When Alexander Graham Bell made the infamous and experimental call to Thomas Watson in March 1876, he could not have imagined how far today’s telephony has grown.
The technology today for telephones, phone systems and voice services is completely different from the device he used to call Thomas Watson on. Even in the last 2-3 years and with ISDN slowly being phased out and replaced by virtual phone lines, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to understanding Voice-over-IP (VOIP) and what it really does.
The term VOIP is thrown around quite a lot these days, so what does it actually mean? Well, it is the technology behind internet-based voice communication, but for the majority of people it can mean the voice lines that are coming into your phone system (really these are called SIP trunks that sit within the category of VOIP) or it can also represent your entire IP-ready phone system.
But it also means ensuring you have a reliable, supportable and SLA-backed internet connection to ensure a level of uptime preservation and protection of your voice communication.
All very important elements to consider before choosing a VOIP solution.
What can VOIP do?
VOIP can replace your ISDN and standard analogue phone lines and phone system entirely. This is because VOIP uses SIP trunks to simulate phone lines (virtual voice lines) and is what the back-end of VOIP systems and VOIP services use to communicate. At the front-end, i.e. at your office, voice communication travels from your phone (and phone system) over the internet to the SIP trunk which then routes your calls. Each phone has an IP address (and so does your VOIP phone system) and calls are transmitted and received entirely over the internet, hence the term Voice-over-IP!
The great benefit of VOIP and SIP is that you can increase and decrease your phone lines when necessary (flexing) as they do not have long contract periods (they are normally monthly rolling), unlike ISDN (2-5 years!).
Plus with the right VOIP telecoms provider, you can enjoy some very competitive call rates which therefore replaces your existing call charges.
Simply, how would I use VOIP?
Whether internal hardware (on-premise phone systems), hosted telephony (cloud phone systems) or a mixture of both (hybrid), with VOIP your customers can call you, you can call them, as well as any customer-led/interactions can also be be set up. For example, auto-attendants, interactive voice response (IVR), call forwarding, call groups, voicemail and multi-office connection solutions. With the correct system and suitable services set up, all of this can be enabled and configured properly.
Very importantly, you can also use VOIP as part of your Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery plan as if your site loses the ability to communicate using your in-house phone system, network solutions and VOIP telephony services can be put in place to automate failover to VOIP technology to ensure the continuation of the telephony and voice communication within your business.
How can I get VOIP?
There are so many VOIP providers out there as well as VOIP systems. To be frank, they all pretty much do the same thing, it’s really the type of features that you need, reporting, integration and support that set others apart.
When it comes to choosing a VOIP service that is right for you, you need to speak to an experienced company and Amazing Support have been helping select and deploy internet, connectivity and telephony solutions for over 10 years. We are always up-to-date on the latest voice services and technologies and guide you through the process so that you understand what you are investing in.
We manage the entire process from understanding the features you need for your business, involving the most relevant voice and ISP providers, selecting relevant hardware and integration services, as well as transparency of upfront costs and on-going monthly charges.
If you have an existing phone system, you may even have an IP-based feature already built in that allows a connection to a SIP provider, enabling you to benefit from VOIP and better call charges immediately without needing any further hardware investment. We can help you find out these answers.