There are numerous advantages to Business VoIP technology over the traditional circuit switched system. For example:
- No circuit switched Private Branch eXchange (PBX) is required with a Business VoIP solution. This is a large and very expensive piece of equipment used by larger companies to connect their internal telephone lines to the PSTN. The capital expenditure and operating costs necessary for a PBX can be substantial. With business VoIP all that is required is a Broadband Internet Service and a router to route each packet based call to the Internet. The business VoIP service provider is then responsible for bridging the calls from the Internet to their destination, whether that is to another VoIP phone user or the PSTN. This is often referred to as a hosted VoIP or IP PBX solution. All of the technology for handling your calls resides at the business VoIP service provider. You can access and change your VoIP features (e.g. adding numbers, forwarding calls etc) simply by accessing a secure website run by your business VoIP service provider.
- Business VoIP is a digital packet based system. This means that numerous Internet phone calls can be made at the same time and can be sent over the same Local Area Network (LAN) that is used for your computer Internet access. This is a very cost effective way to make telephone calls.
- The voice packets travel over the Internet instead of the PSTN. The Internet is not heavily regulated like the PSTN so calls are so cheap to make that many business plans simply charge a fixed monthly fee and that covers all of your internet phone calls regardless of their destination.
- Many larger businesses have multiple locations some of which may be in another state and some of which could be on the other side of the world. Usually these locations are connected to a company wide data network (Wide Area Network for example). With a business VoIP system, extension dialing is such that the location is irrelevant. An employee in Seattle can call a colleague in London through a simple 4 digit extension and at no additional cost. This is because the call is sent over the company's network on the Internet rather than through traditional long distance calling. This feature alone can be very attractive to businesses wishing to save money on their phone bills.
- Business VoIP provides a vast array of features. Receive your faxes and voicemail via email or with a web browser. Conference calling, Caller ID, Call forwarding, Going away on business - take your IP phone or Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) with you and your number goes with you or configure your phone to call-forward. Many more features are thrown in as standard.
- All telephone and data administration can be handled by one Information Services (IS) department. This can save a business a considerable amount of money. However as most small businesses do not have anyone dedicated to anything related to IT, there is a very large value add by having a hosted VoIP solution that is off-premise and managed by a VoIP provider. There is also the benefit of no more costly on-site maintenance due to fees to do something as simple as adding another extension.
- Business VoIP dramatically simplifies portability and installation. Assuming your IP phone or ATA is configured for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), you can move your IP phone anywhere and still keep the same phone number since it will receive an IP address dynamically. This is like moving your laptop and still being able to log in to your network. It is estimated that it can cost hundreds of dollars to move a telephone in a regular circuit switched network due to labor costs and the cost of reconfiguring the PBX. These costs are not incurred in a business VoIP phone system since the IP network does not care about your location.
- Toll free number cost savings. Many small businesses are still paying per minute fees for these numbers. With a VoIP solution, the toll free numbers can be provided at a fixed monthly fee. This keeps costs under control and many businesses have realized large cost savings through this feature alone.
So to summarize, it can be stated that the benefits of Business VoIP service include:
- Cheaper, better, easier telephony
- Flexible to meet your needs
- Reliable service
- Ideal for multiple locations
- Ideal for virtual companies
- Improved productivity
- Easy installation and configuration compared to other phone system solutions
- Easier to manage through a web GUI
- Lower total cost of ownership (low start-up costs)
- Future proof
- Good for business
- Proven technology and ready to use right now
It can also be stated that Business VoIP service is not:
- Complicated technology
- Disruptive to a business
- Limited by service provider offerings
- Free telephony
The list of VoIP advantages goes on and on. Refer to the business VoIP features section for more details and to identify features that would be beneficial to your business resulting in both cost savings and productivity improvements.