Why the move?
In their search for a communication system that is not only flexible but also affordable, several companies around the word have found their solution in VoIP systems that can help them to streamline all their business communication with high proficiency.
In the past, most companies generally used Key systems that could only accommodate less than 10 phone lines per business. Key systems were fairly uncomplicated and used to operate through conventional phone lines or connections. However, most big enterprises that required connections for over 100 telephone ports used a form of Private Branch Exchange or PBX systems.
However, as technology progressed and the prices of telecommunication continued to scale down, it became more and more feasible for small, medium and large sized companies to move from traditional phone systems to VoIP systems or VoIP networks.
VoIP systems indeed had several advantages over traditional phone systems. For one, they were highly reliable and had gained extreme popularity because of the very fact that they were loaded with exceptional features. Compared to traditional phone systems, the VoIP systems were cost effective too.
Plus, these VoIP systems came with highly sophisticated telecom options such as:
> Automatic call distribution
> Auto attendant
> Call conferencing
> Voice mail
> Voice to email
> Find me/ Follow me call forwarding
> Custom menus
> Music on hold
> Fax to email and others
What’s more, one could use all these features without bothering to buy complex network systems, hardware or software and install them at the workplace. All requisite infrastructure was maintained at the site of the service provider. VoIP features could be easily delivered through a hosted server using a high speed Internet connection or a dedicated telephone network at economical monthly rental charges.
While these features still exist in present day, the list of advantages has only increased in length. Let us look at some other advantages of VoIP phone systems over traditional phone systems and how they assist businesses of all sizes with their advanced communication features and affordability and help them achieve their specific business goals:
Flexibility – the VoIP system offers business owners with superior geographical flexibility. With its effective and efficient call forwarding feature you can communicate with your clients on the move, fix meeting schedules with your vendors or office colleagues located at far away locations. You can actually extend your office system with the help of a DSL cable or FIOS and be in touch with your employees anytime, anywhere.
Scalability – the VoIP system is quite scalable when compared to traditional phone system. Should you want, you can arrange for multiple extensions from an existing phone connection so that all you think about is expanding your business with utmost ease and not bothering about buying and installing additional or extra phone connections.
Cost-efficiency – indeed the VoIP system is quite pocket-friendly too. More and more companies have switched to VoIP systems in order to cut down the expenses on their local or international outgoing calls. By using virtual telephone numbers, companies are able to slash their telecom overheads considerably. VoIP system allows companies to add a personal touch to their business by making several long distance calls in order to remain in constant touch with their clients. VoIP thus eases down the hefty pressure on their budgets. In fact, both small and medium sized companies have been paying a lot of attention to their expenditure on telecommunications and are trying to cut it down to remain in competition.
Utility – With the help of the web-based user interface of the VoIP system you can configure your PBX, listen to voicemails and delete them, create call queues and caller groups, upload music on hold and view records of call details as well as billing information.
Some important considerations for moving from PBX to VoIP infrastructure
Although the benefits of the VoIP system are quite apparent, companies are still baffled by the many offers provided by several vendors in the VoIP marketplace. However, if you have decided to make the move from PBX to VoIP, here are a few considerations that you must keep in mind:
The most important thing for a company to do before it makes the move from PBX to VoIP is to ensure that it has a secure LAN that can support both voice and data. Companies can use virtual LAN switches or managed switches which can help distinguish voice from data at the workstation level.
- The next thing to consider is network availability and flexibility. One may check the Ethernet switch to see if voice and video are being given preference over data. If the voice is not prioritized, users may face distractions on a call.
- Some important things to consider during VoIP configuration are employee number, mobile workforce and call center considerations such as the ability to queue calls. The age of a company’s PBX system should be taken into due consideration while weighing these factors since there might not be any need of replacing its hardware infrastructure. In fact, some vendors even suggest moving from PBX to VoIP system without changing the previous PBX infrastructure. In such cases companies can use VoIP interface cards or hub-like devices for their existing PBX systems that use VoIP for inter switch communication and support a combination of VoIP or traditional phone handsets off each hub.
- IT professionals must have the requisite technical expertise and intelligence and must look at the hardware including the phone and video equipment that they would use during the move from PBX to VoIP. A company can either hire a specialized VoIP phone or buy one. However, it is important to bear the proprietary issues in mind while buying VoIP phones.
- Power back-up must never be forgotten during VoIP implementation. The VoIP networks and most supporting routers run on UPS systems that provide electricity during a power cuts. Some VoIP networks come with battery back up. Since the power outage may range from 1 hour to several hours, an automated method to power down the phones must be used in order to save electricity when the phones are not in use.
A cultural change
VoIP is all set to drive home the concept of the ‘world being a global village’. The move from PBX to VoIP can lessen communication and infrastructure overheads by routing phone calls over existing data networks and avoiding duplicating network systems. However, this move will bring along a cultural change with regards to the use of telephones. VoIP will make it possible for people to use their lap tops and tablets as a telephone, dial an international number by clicking on a web page and maintain a virtual call center with diverse employees working from remote global locations.
About the Author:
Frank Johnson is a regular editorial contributor on technology products and services that help small to mid size businesses. To know more about the upgrades to VoIP technology and for queries pertaining to latest technological strategies, you can interact with him by clicking here