The internet age has taken communication to levels the world couldn’t imagine 30 years ago. The first thoughts that usually come to mind revolve around advances in email, cloud servers and video conferencing. Most people don’t immediately think of the internet as improving phone and voice services. There were days when a phone number was tied to a single wall jack with a corded phone. The creation of mobile phones increased that flexibility by an exponential margin, but utilizing them is not always practical or cost-effective, especially for businesses. This is where VoIP technology can help. It provides flexible voice solutions that leverage the use of the internet, corded headsets and mobile devices together.
Talking Via the Internet
VoIP is shorthand for Voice Over Internet Protocol. The term internet protocol is essentially referring to the internet, or more specifically an address that defines a device on the network. VoIP phone systems do not rely on the traditional copper phone lines and standard wall jacks once universal to all landlines. Instead, they utilize what is commonly known as an Ethernet cable, or the standard communication cord for the internet.
So how does voice travel over the same structure as all that computer data? In essence, voices are converted to bits of data that computer networks can understand, sent through the system and received on the other end. The other caller does not have to be using a VoIP in order to communicate. There are several ways to enable this type of voice technology:
- Use an IP Phone. These phones are built for VoIP and have everything inside of them needed to function. Essentially a plug and play solution.
- Utilize an adapter. This is a way to utilize an existing analog phone and convert the signal to be used over the internet. This requires a bit more hardware and setup but is still a viable option.
- Talk over a computer. There are multiple software programs on the market that make this capable. In this case, no actual phone is required.
The Business Case for VoIP
While call quality is excellent over a VoIP system, it is still a voice to voice communication that may not look or sound much different on the surface than a traditional phone line. So what is a VoIP phone number used for that makes it beneficial? There are actually numerous reasons, but here are just a few:
- The phone number isn’t locked to a physical location. Those days of a phone number being tied to a wall jack are gone. If an employee changes cubicles, offices, buildings or even locations, then their phone number can travel with them.
- Be somewhere you’re not. If you have a headquarters or office in one state but offer services somewhere else, you may not want customers calling a toll-free number or long-distance area code. With VoIP, local area code and number can be assigned to a phone even though the call may be answered hundreds of miles away.
- Overall cost savings. That’s right, newer technology can actually save company money. This savings increases with the number of potential users since you are not paying for a phone “line” in the traditional sense.
- Increased portability. Employees no longer need to be sitting at their desks next to phone to receive a call at that number. It can be tied to a mobile device or computer. They can be travelling on the road or working from home. This provides a whole other level of user flexibility.
VoIP may seem like a complicated and out of reach technology. In reality, it is a simple and efficient phone service for the modern world.