The simplest explanation of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is this:
You can transmit your voice or data over an IP-based network instead of through a traditional telephone line.
While that definition is oversimplified somewhat, the digital transformation from a standard line to a data network has been nothing less than revolutionary. VoIP has opened up unlimited possibilities for users while saving companies millions of dollars in setup & usage costs and countless hours of training and communication processes.
The impact of VoIP is so far-reaching that it has caused a steady decline in landline connections and telephone equipment. It has also triggered a massive increase in IP network technology and an industry-wide repositioning of telecom companies across the U.S. While it is true that VoIP still has a long way to go before completely replacing conventional phone systems, it will eventually become the standard for business communications.
How Does VoIP Work?
VoIP converts your voice signal into digital data and transports it over an IP network. It is similar to sending a text message or an email. This process of digital conversion and transmittance eliminates the need for a traditional phone line since you can use your Internet connection to make phone calls.
Since VoIP operates on a digital platform over your IP network, you can combine your voice and Internet communication. The emergence of cloud-based platforms simplifies your process even more by allowing you to store all saved data in the cloud. You can access your data from any device in any remote location.
VoIP is Easy to Set Up and Implement in Your Network
VoIP utilizes your current IP network to transmit data from one device to another. You can send data via a smartphone, computer, tablet, or another device.
Here is how the setup works:
The LAN. Everything comes in and out of your Local Area Network (LAN). This is the hub of your IP network your various forms of communication.
The connections. All wired and wireless IoT (Internet of Things) devices are connected to the LAN. Wireless devices such as phones, laptops, or tablets connect through a wireless router over Wi-Fi. Wired devices such as a desktop IP phone, Analogue phone with ATA or VoIP gateway, or a softphone running through a desktop computer connect straight into the LAN.
The router. The router connects your LAN to the IP network provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). From there, the VoIP can access your devices and utilize them for communications.
Your VoIP provider. Your VoIP provider will connect you to a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) via a router and the Internet.
Setting up VoIP for your business is easy. You determine how many users or connections you need. Make sure your current set up and Internet connection can accommodate the user volume. Next, set a budget for equipment, setup, and monthly or annual rates in advance.
You will also determine which features you want in advance. VoIP offers standard features such as call-waiting, call parking, auto attendant, messaging, conference calling. In addition, to baseline features, there are also dozens of other user-centric features available.
Finally, you will choose your provider, order your equipment, and configure your VoIP system.
What Are the Benefits of VoIP Communication Solutions?
There are several advantages to transitioning using VoIP as your primary communication system.
Unified communications. Instead of having a separate phone company and internet company, VoIP allows you to combine both into a single service.
Scalability. Since VoIP operates from a cloud platform, it allows your business infrastructure to expand in any direction while adding equipment and features as you go.
Accessibility. Since all of your data is stored in the cloud or a virtual private server (VPS), you have access to your files, documents, and correspondence through an online dashboard or VoIP app. All authorized users can retrieve data such as contacts, phone numbers, or client information from any remote location worldwide.
Savings. Your business can save up to 60% in equipment costs, installation, and monthly provider rates.
Flexibility. VoIP gives you the flexibility to choose which wired or wireless devices you want to use. You also have the option of replacing your current system or retrofitting certain VoIP features that supplement what you already have.
Options. Once you transition to VoIP, you will quickly discover all the features that are available to your entire team. Some of the most popular features including SIP trunking, call forwarding, call parking, voicemail to email messaging, auto attendant, codecs, packet switching, and other functions.
How VoIP Improves Your Productivity
What really separates VoIP from standard phone systems is how much time you can save by eliminating steps in your communication processes. For instance, voicemail became all but extinct because of steps that users had to take to retrieve a voice message. VoIP has revived the voicemail by eliminating these steps and delivering messages straight to a user’s email inbox. Users can retrieve voicemails from multiple locations and have them arrive in their inbox ready to listen to.
Another game-changing feature of VoIP is its cloud-based platform that grants access to all authorized users regardless of their location. In the age of remote employment — i.e., hiring freelancers from home — remote accessibility is more important than ever. VoIP ensures that remote employees and contract workers have access to important messages and data around the clock. Employees who spend a lot of time telecommuting have also found the accessibility that VoIP offers to be a core element in their increased work efficiency.
VoIP can create an entirely new paradigm for your customers that will change their views on call centers and customer service lines. How?
Your customer can direct themselves to the right CSR and find answers to their questions quickly. No more wait times or long queues.
Your employees are more readily available thanks to VoIP’s call forwarding capabilities. You can configure calls to route to ‘hunt groups’ in a programmed sequence. This ensures that customers get a live person on the phone faster.
The voicemail to text feature allows your employees to respond quickly to a voicemail if they are away from the phone. VoIP converts any voicemail message to a digital file and then emails or texts it to an employee.
Auto attendant routes all calls to the right person without the need for an attendant.
VoIP allows you to obtain a low-cost, toll-free number regardless of the size of your business. Customers can call you from any location without incurring long-distance charges.
Through VoIP, you can assign direct numbers and extensions to each of your employees whether they are on-site or remote. When employees contact customers, their VoIP number will be displayed — not their personal phone number.
VoIP enables you to track your phone sales conversion rates by providing campaign data based on your specifications. You can monitor which campaigns are turning into sales.
VoIP instantly connects all members of your workforce and allows them to collaborate from a centralized, secure cloud. This secure platform allows multiple employees and customers to share data, conference via audio or video media, work on projects together, and use the same applications.
And speaking of applications, VoIP can easily integrate multiple applications into a telecommunication system. This improves collaboration, communication, and cuts down on software installation and costs. Multiple users can log-on to an app to perform a wide range of functions including expanded conferencing.
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