Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a term many of us have heard, but what exactly is it? Basically, VoIP technology delivers phone service over the Internet or a network instead of a landline. In fact, the capabilities of VoIP technology can The Business of VoIPcompletely transform the way organizations communicate and interact with customers. And for business owners worried about abandoning their old analog phones, VoIP can be implemented as a supplement to these legacy systems yielding more features at a surprisingly affordable rate.

VoIP Adoption Trends

Companies have been increasingly adopting the wide and growing range of VoIP products and services available in the market in recent years. The infographic to the right from internet telephony provider Telappliant has some eye-opening statistics about usage among businesses. One-third are currently using VoIP, and one-fourth plan on implementing a VoIP solution in the next year. Clearly the trend is moving towards Internet-based communication among both consumers and businesses.

VoIP Decision Factors

But there are a number of things to think about before making up your mind. If your company has multiple locations or remote employees connected via a LAN or WAN, adding VoIP is much easier and cheaper since the required infrastructure is already in place. On the flip side, if your company doesn’t have a network, the cost of adding one has to be factored in. You also should consider phone usage requirements, including whether you need Voicemail to Email capabilities, simultaneous calling to multiple numbers, forwarding of business phone calls to employee home and mobile phones and incoming call management. If your employees frequently collaborate via conference calls, VoIP can significantly reduce associated expenses. Finally, if you have customers and clients across the U.S and Canada, you may want to consider VoIP as a way to reduce long distance costs, since many plans offer unlimited calling, as well as, reduced international rates.

While all of these benefits sound great, you may be wondering if there’s a catch. For example, if you’re concerned about getting nickelled-and-dimed for key features, most VoIP systems come with a variety of features as standard. Also, a popular misconception is that the quality of VoIP calls doesn’t match traditional phone lines, but a properly configured network can turn problems like choppy calls and reliability into a nonissue. If you’re wondering about maintenance hassles and expense management, you can choose a hosted solution instead of on-premise VoIP equipment to ensure reliable support and predictable costs. As the info graphic mentions, many VoIP systems are now cloud based, making setting up service even easier since the vendor handles all software and hardware issues.

“If your employees frequently collaborate via conference calls, VoIP can significantly reduce associated expenses.”

VoIP Strategy is Key

Finally, an essential component to maximizing your cost savings and benefits with a VoIP system is developing a strategy, including whether you should buy and manage your own VoIP equipment or choose a hosted solution.

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