Technology is constantly evolving. Businesses are changing their work spaces to meet the demands of tech-savvy clients as well as to improve working conditions for their staff. VoIP services are becoming a must-have for many companies. Learn the basics of VoIP to decide whether to make the jump and take advantage of this novel technological advancement.
What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol is a way to take telephone analog audio signals and turn them into digital data. This is significant because it makes it possible to receive phone calls through an internet connection. A majority of modern work tasks involve talking on the phone, whether it’s with co-workers or clients. Enterprises across all industries are paying a phone bill every month to make this possible. Voice over Internet Protocol allows you to bypass the phone company and its hefty charges, which opens the door for significant savings.
3 Ways to Access Voice Over Internet Protocol
There are three different ways to access VoIP. Interested clients can experiment with each one to decide which works best for their company.
- Analog Telephone Adaptor
An analog telephone adaptor allows you to connect a phone to a computer to access service. Simply plug the cable that would go in a phone socket into the ATA instead and you’re ready to make calls. Some ATAs come with software that you need to configure on the host computer, but it is nonetheless an easy setup.
- IP Phones
IP phones include a headset, cradle and buttons so they can accomplish everything a traditional phone can. Instead of a RJ-11 phone connector, however, they have a RJ-45 ethernet connector. This means they can hook up to a router and have all the hardware and software in place for IP calls. There are also wi-fi phones available that allow users to use VoIP service from a wi-fi hot spot.
This is the easiest way to use Voice over Internet Protocol. You need software that is affordable or even free in some cases, depending on where you find it. You also need a microphone, speakers, a sound card and an internet connection, preferably DSL or cable. Apart from a standard ISP fee, there is no charge for placing calls, even long-distance calls.
3 Popular Uses for Voice Over Internet Protocol
If your business is a call center or sales organization, the uses of VoIP might seem obvious. In fact, there are a myriad of ways Voice over Internet Protocol can enhance your organization. These three popular benefits can apply to companies in almost any industry.
- Business Traveling
It is no longer necessary to give employees a business phone with pre-paid service. Voice over Internet Protocol allows company representatives to access a network from their cell anywhere there’s an internet connection, including in another state or country. Some carriers also offer “softphone” software service that you can download on your laptop. This allows you to place a call from your computer anywhere in the world.
- Team Meetings
Most VoIP services come with the same features as analog service, such as caller ID, call waiting, call transfer, repeat call and three-way calling. Meetings with co-workers are as fluid as ever, since you can see who is calling and direct the call as necessary.
- Video Conferencing
Sometimes it is helpful to see the face of the person you’re speaking to. Voice over Internet Protocol makes video conferencing a reality. Since everything is accessed through the internet, you can exchange files and documents while you’re chatting. It can do wonders for streamlining operations, boosting employee morale and increasing profits.
Get Crystal Clear Phone Clarity
Businesses should always be concerned with phone clarity. Too much static and bad sound quality during calls can negatively impact a company, especially if it focuses on customer service, tech support or sales. Detractors of VoIP are quick to point out the potential for minimized quality. Fortunately, businesses can implement Voice over Internet Protocol call monitoring to stay on top of technical issues and quickly resolve them.
The Basics of Voice Over Internet Protocol Quality Monitoring
Having a robust quality monitoring system in place can enhance the efficiency of your organization. Since many companies use a quality system to monitor employee interactions with customers, using a VoIP phone quality monitoring system in tandem is simple. It involves using hardware and software programs to test, analyze and rate calls.
Most programs use mathematical algorithms to rate calls. They are rated on a scale of one to five, with 3.5 five being a “good” score. To come up with this mean opinion score (MOS), programs consider these three aspects:
Latency is the time delay between two callers. Sometimes it can cause the “talk over effect” in which one person thinks their interlocuter has stopped speaking because the delay is so strong. Round-trip latency of over 300 milliseconds is considered poor.
Jitter is another type of VoIP time delay caused by packets. Packets contain between 10 and 30 milliseconds of audio and can sometimes arrive late or in the wrong order. Programs often have a jitter buffer to collect groups of packets, sort them in the right order and deliver them to an end user all at once. Jitter of 50 milliseconds is poor quality.
- Packet Loss
If a jitter buffer gets overloaded, it might result in packet loss. Callers might notice that sentences are cut off or that their interlocuter sounds choppy.
Active Vs. Passive Call Monitoring
VoIP call monitoring can take two forms: active and passive. Active monitoring is great to use before starting service. A thorough assessment is conducted by equipment manufacturers and network specialists to ensure everything is in working order.
Passive monitoring happens in real-time while your employees are using the service. Network administrators can detect traffic problems and buffer overloads by analyzing recorded phone calls or looking at software metrics. If necessary, they can shut down service and resolve problems during down time. This approach is unavoidable to get the system back to optimal quality, although it can also make employees and clients frustrated.
Having a VoIP call monitoring in place can ensure that customers are receiving the best service with each and every phone call. Sky high customer satisfaction can result in repeat sales and rising above marketplace competitors.
How To Install Voice Over Internet Protocol
Making the transition from an analog phone system to Voice over Internet Protocol can be tricky. After all, your employees have quotas to meet. Following these four steps can help you set up your system with little wasted time and energy.
- Consult With Experts
VoIP professionals know how to get companies large and small running with an internet-based phone system and can share their knowledge with you. There’s no need to struggle with the kinks of installation when your network equipment vendor can send a pro your way.
- Test It Out
Before switching every employee to internet phones, test out your service on a select few. If it works out you can gradually roll more people in. Make sure to keep your traditional phone system running as a backup during this phase.
- Use Call Forwarding
Power outages are a real threat to businesses, especially during stormy weather. Prepare for them by configuring your Voice over Internet Protocol to forward unanswered calls to a landline number or cell. That way you can return the calls when power is up.
- Secure Your Network
Unfortunately, security breaches by hackers are a common occurrence. They can digitally intercept calls to steal sensitive information or take down your entire system with a denial-of-service attack. Protect your VoIP network by using the most up-to-date technology. Cutting-edge software and devices are more likely to have a strong guard of security features.
Join the Future of Communication
In the age of the internet, VoIP is here to stay. It has a plethora of versatile features that almost any organization can use to the fullest. With careful planning, you can see the following improve in your office:
- Cost per call
- Employee efficiency
- Customer satisfaction
- Software dependability
- Net profits
Companies have to grow and change with technology. VoIP is a game changer that can bring your organization into the digital age. The possibility of cost-free calls, improved remote work conditions, streamlined team communication and video conferencing are just some of the perks of this service. Hopefully learning about voice-over-ip solutions can assist you in making an informed decision for your enterprise.
A Guide to Voice-Over IP Services
Although many businesses and consumers now do business via email, text messaging, apps, and even social media, these advancements in technology have not completely negated the need for a comprehensive phone system for businesses. Of course, that doesn’t mean the phone systems themselves haven’t gone through some updates as well.
These days, more and more business owners are tossing out their traditional company phone systems in favor of using Voice-Over IP services. The new technology is often more affordable, more flexible, and a better fit for companies that are looking to remain relevant in an ever-changing business climate.
What Is Voice-Over IP?
Voice-Over Internet Protocol has several other names, including Internet Calling, Internet Telephony, and IP Telephony. Voice-Over IP is a money-saving method that allows people to make phone calls for extremely cheap. In some cases, they can even do it for free.
Despite having names that refer to the telephone, VOIP calls often do not have telephones at all. Instead, callers use computers or smartphones and special software and headsets. The technology converts the caller’s voice into a digital signal over data-driven services, and then transfers it to the listener via packet-switched protocols transmitted of local area networks or any other VOIP-compatible network.
Why It Works
Because Voice-Over IP service uses packets, it allows for more information to carry over the network, which enhances the caller’s ability to communicate. It also provides advanced applications that allows for better flexibility and productivity or staff members.
It is best suited for businesses that use unified communications. This means they treat all their communications alike and allow them to work via any VOIP-enabled handset or cell phone. The result is that a staff member can receive a phone call, email, fax, or any other type of communication no matter where he or she is.
How Switching to VoIP Saves Money
One of the biggest reasons that business owners switch to Voice-Over IP service is because it saves them money. This occurs in several ways, but perhaps the most important is that it cuts the cost of telephone lines. When replacing a traditional phone line with SIP trunking for VOIP, it cuts a company’s monthly phone bill by as much as 50% right off the bat.
These savings are just amplified when you factor in the enhanced performance features. Of course, with fewer traditional telephones and fax machines, businesses cut back on wiring needs as well. The lack of traditional equipment means fewer dollars spent on maintenance and upgrades of phone services. Even making long-distance phone calls is cheaper when using Voice-Over Internet Protocol services.
Voice-Over IP Is a Portable Service
An increasing number of companies do business on the go. The days of employees spending 8-10 hours a day behind their desks are over, which means businesses need more flexible ways to communicate. This is exactly why so many are turning to VOIP services.
Whether a company’s owner and managerial teams travel the globe or employees telecommunicate, they need the ability to make and receive phone calls as a business entity no matter where they are. Voice-Over IP service works anywhere there is internet access. All an employee needs to do is log into the company’s VOIP service to get a dial tone and make and receive calls using the business’ official phone number.
VOIP Service Is Multi-Functional
Multi-functionality is another big selling point for VOIP. In the past, when a company needed to hold conference calls, it needed special phones and multiple phone lines, not to mention the ability to for everybody involved in the call to work it into his or her schedule at the same time.
These days, the multi-functionality of Voice-Over IP service makes conference calling, whether voice only or with video, much easier. Businesses can set up meetings between two or more people and easily share files, calendars, and other company information over the internet service. It especially makes it much easier for global brands to stay on top of things. It even allows users to send all their voicemails to their email, meaning someone will get important messages even if he or she is not in a position to pick up the phone and listen to them.
Businesses have even been known to save money by using these flexible services because they can hire more remote workers. Allowing more telecommunication eliminates the need for commercial property, providing real estate savings. It also makes it easier to track employees who work outside of the building since the service allows employers to verify locations and work status via busy buttons programmed into phones or viewable desktop management screens.
Choosing the Right VOIP Provider
Not all VOIP service providers are created equally, so any business owner who is looking to make the switch should do thorough research on the available providers first. Ideally, the provider makes it easy to make the switch. Plug-and-play host capabilities are especially important, because it allows the business owner to make the switch with almost zero downtime to the company’s phone lines. In addition, the provider should include enhanced services, such as call forwarding and full call control. Many providers also offer unlimited calling for discounted rates, including international calls.
One up-and-coming Voice-Over IP provider is NWO IT Services. The St. Louis-based company is proud to provide businesses with VOIP that includes high-quality calls, flexible product enhancements, and lower prices than traditional phone lines. The business stays on top of trends and enhancements in the industry to ensure it provides its customers with the best possible business communications solutions.
Why Make the Switch Now
Businesses that haven’t already made the switch from traditional phone lines to VOIP should do so as soon as they can. After all, technology is going to keep advancing, and companies that don’t keep up with it look outdated and unprofessional. By enhancing the company phone system and proving an updated view on changing technology, a business does two things.
For one, it shows customers that it will do what is necessary to keep up with consumer needs and continue to provide excellent service. For another, it brings in a better caliber of employees. Workers who are part of the younger generations, especially, are interested in beginning their careers with technologically advanced businesses. An old-school phone system just doesn’t give that vibe.
Of course, when deciding to switch to Voice-Over IP services, research should be done first. Find local companies with high-quality services and a strong reputation with the Better Business Bureau, as well as with current and former customers. Asking questions, such as how long installation takes, what services are provided, and how pricing is calculated, is essential for ensuring to receive the best service possible.