What is VoIP?

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Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been around for more than 25 years now. It gained more presence since the demand for mobile workforce arose and the pandemic began to spread across the globe. Many fragmented workforces have discovered the value of wireless communications in making timely responses and borderless communications at the time of work-from-home program.

Nobody knows what will happen after the pandemic, but remote work setup is here to stay. Incorporating sustainable and long-term technologies should be on top of every decision-maker’s priority. A technology to equip today could have some either positive or negative effects tomorrow. You must contemplate its worth, usability, flexibility, and practicality. Since innovation of technology has been volant, the value and usefulness of a technology easily becomes obsolete.

VoIP is different. Over the years, it has transformed from physical landlines to wireless phone to digital communications. Famous use cases nowadays are Nextiva, Zoom, Teams, and Slack. Even though companies have adopted digital communications, phone systems stay relevant. It could be connected to digital communication apps. For instance, answering a call on Teams from your landline or mobile device. This just tells a lot about VoIP that it’s flexible enough to embrace changes and fit in the changing landscape.

What is a VoIP Phone?

Consumer landlines are becoming extinct. A recent U.S. government report revealed that over 50% of households have become mobile only. Maybe an even greater surprise was AT&T’s announcement that it plans to end copper POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). The near end of traditional telephony service is clear. What about the landlines for businesses?

For most businesses, it isn’t as easy to give up a conventional desk phone. Cellphones, email, and cloud-based team communications are all alternatives that point to the end of business telephony. However, there are several reasons why businesses shouldn’t turn away from desk phones.

 

A Phone System with Modern Touch

There are inherent features of desk phones that still serve as internal communications needs of enterprises. At the same time, the office telephone is evolving, and the following innovative features can be integrated as your business grows.

 

1. Extension Dialing

Also called direct inward dialing (DID), extension dialing enables employees within a company to call each other directly. Telephone service providers offer three-, four-, and five-digit dialing depending on the company needs. You can use multiple extensions without paying for new lines.

 

2. Find me/Follow me

Employees can extend their office phones beyond their physical office. The Find Me service enables the user to receive calls regardless of their physical location. The Follow Me service gives the caller access to the user irrespective of the user’s actual device. It will try to locate the person across all their entered numbers. This allows employees to travel or take client calls without the risk of missing an important call.

 

3. Unified Communications Center

Email, instant messaging, text messaging, and other collaborative capabilities can be integrated into office phones. Some well-known service providers also offer unique tools to help locate a called party and send an alert to the caller as to the called party’s whereabouts.

 

4. Doubles as a Mobile Device

Wireless desk phone models provide the features of a desk phone with the convenience of a cell phone. This allows the user to move freely within a building while still able to send and receive calls, chat, or send instant messages.

What isn’t going away is the need for businesses to remain connected among employees and with customers. Traditional telephony services have historically dominated business communications, and while voice communications are evolving, they remain essential.

How Does VoIP Work?

Now that we’re familiar with VoIP basics let’s get down on how it utilizes technology to make phone calls. Traditional phone calls run via a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) over cables, copper wiring, or a mobile network. VoIP calls are made over the same Internet Protocol (IP) network. The only catch is, it uses a VoIP application or server to connect calls to other telephone networks and devices.

 

In VoIP, your analog voice signal is converted into packets of data transmitted to the receiver through the Internet and decoded back into voice at the other end. VoIP is based on the SIP system wherein any SIP compatible equipment can talk to one another—not requiring additional equipment. You only need a configured your SIP phone plugged into an Internet connection and you’re good to go.

 

At its core, as long as you have an internet connection, you are ready to use a VoIP. A typical VoIP setup involves a VoIP provider and a desk phone. But today, various applications exists that enhances user experience, such as high definition voice and video. It works even better because it offers top emerging technology features such as the cloud than what analog line could provide. Since VoIP uses the internet, your data is securely stored in the cloud. Which proves that modern IP telephony is more than just voice. You can have a reliable phone system that keeps your employees connected at a reasonable cost.    

 

Digital transformation is changing the way business is done. Traditional methods of communication are evolving, fueling new levels of productivity, scalability, agility. For enterprises that embrace modern technologies, they can deliver new customer experiences, find new areas of growth, and edge out the competition. Hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has been a talking point for a while. Today, this technology is a proven approach to solving specific challenges and delivers some distinct benefits.

The Benefits of Investing in a Hosted VoIP

Businesses looking to upgrade their communications technology quickly find that a cloud communications solution offers many advantages. Take a look at some of the reasons that compel companies to switch to hosted VoIP phone service:

  • Opportunities for collaboration, such as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). Shared workspaces and a single application for all communications makes it easier to work with colleagues across regardless of their physical location.
  • Enterprises can add and delete users as their business demands. For example, companies with holiday demand or pop-up shops use this functionality to expand and contract easily.
  • Reduced costs. Hosted VoIP virtually eliminates long-distance fees. There are no significant upfront investments in hardware. You also save on maintenance with no hardware replacement cycle.
  • One of the benefits of hosted VoIP is the ability to integrate with other customer relationship management solutions.
  • Geographical flexibility. When you remove the physical hardware from the deployment model, your employees can work from nearly any location.
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery. Cloud communications are inherently redundant with geographically disparate data centers. If disaster strikes, your business can quickly regain its communications.
  • You are no longer reliant on physical hardware changes. You can make decisions and changes to your system quickly without new hardware. No matter what your direction, your VoIP system will adapt to you.

 

What are your options for VoIP?

Let’s face it. Your company needs a robust communications system to operate. Most businesses still rely on a customer being able to pick up the phone and talk to someone live. The choices you make about your telephony systems can have a meaningful impact on your revenue, employee productivity, and future growth. What are the options? This article looks at the basics of IP Trunking, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking, and Primary Rate Interface (PRI).

SIP trunking and IP trunking are not competing technologies. If your business is being asked to pick a telephony service based on either SIP or IP trunking, it is time to find another provider. That said, for businesses that want to migrate from a legacy phone system to a modern communications solution, it is easy to see how these terms enter the discussion. There are an incredible number of options available for business communications. The options range from completely online to the traditional PBX. The best solution for your business depends on the level of technical resources available within your company and the functionality you need for your communications.

 

IP trunking

Most users think of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) as offering the most features at the best price and requiring the least onsite support. This is also where “IP trunking” comes into the equation. IP trunking is when an organization is using VoIP for their communications and needs to connect all the phones into their IP network.

To add a little further clarity, a “trunk” referred to a bundle of lines that are shared by a group of users. You can think of it like a massive tree and the branches are the lines going to the individual office phones. You might hear IP trunking used interchangeably with VoIP for this reason. These services tend to go hand in hand. 

 

SIP trunking

SIP trunking is also a VoIP technology based on session initiation protocol (SIP). SIP a type of communications protocol that enables multimedia communications. In this model – the business is buying raw connectivity. The SIP trunk would likely connect into an onsite IP PBX to deliver advanced voice services.

 

SIP trunking: Flexibility and functionality

Newer to the marker is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) delivered through SIP trunking. SIP trunking is a hosted cloud service that runs your calls, in addition to a variety of other communications formats, over the internet. There are a few reasons why you may want to choose SIP trunking for your company:

 

SIP trunking uses a VoIP line to initiate and end calls, but it also supports a variety of other transmissions, including SMS messages, video conferencing, and data transmissions. For companies prioritizing unified communications, SIP trunking provides the right technology.

 

You only pay for the number of SIP trunking channels you need, when you need them. If you need 23 channels, you pay for 23 channels. If you need 28, then you pay for 28. This flexibility could lower costs by up to 30 – 40 percent when compared with PRI trunking and integration with other communications tools.

 

Organizations that choose a SIP trunking service need to be sure they have the necessary bandwidth, as well as sufficient network security. The SIP trunking vendor selection matters and should include consideration of a variety of factors because quality levels and service levels can differ dramatically.

 

Choosing SIP trunking helps relieve maintenance of the phone system from the IT staff, and could significantly reduce the cost of telephone service. It also supports mobile employees and helps drive increases in revenue when used to support a unified communications strategy.

 

PRI trunking

Communications technology has evolved a lot over the last 40 years, but PRI systems are still an option. PRI has been around since the 80s and works well for many companies. The physical copper wires in your building deliver this traditional voice service. It doesn’t rely on data bandwidth to host calls, which is why it was historically touted as providing a higher quality of service.

 

Each PRI line can simultaneously support 23 separate communications (voice, data, or video) at the same time. It is unlikely that all 23 lines will be active at once, and with that in mind, businesses usually have a ratio of users to PRI. When an organization adds new users, they have to be mindful of their PRI limits. Adding a new PRI trunk can be expensive and cumbersome, with a company waiting weeks to add another communications line.

 

With all the drawbacks and considerations, PRI trunking is often a good option for companies that don’t have access to fiber-optic internet connectivity or enough bandwidth to support IP-hosted phones.

 

Do I need PRI, SIP, or IP trunking?

The decision on the type of communications service often comes down the availability of onsite resources. A SIP trunk would provide the dial tone and the ability to deliver multimedia services, but your organization would still need to manage its communications. A VoIP service, over an IP trunk, would provide the complete service.

Here are a few things to consider when making a decision about phone service:

 

IP trunking

In IP trunking, voice transmissions are considered data, and they are communicated over data connections. This contrasts with traditional plain old telephone service (POTS) lines that transmit voice through electrical-based signals. IP trunking is an alternative to a private branch exchange (PBX) system, rather than an alternative to SIP trunking.

 

The benefits of IP trunking include:

  • Measurable cost savings
  • Excellent scalability to add and remove lines
  • Sophisticated multimedia communications
  • Mobility

 

Potential drawbacks of IP trunking include:

  • There must be sufficient data connectivity to ensure the quality of service
  • Power outages could affect handsets
  • Public internet connectivity can affect the ability of IP trunking to work effectively

 

SIP trunking

SIP trunking is a standard approach for handling the transmission of multimedia communications. As an alternative to PBX phone systems, SIP trunking is a way to support VoIP telephony with services hosted either on-site and managed by the IT team, or in a cloud server with a monthly subscription.

 

The benefits of including SIP trunking in a communications service subscription include:

  • SIP can support a variety of media types
  • SIP integrates with other platforms easily because it is an open standard
  • SIP supports multimedia data transmission, with multiple transmissions occurring simultaneously

 

The potential drawbacks of SIP trunking include:

  • It can be challenging to find a skilled SIP specialist
  • While SIP is considered open standard, there are some exceptions with its features

Organizations that want to drive cost savings and improvements in productivity and mobile connectivity should consider all the relevant options. While IP trunking and SIP trunking are not competing technologies, they are each an important consideration for updating communications.

 

Why switch to VoIP?

Back in the days before digital communications were invented, staying connected with someone was cumbersome. You needed a dedicated landline connection to send and receive calls. Landlines use hard phone copper lines to transmit calls from one phone to another. It requires a significant amount of bandwidth and only supports limited types of calls. The hardware also must run a type of communication connection, which was expensive.

 

Most Americans are cutting the cord on landlines and now switching to digitized communication. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems function like a conventional landline phone that relies on data connectivity to transmit communications through the power of the Internet.  It can deliver voice services and provide a variety of powerful business communication services. You might find that investing in a business VoIP communication systems reinvigorates your business practices and introduce new opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

 

The VoIP industry is expected to increase its market size to at least $55 billion by 2025, making the demand for adopting this solution overwhelming. Look at these VoIP advantages that can benefit your business.

 

Transitioning to VoIP provides benefits far beyond the cost savings. While companies that have a lot of global calling can achieve substantial savings, there important productivity benefits as well. Below are a few VoIP advantages:

 

1. Scalability

VoIP can quickly scale to your needs. Businesses seeing growth can rely on VoIP to adjust as it is easy to configure. As new opportunities come, you can customize your plan without the downtime and hassle of setting up a whole new system. Whether you’re simply launching a new campaign or growing your business, you can trust VoIP on taking care of your changing business communication needs.

 

2. Reduced Costs

Significant investments in hardware or devices are typically unnecessary when implementing VoIP. You only need an Internet connection to carry both voice and data, which consolidates your phone and Internet bills into one—eliminating the need for a dedicated phone line. The service provider also handles maintenance, which frees your IT department to work on more strategic plans and spend less time troubleshooting. Also, finance departments tend to be fans of the subscription pay model that comes with VoIP, because it can be categorized as operating expenses, rather than having a single, large capital investment.

 

3. Mobility

More employees expect organizations to support bring–your–own–device (BYOD) programs. VoIP is an amazing tool for promoting mobility. For example, users can send and receive calls from any location using their own device—making distance and location as not a hindrance and allowing telecommuting easy for the workforce.

The growing adoption of corporate Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs and the increasing affordability of smartphones and mobile computing devices are behind the booming mobile workforce. American market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts the mobile worker population in the U.S. to grow from 96.2 million in 2015 to 105.4 million in 2020, or almost three-quarters of the total U.S. workforce.

Workers are now able to download work documents from any company-approved device wherever they are and whenever they need to. They can, thus, do their jobs as efficiently as when they are in their offices. This privilege allows them to be more productive while making them more empowered and happier employees.

 

4. Simplified System

Unified communications integrate phoning, messaging, conferencing, and video. This set up allows devices to connect over the Internet without any wirings between them. It enables the features of a traditional PBX experience voice quality better than a traditional phone connection. Removing the complexity out of a PBX makes things easier. It offers a simplified maintenance and support through a single vendor.

 

5. One network, multiple locations

VoIP is capable of supporting legacy systems while carrying voice, data, and video traffic over one physical network across multiple locations. For unified communications (UC) managers, it means more streamlined communications management, reduced personnel cost, and minimized telephone subscription and long distance call fees.

Service providers also offer bundled add-on services that are comparatively cheaper than when purchased individually from different vendors. These include video and audio conferencing, voicemail to email transcription, integrated messaging, interactive voice recognition, and auto attendant.

 

6. Productivity

A more unified but simplified communications system that enhances productivity

Legacy phone systems can only offer so much, but VoIP technology provides many more opportunities because of its capability of integrating with third-party protocols and applications. Users can hold video conferences, share and exchange images and documents, and work collaboratively from disparate locations. These features help save travel costs and time inherent in the conduct of physical meetings at external venues.

 

7. Automated and Smart

Everything connected to the Internet has become smart — smart watches, smart homes, smart refrigerators, driverless cars, self-lacing shoes — so why can’t messaging be smart? Office managers need only to select a list of contacts that need the information and push a button to relay information to all concerned parties simultaneously through email, voicemail, text messaging, or phone call. With a streamlined and more efficient internal communications system, the office can be a happier place in which to work.

 

8. Customer Service

Satisfied customers become loyal customers from whom companies can expect repeat business. VoIP offers an efficient call management feature to ensure that every customer call is answered. Call routing speeds up customer response time while findme/followme routing directs calls to their intended recipients. Call screening allows prioritization of calls while instant conferencing promotes a better customer experience.

Features of VoIP

There are a wide variety of features that make VoIP systems attractive to enterprises. A few features typically included in a VoIP system are:

Unified communications. Imagine being able to access all your business communications, including email, SMS, video conferencing, and voice services from a single application. This provides consistent customer experience and streamlines communications.

Video conferencing. Today’s business involves working with people around the globe. Video conferencing supports virtual teaming to make it feel as if everyone was in the same room. Additionally, it offers important benefits to human resources, who can interview via video conferencing and save on travel expenses.

Shared workspaces. As virtual teams become the norm, productivity tools like shared workspaces, real-time conferencing, and other features make it possible for seamless collaboration.

Mobile technology management. More employees expect organizations to support bring your own device (BYOD) programs. You can now manage these from one integrated platform.

How much does business VoIP cost?

Deciding whether to adopt a VoIP solution for your business is simple. Once you have a clear quote available, all you need is a yes or no. The difficulty comes in when it’s time to choose the right solution that could cater to your business needs. You should be aware when acquiring a service, you must think outside the box. Think about additional expenses hidden beneath the surface in the long run.

First is to understand the total cost of ownership (TCO). Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is your financial envelope. TCO lays down all the costs during the lifecycle of a product. It is crucial to have an in-depth TCO to determine the costs associated with your VoIP solution. 

Below will unveil the financial merits of acquiring VoIP:

1. Upfront costs

You need to examine the features being offered to get the best value out of your investment. Research and dig up reviews from other companies. It will give you an overview of the quality of the VoIP system you want to select. While high-quality phone systems will come at much higher price points, it does not mean that it comes all-in with hardware and equipment. Remember that additional costs may arise for headsets, webcams, and network connection.

Look at the payment options as well. Getting it outright carries a steep upfront cost. Paying a monthly subscription or renting from a reputable third party can also be an option. 

 

2. Implementation costs

Upfront costs are the starting point. Implementation costs is on a deeper level. It is the actual cost you deal with as you design, deploy, and configure a VoIP system. Installing a completely new phone system requires experts. You’ll need to hire experts who can teach employees how to use the VoIP system effectively and securely. Some businesses pay consultants or managed services provider (MSP) for guidance and support.

 

3. Operational costs

Operational cost is the heart of everything. This covers monthly recurring costs of voice and data plans. For example, some service providers charge local and long-distance calls per minute, while others offer unlimited local calls for a fixed monthly cost. 

If you’re managing your own VoIP system, consider expenses such as monthly power, cooling, and maintenance fees. Getting someone who can host for you will save you from these costs.

 

4. Upgrade costs

Technology improvements happen from time to time. Setting aside an additional 10-15% of your budget to VoIP upgrades comes in handy for the future. Having an upgrade plan is crucial especially if your business is growing at an increasing rate. As you cope with this growth, consider major or minor upgrades will come in the way. For example, integrating a customer relationship management (CRM) software to your VoIP system will be useful if your business focuses on quality customer service. These integrations mostly require additional costs so preparing an allowance is helpful.

VoIP system costs are understandable. There are numerous choices and decisions to make prior to selecting your VoIP provider. The real cost comes down once you look at the bigger picture. Evaluating the TCO will give you a clear idea of how much you can expect in paying a VoIP system. 

How to choose a VoIP System?

The rapid rise of the Internet has allowed digital communication to introduce Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as one of the emerging technologies of the century. The adoption of VoIP has given answers to common dilemmas of businesses face—bringing in a cost-effective and flexible communication solution. Today, companies that want to operate remotely are utilizing the VoIP to streamline long-distance communication and save thousands of dollars yearly.

 

If your organization frequently do calls to and from all over the world, then you’re familiar that the charges for long-distance calls require a massive amount of budget. VoIP is designed to turn a standard call made through Internet free. VoIP helps maximize your investments by filling in the gap your carrier to route calls between offices.

 

The popularity brought by the VoIP technology resulted in increased adoption of the solution for the improvement of their telecommunication network. In certain instances, basic knowledge of VoIP is required. This guide provides telecommunication managers and data communications managers with an introduction to Voice over IP and how they may benefit from voice and data convergence.

How to prepare for VoIP

 

1. Determine your business goals.

Understanding VoIP technology is an excellent start to know whether the technology is for you. And once you’re familiar with how VoIP works and how it can impact your businesses, you can start aligning the solutions available with your long-term business goals. Will the adoption of VoIP be to serve your customers better? Or will the adoption be to lower down operational expenses? Questions like these will help you coordinate your needs and goals. You’ll also get a glimpse of what features and capabilities your next voice solution needs and what you’ll likely need down the road. 

 

2. Assess your user’s needs

Quite often, a business is unsure of what they need from VoIP. Here are some questions to get you started in assessing your VoIP needs:

 

  • What typed of VoIP service should be deployed for each employee?
  • How many are the common users?
  • How many are the power users?
  • How many of your users will require the service?

 

Asking the question above can help you map out which options would be best for your VoIP needs. If you have many users, its best to search for provider like BlackPoint IT that offers the best price-quality.

 

A company with higher needs will benefit from cost advantages–as it would require a large order. Your choice now depends on what is the best fit for each of your user. BlackPoint IT has a carrier division that delivers appropriate telecom and communication needs for your organization.

 

Since VoIP is routed through the internet, you need to make sure you’re providing reliable communications to all your users. So, look for a service provider that has proven reliability and coverage where you need it.

 

3. Decide which business VoIP features are critical

The standard features on a business VoIP includes extension dialing, voicemail-to-email, auto-attendant, and ring group routing rules. But today’s top services offer much more, from video chat apps and presence for collaboration to a live call queue dashboard.

 

  • Mobility

Easily access, coordinate and collaborate without worrying about any disconnection of service.

Ensuring seamless connectivity from your mobile devices, tablets or laptops with no trouble.

 

  • Softphone

A soft phone is a feature that allows you to receive and make calls off of your desktop phone. It turns your computer or mobile phone into a web-based phone, providing you the same features as any other extension.

 

  • Automatic Call Distributor

An intelligent feature that can quickly route incoming calls to specific agent or individual that is best qualified to attend to the client’s need.

 

  • Voicemail to Email Messaging

This feature allows a user to move a voicemail message into an email transcript–helping speed up communication for people.

 

  • Auto-attendant

An auto-attendant is a message that presents an options menu and greets callers. This feature is perfect for small-medium sized companies who do not have a receptionist. It is also ideal for companies that have many departments. An auto attendant can make it much access to each department simpler and quicker.

 

Modern VoIP providers also offer integrations with other hosted products and services. So it’s best to think about the tools your business could benefit from every day.

 

4. Budget

VoIP is best known for providing businesses with a cost-efficient solution. While VoIP costs less, the overall budget will still vary—depending on your business needs. Understanding the correct needs of your VoIP deployment can help you stay within your budget

 

What is needed?

• Network Infrastructure

You need to evaluate your network infrastructure to avoid headaches later. Consider items like the age of your network switch, cabling infrastructure and current internet speeds.

 

For most organizations, a full infrastructure replacement isn’t in the budget. It also isn’t likely that you need to replace everything at the same time. Consider upgrading items that play a significant role in network performance. BlackPoint IT services will provide expertise and replacement on the required hardware.

 

• Bandwidth

Businesses today rely on connectivity. Bandwidth or internet speed is the most data you can transfer at a given time. Most businesses need a level of bandwidth that will enable their employees to access files and communicate using web-based applications.

 

So before you make the switch to VoIP, you need to know if your connection can handle and support VoIP without causing any performance issues. VoIP is known for being bandwidth-intensive. If multiple users are on the phone simultaneously, you’ll need to ensure you have enough bandwidth to support your calls.  Running a real-time communication system on your network is similar to streaming a movie on Netflix or Disney Plus—you need enough bandwidth to produce outstanding VoIP quality.

 

• Traffic Segmentation

When you have a variety of services running on a single network, you need to evaluate the sensitivities of each data streams. Voice and video are more sensitive to delays than email. Its best to know whether you have a virtual local area network placed. VLAN allows you to prioritize data traffic according to their sensitivity to network delays so that performance and quality of service (QoS) are supported. A VLAN can eliminate worries about dropped calls, jitter, or latency. At BlackPoint IT, our trained staffs specializes on making sure each of your streams receive the best quality.

 

Questions to ask your when considering a VoIP Provider

Just like any other service all are not created equal. How do you know whether you’re partnering with the right technology company for hosted voice? Consider these few questions before choosing a provider:

 

1. How long have you been in business?

Knowing that the business has been in the industry for years can give your company a peace of mind. However, this does not mean you should ignore new kids on the block but you certainly want to be aware of the company’s history. Sometimes choosing a new provider can be a great experience as they have less demands from other customers and offer a top notch and more personal customer experience.

 

2. What features are offered?

Even if you’re not wanting to invest in collaborative tools right now, you will want the option in the future as unified communications become more commonly accessed. Look for hosted voice that offers good Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) mobility, which means that it’s easy for a number to travel with a handset or mobile device. You can also determine which unified communications tools might appeal to you, such as call recording and video conferencing.

 

3. What support is offered? Who handles their customer service?

You want to invest in hosted voice that’s backed up by high-quality support. If a company outsources their customer service, this is an indication that controlling costs may take priority over service and may not offer the level of support you need. Look for live, active support personnel, one-call resolution, proactive monitoring and a variety of customer service access options.

 

4. What happens in a worst-case scenario?

A hosted voice service should have a well-developed disaster recovery strategy as part of a bigger business continuity plan. Find out how they handle more routine problems like network congestion, and how they prevent bigger crises, such as a security breach and natural disaster planning.

 

Selecting a VoIP Service Provider

Choosing a hosted voice solution is one thing and choosing a VoIP service is another–can become a daunting task. You need to know your business is in the right hands, with the right provider who will connect you with a voice solution your business can use well into the future. To make things easier, here are some pointers to keep in mind:

 

• Cost

Cost is an important aspect to look into when choosing a VoIP service provider. Typically, VoIP service providers will give you an itemized document of expenses you would expect to pay over the course of the contract. If the service provider is not upfront when it comes to the expected bills, then consider that a major red flag. It is best to look for a provider that imposes transparency from start to finish.

 

• Proactive Monitoring and Remediation

Ensure that the VoIP service provider you are choosing promises to oversee all activities related to the service. As mentioned before, VoIP is bandwidth sensitive. Your choice in a VoIP provider should be able to alert your business about expected patching and system updates. That way, disruptions are kept to a minimum and maintenance windows are provided in advance. Unexpected disruption can impact your business or, worse, lead to lost opportunities.

 

• Customer Service Support

Businesses depend on their voice systems to enable seamless communication to move forward. Your next VoIP service provider must have swift phone responses 24/7 to ensure that all issues are resolved quickly–whether its email, chat, help desk and more. If they can’t offer that, you might want to look elsewhere.

 

• Privacy and Security

Security is a priority for every cloud-based technology. Especially for an internet-connected application like VoIP, one that’s serving as the hub of your business communications, inside-out security measures are even more imperative. Your next VoIP service provider should ensure that all calls are encrypted and safe from bad actors. Privacy and security is expected to work together in your next VoIP solution. 

Planning a Migration

As you move away from a premises-based legacy phone service, you need a strategy for the transition. There are several factors you should include in your approach:

 

• Implementation

When planning your migration, you’ll need to determine not only the capabilities and features of the new service but also the level of service and support you should expect with your new service. Be sure to ask what you can expect after implementation in terms of support. Additionally, consider if you need a partner to help you. Even if you can navigation the installation alone, consider if a third-party would help you make the right selection on hosted VoIP for your business.

 

Functionality

Today’s business VoIP services offer a lot of options. You have a shortlist of services your business needs, but what about the other features and functionality available? Make sure you understand all the options and which ones will add genuine value to your business. Again, an expert partner can help you here, so you aren’t sifting through hosted VoIP solutions blindly.

 

• Sustainability

Be sure to ask the vendors for the services you are considering about their innovation plans. There are a lot of options available, and you want a service that will support the growth of your enterprise. Try to get a sense of the vendor’s willingness to offer new features, financial considerations, and whether the provider is proactive in their innovation efforts.

 

• Economics

Cost is a significant factor in technology purchases. There is more to consider than just the initial pricing for implementation. You should be mindful of your total cost of ownership, including licensing, usage, as well as help desk, and other fees.

The right communications system can fuel a significant competitive advantage in your organization. The right technology partner can help you make the best choice based on your unique business and goals. Understanding your company’s needs is the first step before deployment. Get the most of your investment by knowing your company’s specific needs. Start with getting a business voice assessment with a BlackPoint IT expert.

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