an impact on your company, and which ones aren’t necessary at this time. And if you’re new to VoIP, the options can be overwhelming. While having choices is essential to productivity, it doesn’t make sense to learn and utilize functions that you don’t need right now. But picking the right tools as you begin a migration to VoIP would be a challenge without the necessary experience.
That experience is Imperium Data Networks’ specialty. We can take you from exploring the VoIP opportunities to getting your business fully integrated with the necessary technology. Use our Contact page to find out how VoIP can help your business.