With the PSTN Switch-Off on the horizon, VoIP is the technology all businesses will need to switch to in order for their business communications to be operational going forward. However, an Ofcom report has revealed that SMEs have ‘had concerns on the sale and servicing of Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions’. These concerns are largely due to decision makers within SMEs not possessing a clear understanding of what VoIP technology is and how it works, as well as the implications of using it within their business.
As VoIP is the technology that all business communication will be based upon in the very near future, it is vital that you have a clear idea of what it is. However, as a small business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Who has the time to sift through complicated articles and explanations of VoIP technology when you’ve got a business to run? All you need to know is what it is, what it does and how to implement it within your business before the switch off. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Welcome to your crash course in VoIP business phone systems. We’ll take a look at what VoIP is and how to pick the best business phone system that utilises this technology. Class is now in session – let’s get down to what you really need to know about VoIP telephony.
Let’s start with the basics. VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol and it does exactly what it says on the tin – it delivers calls using an internet connection. Chances are you will have already used some form of VoIP solution before, such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Whatsapp. Through using the internet rather than traditional telephone lines, VoIP telephony provides far more communication options, such as supporting video calls, instant message and more.
This is probably the information you’re most interested in, right? After all, if you have to invest in this technology at some point (which you will), you’ll want to know what return you’re going to see on this investment. So, let’s take a look!
The first, obvious benefit is that your business won’t face disruption when the PSTN Switch Off happens, as you will have moved away from traditional landline telephony, which relies on the PSTN network, to a VoIP business phone system. VoIP technology won’t become outdated quickly, so your business phone system is future-proofed and ready for any upcoming communications technology that emerges in the future.
From lengthy, complicated and disruptive installation periods to expensive hardware and complicated scaling processes, traditional landline is expensive. Further to this, business calls, especially international calls can rack up hefty bills. With VoIP telephony, there are no extortionate upfront costs. There’s no complicated wiring or installation and making the switch is easy and relatively quick. As it uses your existing broadband connection, there’s no need to pay for installation of new lines either.
Connect your VoIP business phone system to your business broadband via its dedicated application and away you go. There’s also no need to buy new hardware, if your current deskphones have the ability to be adapted into VoIP phones, you can continue to use them and you can utilise your VoIP phone system across a range of devices including mobiles, tablets and using PCs and laptops as softphones.
When it comes to call costs, VoIP calls will generally work out cheaper than traditional landline telephony. With VoIP business phone systems, you will usually pay a monthly subscription that covers the licences you use, minutes and other allowances, rather than a cost per call. When it comes to calling internationally, VoIP telephony, is far cheaper than traditional landline telephony. No more surprise charges showing up on your bill or expensive cost-per-minute fees racking up every month.
Access a Range of Features
From call recording to unifying multiple communication channels, such as instant messaging, video and more within one platform, a VoIP business phone system provides so much more than your PSTN-reliant system. Boost productivity with collaboration tools, such as file sharing and live document editing. Provide the best experience for your customers with omni-channel contact centre built-in to your VoIP solution. Safeguard your business with disaster recovery features, such as re-routing calls to mobiles, should you experience disruption within your premises.
Another key question that may be on your mind when considering VoIP technology is how secure is it? Cybersecurity, is a big factor when it comes to choosing any solution, as the risks to your business, should your security be compromised can be incredibly damaging. When using online technology, security is always a major concern. Whether it’s online banking or entering personal details within online forms, for many of us, the risks of using the internet and how it can compromise our security are very real fears. The same can be said for businesses.
However, using VoIP telephony is no more risky than using any other internet-based technology within your business. VoIP calls are made using your business broadband, therefore you are placing calls within your internal IT infrastructure. As long as you’re following best practices and have the correct measures in place to keep your existing infrastructure secure, you shouldn’t have any issues with making the move to VoIP calls. If your internet connections are insecure or there are security vulnerabilities within your existing infrastructure, then this is what can put your data at risks, rather than VoIP technology itself. Take care of your infrastructure, keep your team informed and educated on cybersecurity best practice and ensure you are investing in suitable cybersecurity safeguarding measures and the rest will take care of itself.
Yes, is the short answer. If your current phone system is relying on the PSTN, this is no longer going to work in the near future, as this network will be switched off by 2025. This might sound a long way off, but this is just a deadline. There isn’t somebody waiting with a big red switch to turn off the PSTN on the stroke of midnight on 1st January 2025 – although that would be quite cool. This is a gradual process where the network will be switched off by location all over the country and it’s already started with some businesses already losing access to this network. To prevent disruption and avoid overspending, it’s better to switch sooner rather than later.
Now, you’ve completed your crash course in VoIP telephony, it’s time to put this knowledge to good use and start looking for the best VoIP phone system for your business. The best place to start is engaging with a knowledgeable provider. Elite Group have over 20 years’ experience in the communications industry. We take the hassle out of finding the right solution for your business. When you work with us, our specialists will take the time to get to know you, your business and its needs to find the VoIP office phone system that’s perfect for you. Our dedicated account managers will take care of your contract to ensure you’re always receiving the best value. Finally, our partnerships with the biggest brands in the industry allows access to the best solutions. Contact us today and let’s work together to implement VoIP within your business, today!