Picture this: You are sitting at a café in Italy looking incredibly good, junior executive material even. And you are doing business on your laptop and making calls on your smartphone to your office in the U.S without having to worry about the cost of making multiple long overseas phone calls. As a matter of fact you have been staying in Italy for the past two months and have been using a phone with a US area code allowing people to call you as if you were still in the US. How is this all possible? With the magic of VoIP.
VoIP or Voice over IP or even internet telephony is a new system that uses the internet instead of phone lines to transmit your calls, much like a computer does with normal data. It is now becoming the go to solution for businesses that want to have a phone line with all the available services at a fraction of the cost and effort needed for a traditional office phone line, and here is why:
- Reduction of operation costs – A VoIP system cost significantly less to install and operate than a traditional phone network. The installation is minimal, and can be infinitely modified or expanded, which means you do not need to install a new line every time you add a phone or an employee moves his office. This is because the system does not rely on the infrastructure normally required to for a telephone network. This allows VoIP providers to offer their services to businesses at the lowest possible price.
- Maintenance – The system is easy to run and maintain, usually requiring just a technician or two rather than an entire team. Maintenance is done remotely in no time at all which is a welcome change from waiting for days for a technician to arrive.
- Mobility – Now we are getting to the Italy part. Using VoIP allows you to take your phone system with you wherever you go using your laptop or your smart phone. All you need is Wi-Fi or an internet connection. Now your clients and colleagues can stay in touch using the same number they always use.
- Added services and features – features like having your voice mails and faxes forwarded to your email inbox, or call forwarding allow you to streamline your day, making it more efficient. Due to the system using data instead of phone lines you are now also able to conduct seamless video conferences with other parties. Usually most of these features come as standard in VoIP but you would have to pay an additional fee for them in a traditional phone system.
When you do opt for a VoIP system, you can also decide to use a virtual number, for example like getting a Chicago area code, if your customers are in Chicago but your business is based somewhere else. The system also works in tandem with a traditional phone network, allowing you to replace it gradually, and give time for the operators to get used to it. This partial implementation is also goo if you want to try out the services of a certain provider to see if you like it.
The service provider will also find a solution that suits your needs, removing the need for you to DIY it in addition to securing the network from outside users.
Whatever the scale or nature of your business, there is something for you. Small businesses are usually trying to balance investing in necessary equipment to run a respectable business and keeping the expenditures within budget. IP telephony is one great way to save money without having to settle for lesser quality service or professionalism.