Benefits of a VoIP Phone System

VoIP, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol, is increasingly popular with businesses spread across a multitude of industries. Placing and receiving telephone calls via the internet is often preferable to using traditional phone networks. The subsequent text will outline some of the essential benefits of a VoIP system and why it might be the optimum choice for your business or organization.

VoIP Systems Are Cost-Effective

Transitioning to a VoIP system is a financially savvy choice for many companies. Such systems have excellent potential to reduce the amount of money a business spends on telephone service. One reason that VoIP is cheaper is because it utilizes one physical network whereas traditional phone lines require multiple networks, particularly when calls are routed across networks overseas. The network administrator is encumbered with fewer maintenance responsibilities so the cost-savings can be passed on to the consumer.

No Boundaries

Another benefit associated with VoIP systems is that there is no longer a boundary as outlined by a geographical limit, for instance. This allows someone living abroad to subscribe to a U.S. phone number and pay a domestic rate for their U.S. based calls. This is immensely cost effective for companies that outsource their customer service departments to locations overseas.

Greater Access

VoIP systems allow greater access for your business employees. A decade ago, a company typically only had so many phone lines available for use. Today, professionals can access the VoIP system to talk when they need to without the limitations of traditional phone systems.

It’s Not Just for Voice

Today’s business professionals conduct business in a multitude of ways–not simply over the phone. VoIP systems nurture the multiple ways people communicate today. Such systems allow business employees to transmit videos, images, and text as well as voice communications. This type of platform is becoming an integral part of doing business or communicating with employees based all over the country as well as the world. Additionally, a user on a VoIP system can actually send files while talking at the same time. This allows for more effective means of communication between staff or staff members and clients.

Tele-Work Options

Business executives today know that work doesn’t merely happen at the office. People work from home, on the train, on business trips, and even while on vacation (sad but true!). Using a smart phone allows employees to connect to the office network and perform work via the system wherever and whenever they need to. They can easily connect with other staff members and share both files and communications throughout the day. This level of communication is transforming the way people work and where work can be accomplished.

If your business is considering a VoIP system, these are just a few reasons that might effectively nudge you in the right direction! It’s true that if all change was good, people might not dread it so much; however, this is one change that your employees are likely to agree upon and its benefits will be felt right away.

Change Management for You VoIP Telephone System!

For the end user company, the single most challenging aspect of managing a VoIP deployment is the issue of “change management” and technical support. The average VoIP deployment today is going to challenge both the system administrator and the technical service and support team. Today, not only is the technology moving faster than your staff can digest, it touches so many other aspects of your enterprise that is difficult to employ one person that can do it all. From computer networking, to virtualization, Microsoft server and desktop software, data center practices, to disaster and business continuity strategies, technical support has become a challenge for every company big or small.

Remember shopping for that new VoIP system? Did you seek out a partner that had the required technical depth, or where you shopping for the low cost equipment provider? It is post sale support where you find out just how much that system really costs! Consider your next ShoreTel upgrade from Version X to Version Y. Do you have a change management process in place? Does your partner? Change and Configuration Management are as essential to the maintenance and ongoing technical support of your VoIP solution as project management was in the initial installation. What tools are in place to manage configuration interdependencies in your voip deployment, as it can get very complex very quickly.

For example, what version of Microsoft Server are you running? Is it 32 or 64 Bit? Is it running on hardware with sufficient memory, NIC cards, processors and storage capacity? Has it been virtualized? What version of hypervisor are you running and will your new ShoreTel version require you to upgrade your virtual operating system in addition to your ShoreTel server software? How many servers are there to upgrade besides the HQ server and any DVM’s? Are they all the same OS version or are some 32 bit and other 64? What about the application servers, like the recording server? What happens when the recording server cant be upgraded to the required new OS bit size to support the new ShoreTel version? How about that VPN server?

We haven’t even discussed desktop systems yet? Vista, XP, Windows 7/8? Do we have 32 bit or 64 bit or a combination? Any Mac computers in the mix? Browser compatibility alone will drive a grown man to drink! Microsoft Office 2003, 2010, 2012? Outlook? Exchange Integration? Active Directory? Sales Force Connectors? Will the new version obsolete any hardware? Require new hardware? Do we have custom integrations to worry about? Is TAPI a requirement for any of these applications? How will the latest version of SIP impact the deployment? Apple, Android, Wireless, Mobility?

The list of interdependencies is exhaustive and planning an upgrade requires careful consideration and planning. Not only do you need a clear statement of work, a detailed task list, but also a “fall back” plan. Is the maintenance window wide enough? Has the User Group been informed? Configuration Management is a precursor to Change Management and both disciplines requires a great deal of planning and tracking.

Know Your VoIP Phone System With This Helpful Glossary

Have you ever been part of a conversation with a group of people who seemed to be speaking their own language? Perhaps it made you feel left out and it was difficult to connect with the group on a personal level because of what seemed like a language barrier. That’s how jargon can make “average” people feel. All the VoIP phone system acronyms and industry terms only create confusion among certain individuals and makes them feel like outsiders, increasing the communication gap between a service provider and its consumer.

This is why we are providing you with a glossary of the essential terms used by VoIP providers so you can meet VoIP agents and telecom experts at least half way. Before we get in it, however, lets clarify what the difference is between VoIP, IP, and Cloud telephony.

Simply put: there really isn’t much difference. VoIP, IP, and Cloud (or cloud-based) are essentially synonymous. All of these use an IP network which digitizes communication data, like voice, creating packets of data and sends these packets of data between different endpoints. Using this method has been known to be more cost effective since data packets can be transmitted on shared lines without the PTSN tolls (keep reading to learn what PTSN is).

This glossary was made with the average business owner in mind. Since the way businesses communicate is changing to match the technological advances of today, we want to help you stay up to date on the terminology you might hear over the phone when speaking to VoIP service providers.

Here are some other helpful words to help you better understand the agents of your current cloud business phone service provider

VoIP Glossary

ATA: Analog Telephone Adapter. This allows analog users to connect their traditional phones and fax machines to a VoIP network. Turn your fax machine into a virtual fax machine with an SPA112 ATA from Cisco.

BYOD: Bring Your Own Device. Many VoIP phone system providers make it easy to switch providers by allowing users to use their existing communication hardware. If you already have IP hardware, you can experience even more savings.

DID: Direct Inward Dialing. DIDs are phone numbers where you can allocate multiple phone numbers associated with one or more phone lines so that each employee can have their own number without requiring a separate phone line. DIDs eliminate additional costs and the occurrence of busy signals.

IP Phone (a.k.a. VoIP Phone): Digital telephone that uses an internet connection to transmit calls. IP phones are not necessarily a requirement to use your VoIP phone system since many offer plans that can be used with your mobile phone.

IVR: Interactive Voice Response. An IVR allows a computer to interact with callers and identify where to route the callers based on a selection callers make in the prompt menu. For example, if your VoIP system has a custom greeting that lets callers choose between speaking to sales, marketing, or billing, the caller will be routed to a specific endpoint ((individual or department) based on their selection.

Jitter: variations in packet arrival time, meaning the call quality sounds choppy.

Packet Loss: if your voice is transmitted as a “data packet,” then packet loss just means that that piece of data was unable to reach the desired endpoint. This typically happens because of network congestion and causes jitter.

PoE: Power over Ethernet. PoE means that data connection and electrical power are provided by a single cable to deliver functionality to devices, including IP phones. With PoE phones, the device can be connected to a desktop and wall jack to create a complete path for voice and data media.

LNP: Local Number Portability. If you are going to be porting your number from one provider to another, you will need to fill out an LNP form in order to reassign your number.

PBX: Private Branch Exchange.

PSTN: Public Switched Telephone Network.

Softphone: software that gives you the ability to make telephone calls using your computer via an internet connection. This can also be an app on your mobile phone that allows you to use your mobile as a business communication device.

Virtual Number: Another way of saying DID, a virtual number is not associated with a telephone line and is usually used to forward incoming calls to pre-set telephone numbers. Virtual numbers can be used for virtual service, marketing campaigns, and other business purposes.

VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol

VoIP Service Providers that Speak Your Language

Regardless of the size of your business and what type of products and services you provide, you can benefit from VoIP service providers and the touted features they offer. Although VoIP is not perfect and may not suit everyone, it is a solution that many business owners across the country have implemented without hassles. See for yourself with tailored VoIP solutions.

You don’t have to speak like a VoIP agent to enjoy the powerful, productivity-boosting features; however, now you can keep up with some of the most common terms and be better prepared for your next conversation with VoIP service providers.