Workplace innovation just in the 21st century provide ample evidence that “the only constant is change.” We’ve gone from file cabinets and fax machines to file serves and e-mail. Our desk space was once gobbled up by desktop monitors almost as big as moving boxes, and phone calls used to go only as far as either the cord or the antenna allowed.
One amazing innovation companies are very much warming to actually involves those business phone systems. The shorthand is “VoIP.”
VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone systems are an innovation businesses may consider when looking to upgrade their current phone plan, but what is VoIP exactly?
What is VoIP?
VoIP, which stands for Voice-over-Internet-Protocol, is the means in which calls are routed over the internet as opposed to traditional landlines. VoIP is used in conjunction with on-premise and hosted phone systems.
Internet Protocol (IP)-based telephony allows for voice and data to be transmitted at a much lower cost than through traditional phone lines. As more business processes move online, companies both big and small are beginning to adopt VoIP-style phone systems into their offices.
There are two main types of VoIP phone systems: on-premise (also known as self-hosted) and hosted (also known as cloud-based). On-premise systems are suited for large businesses or those who want to still use their legacy Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system., seeing as on-premise systems can be expensive to maintain.
Hosted VoIP phone systems utilizes cloud-based infrastructure, minimizing maintenance costs you would otherwise have with on-premise systems. Click here for more information.
How Do VoIP Phone Systems Work?
VoIP phone systems work by converting your voice into Internet Protocol (IP), allowing you to make a call directly from a computer, a VoIP phone, or other data-driven devices.
An Internet connection is required to connect to and use a VoIP system. While some VoIP systems only work using a computer or VoIP phone, other systems let you use traditional analog phones that are connected to a VoIP adapter. However, if you use a computer to make calls, you’ll likely need some sort of software.
Other Types of Business Phone Systems
Plain Old Telephone System (POTS)
POTS are what most people imagine when they picture a phone system. They are a traditional analog phone service that incorporates and connects private phone lines to a network through a traditional landline.
These types of systems haven’t changed much in the past century, and are what you would typically get using a major provider like AT&T. Telephone companies like Verizon connect calls using the Publicly Switched Telephone Network (PTSN).
The PSTN makes it possible for a Verizon customer to call an AT&T customer as well as patching calls over locally. However, it is not recommended to deploy these types of systems because they are increasingly becoming outdated and therefore expensive to maintain.
Traditional Private Branch Exchange (PBX)
PBX systems are an on-premise phone solution that lets businesses customize their physical infrastructure as they see fit. Many large businesses employ traditional PBX systems so they can more closely control their infrastructure.
While PBX phone systems have reliable call quality, even in places without high-speed Internet, and also allow businesses to own their hardware, they are expensive to set up and maintain.
Who is a Good Fit for a VoIP Phone System?
While businesses that are fully remote may benefit from each employee using a traditional landline phone or personal smartphone, VoIP systems are basically unrivaled for the scalability and flexibility that they offer to remote offices.
Since VoIP systems can be quickly scaled up or down, remote employees can be easily added or removed. Additionally, since VoIP systems let employees take calls from devices other than traditional business phones, this gives employees the flexibility to work where and how they wish without being tied to a traditional desk phone plugged into the wall.