Since its introduction in the market, more and more companies have switched from using regular phone lines to Voice over Internet Protocol (or VoIP). In South Africa, the ageing copper infrastructure and limited capabilities of traditional fixed line telephony make for compelling reasons to look at VoIP as a more scalable, flexible and agile telephony solution, with the added benefit of being able to do more than just make and receive calls.
What is the difference between VoIP and IP telephony?
VoIP is the method used to place and receive phone calls over the internet. Virtual telephony, virtual calling and online phone systems are other words used to describe VoIP.
In its day, Skype was the VoIP platform of choice. Today, it could be Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet. When you make a VoIP call, there is no breakout to traditional fixed line networks. We call this point-to-point calling (Teams to Teams, Zoom to Zoom or Google Meet to Google Meet)
So how is IP Telephony different? IP telephony uses VoIP technology, but has access to traditional calling platforms. Simply put, you can make calls from your VoIP platform, to a fixed or mobile line or even a different VoIP calling platform.
In this article, we talk interchangeably about VoIP and IP Telephony and refer to both, as VoIP.
How does VoIP work?
VoIP technology is designed to work across a range of devices, including smartphones, laptops, desktop computers and tablets. It uses Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) to encode analogue voice into IP packets and packet switching technology transmits the IP packets over the internet. DSPs then decode the IP packets back into analogue voice on the receiving end.
This is done as a person to person (or point to point) connection.
Today, many organisations are leveraging their VoIP capabilities and integrating IP telephony tools, to give access to hosted PBX and business communications systems like UnifyOne with Webex or Microsoft Teams. Not only are they able to make calls to fixed or mobile lines on traditional networks, but they get access to even more useful features like fully featured cloud calling, messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, and more.
5 Ways VoIP can benefit your business
The right VoIP platform allows you to streamline operations and communications, making it possible for team members to work more effectively and with greater ease.
Choosing the right VoIP platform for your business starts with understanding how it will be used not only today, but also in the future. It needs to offer scalability to account for future growth in operations.
Let’s find out more about the benefits of the ideal VoIP platform for businesses:
1. Reduce costs: cheaper call rates & minimal maintenance costs
VoIP provides businesses with a cost effective alternative to fixed line, on-premise PBX phone systems. It is estimated that call rates on VoIP can be up to 65% less than landline call rates.
In addition, traditional phone systems require on-site maintenance – which can include call out fees, labour fees and hardware costs, upgrades and additional licences.
With VoIP, business communication is run in the cloud, and managed by dedicated specialists, providing an easily accessible usage dashboard, to monitor incoming and outgoing calls across the telephony environment.
VoIP upgrades are done in, and via the cloud with nominal impact on the telephony system.
2. Get rid of costly, bulky phone systems taking up critical office space
VoIP allows businesses to streamline their communications by taking operations digital.
Let’s compare VoIP phone systems and traditional landline systems and their components.
Traditionally an office would have phone lines, connectivity and on-site PBX. Each component is essential to the system and its effective functioning, and for a growing business this is not only costly, but it takes up space.
Space that could be used for workstations, meeting rooms or additional office space. When businesses migrate to VoIP they remove the phone lines and on-site PBX and instead use the data circuits to carry those services.
Some businesses may choose to receive VoIP handsets once connected, but in the modern day, businesses are able to handle communications using their smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices using mobile and desktop VoIP soft clients. .
3. Better calling features, quality and collaboration
The quality of VoIP calls including the features are often dependent on the reliability of the business’ internet network, a mobile network and the VoIP service provider.
With a fast and reliable internet connection, and a VoIP service provider with a good reputation, VoIP calls can create improved speech clarity and provide access to an array of features. .
Maintaining a reliable and secure connection, and being able to communicate seamlessly with crisp audio and video, while collaborating with your participants, can provide more opportunities to pursue quality leads and partnerships, and improve your current workflow with clients.
A better communication system can stimulate increased productivity and accountability, between team members and clients. Team members can also make and receive calls on the move, by connecting the VoIP service to their mobile devices. This is useful for the modern world of remote work, and team members travelling for work.
4. Uninterrupted services
We know that businesses cannot afford to be offline, or out of reach of customers.
At Saicom, our uptime for VoIP services is 99.98%, and the white glove service we deliver, means faults and downtime is quickly and effectively resolved.
To ensure uninterrupted service through loadshedding and power outages, a small and cost effective UPS (uninterrupted power supply) or alternative power supply that keeps the internet router and fibre box running is sufficient.
You can rely on VoIP being online
One of the most significant benefits of switching to VoIP, is the seamless transition to better technology, without losing existing business contact details.
5. Access more features designed to help businesses thrive
We have already covered some of the ways that VoIP can help your business succeed, however, there are even more helpful features to help streamline business communications.
Some of VoIP’s key features for businesses include:
|Call recording, rating & voice analytics:||Record calls for business and client transparency, and rate interactions to improve customer experience metrics. Voice analytics can be used to evaluate agent performance (and quality assurance); gauge and track sentiment in the customer experience and deliver compliance through transcription.|
|Voicemail to email:||Receive voicemail via email|
|Receptionist :||VoIP systems allow you to enable virtual receptionist functionalities improving efficiency and saving on hiring costs.|
|Auto attendant & IVR (Interactive Voice Response)||VoIP systems make it possible for calls to be directed to the right extensions without the need for intervention by a front-of-office person.
With IVR, businesses are able to interact with callers through menu-based options.
|CRM Integration||Integrate your CRM platform with your hosted PBX. Get a pop-up from your CRM , showing the caller’s details, when a call is received.|
Which VoIP Software and service provider should I choose?
VoIP systems can be expanded or upgraded seamlessly, however, having the right system in place early on can make the transition between on-premise PBX phone systems to VoIP much easier in the medium-term.
Always consider the needs of your business when choosing a partner, and VoIP solution. The benefits of transitioning to VoIP can be unlocked with a reliable internet connection and working with a reputable, trusted VoIP service provider, with a track record for delivering best fit, best-of-breed solutions.
We deliver world class call quality, a dedicated support team and 99.98% uptime for VoIP services, nationally
We have quick turnaround times and are ready to meet your business’ exact communication needs. Contact Saicom today!