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What you need to know about choosing a VoIP service in Davis
Businesses of all sizes are making the switch from the traditional telephone service to a VoIP service. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It basically means treating your audio communications as standard network data. This may sound like a step backward as compared to giving them their own dedicated infrastructure and in some ways it is, but in many ways, it’s a huge step forwards. With that in mind, here’s a quick guide to what you need to know about choosing a VoIP service in Davis.
The traditional telephone system works by converting soundwaves to electrical energy, which is passed through dedicated lines and then converted back into soundwaves at the other side. Cell phones work in essentially the same way, except they transfer the electrical energy through radio waves. VoIP converts soundwaves into data packets that can be transferred over the internet, regular or mobile.
This not only means that you can ditch all the hardware associated with regular telephones, but also that you can use the data as regular data. This offers massive scope not just for implementing more advanced call-management features in a cost-effective manner, but also for integrating your audio communications with other systems.
The issue of hardware
When you work with a traditional telco, they take care of almost all the hardware. All you have to do is buy your desktop phones and even businesses can get these very inexpensively if they just want basic functionality. When you switch to VoIP, you become responsible for all of your hardware, including, and arguably especially, your network infrastructure.
With VoIP, the quality of your calls depends significantly on the quality of your network infrastructure and, in particular, the availability of bandwidth. This means that there is a good chance you will need to upgrade your IT infrastructure significantly before you can effectively implement VoIP and that’s assuming you “just” want audio. If you want video-calling as well then your requirements go up massively. This means that you are probably going to have to spend money before you can start saving money.
Softphones versus VoIP handsets
This is really a sub-point of hardware but it’s important enough to be worth highlighting on its own. Although the state of your network infrastructure will be far and away the biggest factor in determining the quality of your VoIP service, the endpoints matter too. Your choice of endpoints basically comes down to softphones and dedicated VoIP handsets.
Softphones are essentially pieces of software or app, which work by using the capabilities of the hardware on which they are installed, usually computers or mobile devices. Many SMBs love softphones because they eliminate the need to have hardware on a desk and when space is at a premium, this can be a major win. Also, softphones allow for more flexibility in use, for example, if you decide your computer’s microphone isn’t good enough, you can just upgrade it.
On the other hand, VoIP handsets are, literally, created to support VoIP and so should be exactly what you need. Also, some people are just used to the idea of having a phone and prefer to stick with that.
Understanding VoIP and costs
For all the capabilities of VoIP, it’s probably fair to say that the single, biggest reason why businesses have been so eager to adopt it is that it offers scope for significant cost savings as compared to the regular phone network. It is, however, important to keep your eyes open when switching to a VoIP service so that you are clear about what this means in practice.
In general, part of the cost savings associated with VoIP will come from lower calling costs and part will come from process improvements. The exact ratio will depend on the company. Usually, companies will start to notice lower calling costs at a fairly early stage, but the benefits of process improvements will often take time to make themselves felt and may require some further investments.
The reason why it’s relatively easy to make savings on calling costs is that it only requires people to do exactly what they’ve always done, namely to use a phone as a phone. Benefitting from more advanced functionality, however, means working out how that functionality can be used in your business and then teaching your users what they need to do to make that happen.
In short, therefore, you should expect the initial implementation costs to be only part of the total cost of switching to a VoIP service and you should also expect there to be a “bedding in” period before you start to feel the real benefits of your new VoIP service.
If you’d like to speak to a reputable and experienced VoIP service partner in Davis, please click here now to contact Aperio.IT