Voice over Internet Protocol commonly abbreviated to VOIP is a method of routing and receiving calls using the public internet.

Today VOIP is used by many businesses and consumers alike to reduce telephony call charges and provide global communications at a fraction of the cost of traditional telephone lines.

From a consumer perspective VOIP has revolutionised the way we communicate, a good example of this is the VOIP service provider Skype. The Skype service is now available across multiple devices ranging from the IPad and IPhone through to a PC with headset or Skype certified SIP phone or IP phones. Customers of Skype enjoy free calls to each other over any internet connection whilst not being tied to any geographical location.

Learning from the consumer orientated services such as Skype, VOIP services today are becoming business class solutions with integration into multiple systems. VOIP technology has become a cornerstone of communications solutions such within a unified communications environment. Today business and call centres alike use VOIP services to manage track and communicate with partners and internal staff alike.

Today VOIP technology has brought significant benefits to companies in terms of costs and flexibility with traditional phone systems being phased out within most organisations. Software vendors today provide ‘hooks’ into many VOIP features for example calling a contact directly from your email client or having a CRM system bring up a contacts records when they dial into your office systems.

The advances in VOIP technology has benefited business and consumers by enhanced security mechanisms and routing updates that allow devices to be wireless and non location dependant.

Now that VOIP has matured as a technology vendors are creating a plethora of features such as online call monitoring and cloud hosted PBX systems. Advanced features such as call recording, caller management and video conferencing have all become easily accessible with the majority of VOIP providers.

Portability of VOIP access platforms such as handheld devices have ensured that VOIP is a mainstream technology and here to stay.

VOIP services have many great features and functions which will benefit any organisation of any size and scope. We have listed below some of the great features VOIP technology offers.

  • Location independent

You could be in any city town country or location in the world as long as you have an internet connection you are able to receive and make calls using your access device.

  • Vendor support

VOIP has been integrated into many applications and services, ranging from your email client through to customer relationship CRM systems. VOIP services are now supported on a wide range of products and services with this trend set to continue.

  • Instantly deployed

Many VOIP providers offer softphones which are simple PC or mobile applications that allow you to instantly make or receive calls.

  • Enhanced features as standard

VOIP allows for simple conference calling between users, call forwarding and caller ID these services are usually free of charge for any subscribing VOIP user.

There are some compelling reasons to switch to a VOIP service in terms of cost, flexibility and operational benefits. As with most products though successful deployment and a good user experience is sometimes dependent on other factors, we have highlighted some of these factors below;

  • Internet connection

VOIP is reliant on the internet to send and receive calls. Before subscribing to a VOIP service always ask about bandwidth requirements based on the number of VOIP users accessing the service using your internet connection.

  • Concurrent users

How many users will be making calls at the same time? Always check line quality and try to test before entering into a long-term contract.

  • Number portability

Is the number unique to your organisation and what is the policy of the VOIP provider in terms of switching suppliers?

  • Variable Costs

Always check the call costs to devices such as mobiles or international calls and benchmark them against your current provider.

  • Handset Quality

Check compatibility of handsets and other calling devices with your VOIP provider and if possible test the IP-Phone your considering to deploy.

  • Customer Support Policy

What is the VOIP providers service level agreement and policy in terms of customer support in the event of an outage or downtime.

At Compare the Cloud we have assembled a fantastic range of VOIP providers. We’re here to help you get started and to identify the best provider for your needs. Take a few minutes to tell us about your organisation in our cloud comparison tool, and we’ll present you with some informed options – and help you take advantage of VOIP services!

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