Office phone systems have undergone somewhat of a revolution over recent years. When once upon a time IT was the analogue PBX (private branch exchange) that dominated office phone systems around the globe, now, more and more, the most common system that you will find in place is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, PBX has always been an extremely expensive system to set up, run and maintain (usually by full-time in-house IT teams). The cost of this communications solution was so much, in fact, that IT was largely thought of as the sole reserve of large corporations for many a decade. Secondly, IT is only relatively recently that VoIP technology has reached a stage where IT is considered to be on a par with PBX in terms of security and reliability. But that time is now well and truly here.
VoIP is generally a much cheaper solution to implement and maintain than PBX, which is one of the main reasons that IT is so popular amongst SMEs and start-ups in particular. What is more, VoIP and hosted phone systems have now evolved to enterprise class, and are proving to be even more reliable than the good old analogue solutions of the past.
No longer big business technology, SMEs are now in a position to invest in a phone system that is equal to even their largest of competitors. VoIP has democratized communications solutions, and will soon no doubt dominate the communications industry (there are, of course, still many legacy PBX systems in place in offices around the world, so, for the time being at least, both are still quite actively present).
A Brief History Of VoIP
Although IT has only been relatively recently that VoIP has managed to make a significant stamp on the communications industry, the technology has in fact been around for two decades.
VoIP began in February 1995 by small Israeli company Vocaltec, inc. They created a product – the InternetPhone – which, for the first time ever, allowed one user to make a phone call to another over the internet using only a microphone and a set of speakers.
Pretty soon, PC-to-phone and phone-to-phone VoIP system solutions began to appear on the market. The thing that made these types of calls so appealing was that they could be marketed as being ‘free’ for anybody with an internet connection (although in the early stages users were obliged to listen to set of commercials before their calls were connected).
From here, just as with the internet itself, VoIP only managed to make moves very gradually in the communications market, and IT wasn’t really until around 2003 with the arrival of broadband and Ethernet services that both the internet and VoIP really started to take off.
Nowadays, SMEs and large corporations alike are making full use of VoIP technology. This is down to a clear set of benefits that using VoIP brings to a business, so let’s take a closer look at exactly what those benefits are.
The Benefits Of VoIP
One of the most attractive elements of VoIP for any sized business is of course the cost factor. VoIP utilizes the power of the internet to connect calls – and it’s safe to say that nearly all businesses these days are live on the web already. This means that, in the first instance, there are no additional cabling costs for a company which needs to interconnect all of their phones in the building – and this can actually be a real hidden cost, especially for the start-up or SME.
But using VoIP also means that call charges are eradicated. This can be of extremely economic benefIT if your company deals with customers or has branches all over the world – no long distance additional fees.
Configured With Mobiles and Tablets
Today there rarely exists a business that is run entirely from a centralized location. Field teams and remote or home workers are the norm in the current business world. And here VoIP platforms come swinging in to the rescue again. Your VoIP system can be configured so that IT connects with mobiles and tablets alongside any office phones or computers, providing almost unlimited flexibility for businesses with personnel who perform their jobs away from the office, but still rely on communication.
Other Great Features
VoIP also offers some really cool and valuable features that can benefIT SMEs. Here’s a short list of some of the best:
- Voicemail to email transcription: This feature transcribes voicemail messages to text and sends them to a preferred email. This is handy for when callers leave their details.
- Find me/follow me call routing: This is ideal for field workers. Users can create a list of numbers where they can be found before the caller gets pushed to voicemail. So, for example, a user could have his or her office phone ring twice, but on the third ring their cell starts to ring, and then on the fifth their home phone.
- Music on hold: Keep your callers entertained whilst waiting with latest releases, or golden oldies (no elevator music please!).
Then of course there’s call screening, conferencing and auto attendant features that can all be utilized to great effect.
Here at V&C Solutions we can set up and maintain your VoIP system for you. You can choose the specific features that suIT you, and we promise that switching to VoIP will be one of the best decisions that your company ever makes. Get in touch to find out more.