Pointers for Transitioning to VOIP

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The company has grown significantly over the last five years. In a recent meeting with the executive leadership team, one of the topics was about creating efficiencies across the various departments using the latest communication tools that are more cost-effective and responsive to the demands of customers. One issue discussed was the need to retain the small PBX running on POTS (plain old telephone system) or switch to modern technology like VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol.

Some of the old wards are reluctant to shift and to let go of the current system. While in existence for more than two decades now, VOIP still seems to be alien to some people in the company. A study needs to be presented next meeting, where a final vote will take place.

Here are some core ideas:

A Brief History of VOIP

The critical information here is IP or Internet Protocol. The internet traces its roots in the ARPANET project by the US Department of Defense, which aims to connect all government computers in one big network. Fast forward to the internet as we know it today, data between and amongst machines are processed by a communications protocol called Internet Protocol. And voice data are just one form of data that is transferred from one computer to another via IP.

The first VOIP transmission happened in 1973. Today, when we use popular messaging tools for calls like Viber, Skype, or Facetime, they are riding the same VOIP technology that began in 1973.

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Calls on the Internet

The first internet phone software won’t be invented until 1995. Since then, many internet companies have produced their proprietary software used by many companies. Here are a few things to note when considering a switch to VOIP.

  1. Cost savings. The service cost from traditional telecom companies is much higher because you’re paying for a bigger infrastructure. You would have to buy and maintain a private automatic branch exchange (PABX) cabinet and the physical phones, among others. With additional features like extension numbers, voicemail, call forwarding, etc. you get charged as well. With VOIP, you get all these features and more. Setting up the app on PCs or mobile devices would be a breeze. The market is filled with VOIP subscriptions for small businesses and large enterprises. The price range can be as low as $10 per user per month.
  2. Flexibility. Access to POTS requires that you be in the same physical space as the telephone. If a customer calls your office, you can only answer the call from your office. With VOIP and your softphone or internet phone installed on your laptop or mobile device, you can take a customer’s call even when you are traveling or while in different locations.
  3. It’s easy to use. If you know even a little bit about computers, you can manage problems with VOIP. Sometimes it can be solved by just rebooting your PC, or a driver is missing or needs to be updated. So long as your internet is working, problems with the software or the service are usually quickly resolved. When a POTS goes down, and there is no dial tone, you’re already lost and helpless. You’re at the mercy of the phone company. You lose time. Your business loses money.

These are mere three points, but they present a compelling argument in favor of shifting to VOIP. It’s more cost-effective. It provides flexibility. And it is easy to use.

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