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Internet VoIP phones: The choice of businesses

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As we move further into an age of digital transformation, business communications are rapidly evolving with the deployment of new technologies. 

The business world is increasingly connected, and legacy phone systems no longer live up to the shifting communication standards of consumers and business leaders alike. Enter: Voice over Internet Protocol—VoIP, for short. 

In recent years, VoIP phone systems have become the go-to for businesses seeking to enhance internal and external connectivity, reduce costs, and empower employees with the tools they need to work efficiently and productively. 

If you’re just learning about the concept of VoIP and how it can boost your business, then you’re in the right place. 

In this article, we’ll delve into all things VoIP so you can decide whether it’s time for your business to make the switch.

What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) refers to technology that allows users to make and receive calls via the internet, as opposed to traditional telephone networks. There are numerous VoIP solutions available for business and home use.

VoIP technology is used by businesses of all shapes and sizes as a cheaper, faster, and more convenient alternative to calling using traditional landlines and analog phones.

You might also hear VoIP phone services referred to as IP phones, cloud-based telephony, cloud phone, or hosted telephony. IP phones are digitally designed and are usually approved and added to the network.

VoIP services leverage the internet to deliver the functionality of traditional on-premises phone systems, and much more. IP telephony provides numerous benefits for a small business or mid-sized business by cutting the costs associated with features like call recording, call forwarding, instant messaging, and international calling. 

As long as the user has a stable internet connection, with a VoIP phone system, they can make phone calls with high-definition voice quality and access a range of business phone advanced features. All from various devices including softphones, desktop computers, and mobile devices.

How do VoIP business phones work?

VoIP uses digital phones that can provide comparable voice quality to traditional PTSNs by using packet switching technology and a variety of internet protocols. Instead of using copper-wired phone networks to transmit calls, VoIP relies on computer networks. This is what happens, at the most basic level:

  1. Voice data packets are compressed and sent to the VoIP service provider.
  2. Data signals are routed to the receiver.
  3. The packets are uncompressed and the receiver hears sound through their VoIP-enabled analog phone, computer, or cell phone.
Flow chart showing the process of sending voice as data over the internet

The process of sending voice as data signals via the internet happens near instantly. For this reason, VoIP call quality is often better than voice calls made over traditional phone lines.

Often, all that’s required to use internet phone services is a high-speed internet connection and a compatible device. VoIP phone systems, however, can be configured in different ways. 

VoIP phone systems for VoIP to VoIP calls involve an IP desk phone. Users make a call as normal, and then SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) establishes a connection with the server of their IP phone service provider. Then, the server connects to the call’s recipient, and SIP establishes the connection when they answer. 

This setup allows for the scaling of business communications needs with video conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing, and more. 

A similar process occurs when making a VoIP call to a recipient on the traditional landline. What’s different is that when your digital voice travels to the internet, it reaches a VoIP gateway. This gateway—a component of SIP—then converts the digital voice to analog so it can be sent on to the recipient on the PSTN.  

VoIP configurations, though, can also involve:

  • A traditional desk phone and a VoIP adapter: 
    • Special analog telephone adapters allow users to make VoIP telephone calls from their existing phones by plugging them into a socket or the router. 
  • A computer: 
    • There are numerous VoIP software programs that can turn a PC or laptop into a so-called softphone. This allows users to call over the internet directly from a desktop app. 
  • Mobile phone: 
    • Some VoIP services provide mobile apps that allow users to make calls on the go using their mobile network data or wi-fi. 

As VoIP services function using the internet, all of your important company data is stored in the cloud. This means it’s managed and secured by the third-party service provider. A VoIP telephone system allows for call management using an online dashboard or interface. There, users can add, edit, or remove phone numbers and leverage a range of advanced calling features (which we’ll come to shortly!)

Simple diagram showing how VoIP works

How does VoIP differ from traditional phone systems?

Traditional phone systems operate on a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), with a circuit switching method for connecting the caller and the receiver via a phone call. 

Analog phone systems require a company to configure a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) on the premises consisting of internal phone lines that connect employees within a shared phone system via ethernet cables. 

Instead, VoIP uses a packet switching method where data is sent and received in the form of a voice signal, as explained in the previous section. With VoIP, there’s no copper wiring involved. As long as you have a fast and stable internet connection with decent bandwidth, you’ll find VoIP solutions to be more efficient and reliable than traditional analog ones. 

Remember those pesky delays and dropped calls that occur with landline phone calls? VoIP VoIPservices can have more redundancy that helps businesses to more easily avoid these issues as calling is carried out using the internet, which offers a more reliable connection than POTS. For this reason, VoIP phone systems offer call quality, efficiency, and cost savings that traditional phone systems simply can’t. 

What’s more, VoIP systems don’t rely on physical on-premises infrastructure, and the hardware and installation costs associated with managing and maintaining it. Instead, VoIP is hosted and managed in the cloud, which provides better flexibility for small and large businesses.

Why do businesses prefer VoIP phone systems?

Businesses prefer VoIP because—now they have the required bandwidth and network—they can enjoy all the functionality (and more!) of traditional PRI or POTS lines using the internet—resulting in huge cost savings. 

Businesses everywhere are switching out their PBX phone systems for hosted VoIP solutions that provide them with the flexibility, mobility, and connectivity they need to succeed in today’s dynamic business landscape. 

Nowadays, most businesses are taking their communications a step further and opting for cloud-based unified communications (UC) solutions for business. UC systems are founded on VoIP technology and combine voice calling, video conferencing, messaging, email, fax, and more to provide a fully integrated communications platform that can be accessed from anywhere. 

The benefits of VoIP, for customers and employees, hugely outweigh those of traditional phone systems—which is why VoIP has become the foundation of modern business phone systems.

What are the benefits of a business VoIP phone system?

1. Cost savings

VoIP systems reduce the overall costs associated with business phone systems. Legacy PBX systems require businesses to have a sound infrastructure in place to function. 

All VoIP systems require is a high-speed internet connection. With a VoIP phone system, companies can save on costs associated with:

  • Infrastructure and hardware: With VoIP, everything is hosted in the cloud by a third party. This results in savings on the cost of office space, hardware, in-house servers, headsets, etc. 
  • Scaling up or down: Internet phone services allow users to add or remove users, phone lines, features, and more through the VoIP application. All of this without having to fork out to install new phone lines or get a technician on-site every time. 
  • Long-distance call charges: Long-distance calling using a landline is extremely costly. VoIP allows international calls to be made via internet broadband or wi-fi at no added cost. Depending on the provider, you can make international calls for free or at low rates. 

These cost savings are great for businesses, but they’re also why many individuals are using VoIP phone services instead of a landline home phone.

2. Scalability

VoIP phone systems are hosted and managed in the cloud, which makes scaling business operations within organizations and office locations simple. Hosted VoIP solutions allow you to add new phone lines and users at little to no cost. This can be beneficial in various situations, for example:

  • You’re operating a call center and you foresee a seasonal spike, and need to scale your customer support to meet consumer demand.
  • Your business is opening a new branch in another city and you need to add new business phone numbers to keep teams connected.
  • You're working with remote employees located in different countries and you need to discuss projects and collaborate in real-time.

  1. 3. Increased mobility

One of the biggest benefits of VoIP for modern businesses is the increased mobility it offers. 

Businesses no longer have to rely on on-premises infrastructure. Instead, employees can take incoming calls and make outgoing calls from any internet-connected device. 

Working environments are becoming increasingly remote, and VoIP phone systems allow employees to work from anywhere—whether that’s from a desktop device at home or their mobile device.

  1. 4. Business continuity

Another benefit stemming from VoIP phone services being hosted in the cloud is that they offer better business continuity than legacy phone systems. The VoIP service provider maintains the system securely.

In the case of power outages or disasters, you can rest assured that your important business data is secure. 

Essential features of a business phone system

Along with the benefits previously mentioned, hosted VoIP phone systems offer an array of additional features that can enhance employee productivity, improve the customer experience, and offer more flexibility for businesses. 

Here are some essential features you should look for when choosing an enterprise cloud phone system and how they can be used to improve business communications.

  • Auto Attendant:
    • This feature allows you to instantly greet callers and direct them to the most suitable agent or employee.
  • Caller ID: 
    • Caller ID lets you know who’s calling so you can better prepare to take the call or route it to the correct person/department immediately. 
  • CRM integrations:
    • A business phone system offers the possibility to integrate with your current CRM, allowing you to use customer data to provide better service. 
  • HD VoIP calling:
    • Make high-definition calls to teammates, customers, and anyone else. 
  • Incoming call routing:
    • This feature allows for calls to be routed based on skill and availability to ensure your customers, clients, and contacts receive seamless support. 
  • SMS:
    • Send SMS text messages for quick reminders or appointment setting. 
  • Team messaging:
    • Improve team collaboration and communication with instant messaging between colleagues. 
  • Unlimited calling:
    • With VoIP, you can make an unlimited number of HD voice calls to phone numbers around the world. 
  • Unlimited internet faxing:
    • VoIP phone systems allow you to send and receive unlimited faxes. This feature is great for sending important documents and messages. 
  •   Video conference calling:
    • One of the most important features of business phone systems, users can improve remote client and team communication with face-to-face video meetings. You can also utilize a range of video calling features like screen sharing and calendar scheduling.
     
Remote teams using video calls and internet voip phones to conduct online meetings

How to choose a VoIP phone system for your business

Whether you’re looking for VoIP for small business or a VoIP solution for your enterprise company, there are some key things to consider when choosing between business VoIP providers.

1. The type of VoIP provider

There are three main categories of VoIP providers to suit different business needs.

  • VoIP only: 
    • Some providers provide VoIP-only services that are ideal for small businesses. A basic VoIP phone system offers HD calling along with features like call forwarding, caller ID, and voicemail. 
  • VoIP and cloud PBX:
    • Combines a VoIP phone system with a cloud PBX system. This type of provider offers VoIP functionality and advanced cloud features like auto-attendants. 
  • Unified communications:
    • A fully hosted cloud communications platform that combines virtual phone services with video conference calling, team messaging, collaboration tools, and more.

RingCentral Office is a unified communications platform that offers all the functionality of a cloud phone system, with video calling, team messaging, business SMS, and much more. If you’re looking for a robust solution to keep your team connected internally and externally, RingCentral is the perfect solution.

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  1. 2. What are your telephony needs?

First of all, you’ll need to consider the kind of telephony your business needs. Do you need a VoIP for small business solution that just allows you to make a few long-distance calls to clients? Or a more robust solution to connect remote teams around the world? Consider the following questions:

  • What kind of calls does your business usually make?
  • Do you require advanced features like auto-attendant or call routing to handle inbound calls? 
  • Is video calling an important feature for your business needs?
  • What business tools (such as CRM or project management tools) do you want your phone system to integrate with?

With RingCentral Office, you can tailor the platform to suit the needs of your business. RingCentral’s all-in-one business communications solution provides a flexible, reliable, and secure platform to keep your team connected with integrated voice, video, and message. 

Moreover, a range of advanced calling features and integrations take your communications to the next level. 

3. Consider pricing plans

The top VoIP providers offer a range of plans from low pricing to suit small-medium businesses to more comprehensive packages for large enterprises. Most VoIP plans operate on a per-month basis, which means you’re charged for the minutes that you use and the number of users. Consider whether you need the option to scale quickly and ensure that adding users is affordable under the plan you choose. 

Looking for an affordable and completely scalable unified communications solution? RingCentral Office is available with a range of pricing plans to suit the needs of businesses of all shapes and sizes. Whether you just need the basics for now or you want a fully-fledged enterprise solution—there’s a plan for you.

3. Mobile accessibility

In today’s world of remote work, it’s becoming increasingly common for businesses to choose VoIP solutions that provide a robust mobile app to benefit employees and customers. Mobile accessibility is important for ensuring your team can log on on the go from any mobile device (iOS and Android).

RingCentral is the leading business VoIP provider offering a mobile-ready business VoIP and unified communications solution. With the RingCentral app, users can make and receive calls, join video meetings, send messages, and share files from their favorite device. This way, employees are empowered to work from anywhere. 

Interface of RingCentral’s unified communications solution with message, video, and phone features

Take your communication to the next level with VoIP for business

One thing’s for sure: VoIP is here to stay. Today’s dynamic business landscape is fuelled by shifts in technology, consumer demands, and the remote workforce. Staying connected is more important than ever before, and—luckily—businesses have a plethora of tools at their fingertips to help them do just that. 

The range of VoIP services on the market provides businesses with a wealth of choices they’ve never had before. Check out VoIP phone systems along with all-in-one unified communications platforms to figure out which one best aligns with your business needs.

Implementing a cloud-based communications suite like RingCentral Office into your company’s tech stack kills a whole lot of birds with one stone. You’ll get access to HD VoIP calling along with a range of features like video conferencing and team messaging in a single, easy-to-use platform. 

Seeing is believing, right? Why not try RingCentral on for size and sign up for a free trial today? 

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