VOIP is Essential For Your Success

You want a top-tier business, right?  Of course you do.  You want your business to be as much of a success as the next guy's, if not more so. 

Then you've got to realize that one of the most crucial factors in your success is going to be how effective your communication is.  That should be a question you ask yourself every year, if not every six months.

And if you're not already using VoIP communications — why aren't you? 

What is VoIP communications, anyway?  It's the modern alternative to Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), or the old copper-wire system.  VoIP is a system of communication where your voice is converted into a digital signal which then travels over a Internet Protocol network.  Most commonly this means The Internet, which means a person sitting in Palo Alto, California can call Beijing, China, just as easily as they can call right down the block.

VoIP communications is essential for your success.  There are several factors involved in this:

  1. VoIP communications can save you 70% or more over your Plain Old Telephone Service.
  2. VoIP communications offer digital clarity.
  3. VoIP provides many more options for managing communications.
  4. VoIP is easily expandable as your business grows.
  5. VoIP offers low (or no) installation costs, so long as your existing network is robust.
  6. VoIP networks are much easier to manage than POTS networks are.
  7. Mobility is greatly enhanced with VoIP; it's not nearly as difficult to find workers.  Frequently, a VoIP system will offer call routing features that forward unanswered calls to alternate numbers in a user's preferred sequence:  "If I'm not at my desk, then ring my cell.  If I don't answer that, then call my home phone.  If I don't answer that, then route the call to voicemail."
  8. Many productivity-boosting advanced features are possible with VoIP systems, such as PC integration, voicemail organization tools, call recording features, and display screens showing a company directory.  These are some common ones; others are available.

There's nothing magical that you have to have in order to set up your business VoIP phone system.  All you need is a high speed Internet connection, plenty of bandwidth, VoIP handsets and some VoIP switches to consolidate their signals.  Since your handsets will require a power source, these switches can provide that power, if you opt for the Power Over Ethernet option.  The other option for power is to use a wall adapter for each station.

There are many enhancements that you can add to your VoIP experience.  These go far and above the lowly answering machine and hold button — which is about the extent of what's available with copper wire telephony.  With VoIP, you can do these things and more:

  1. record calls
  2. send recordings over email
  3. transcribe recordings to text
  4. block specific callers
  5. receive a personalized identification page for each caller
  6. screen callers
  7. automatic attendant and call direction

Not only that, but when you enter the world of VoIP communications, you also position yourself to take part in the even more exciting arenas of video conferencing and Unified Communications.

Get Ready for VoIP
Be careful, though.  Your old POTS service was completely distinct from your data network, and what impacted one had no effect on the other.  Not so with VoIP.  With VoIP, your voice data is your data network (and vice versa), so be sure your IT department has the resources it needs to take on the task. 

You'll want to conduct a call volume study before installing VoIP, in order to determine what sorts of additional stress your network will be under.  Furthermore, it's advisable to not skimp on bandwidth when getting ready to get going with VoIP; it can get chewed up pretty quickly.  These days, when bandwidth is cheap, there's really no reason to be spare about it anyway.
Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

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