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Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is the modern standard for conference calls. With teams becoming more distributed than ever, VoIP technology offers better quality and more affordable options for businesses to stay connected.
VoIP conferencing phones, also known as IP conferencing phones, are a little different from traditional phones in that they use an internet connection instead of a phone line to make high-quality one-to-one and group calls.
More importantly, the ability to leverage VoIP technology along with the complementary hardware has many business benefits compared with using a traditional analog phone line.
Let’s get into why using your cell phone isn’t quite the same as having a VoIP conferencing phone.
There are many types of IP conference phones and each has a specific use case for your business. Think about it like a VoIP toolbox—not every tool is ideal for every situation. (But virtually all IP phones do offer HD voice technology for premium sound quality.) Here are the main types of IP phones and the scenario where they are most useful:
If you decide not to go with a VoIP service, the alternative is a traditional analog conference phone. The main difference between these two phones is how they transmit audio signals, but there are pretty significant business advantages to upgrading to a VoIP phone.
The original business conference phone technology of the “Mad Men” era is called analog. Analog phones transmit voice audio through a network of copper wires that physically connect to your phone.
Video over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is different in that it requires an internet connection to work. VoIP turns audio signals into digital data packets, which travel through ethernet cables or wifi and are then put back together once they reach their destination. VoIP allows you to communicate over the internet, and is often paired with a webcam or camera that can transmit live video for virtual meetings.
Deciding whether or not you want to upgrade your business phones from analog to VoIP? Here are the main differences between the two:
Sound waves travel over copper wires
Voice transformed into digital data that is then transmitted
Internet cables or Wifi
Live broadband connection
From $30/month plus set up fee and long-distance charges
From $10/month plus set up fee
Limited to hardwired offices and difficult to add/remove lines
Easily scaled globally and simple to add/remove lines
Simple and straightforward (i.e. making and routing calls)
Diverse features including Bluetooth wireless connectivity, video conferencing, cloud file sharing
You don’t have to be in the office to make calls using your VoIP service. You can make calls when on the road or at home, using either a mobile app or a VoIP adapter and an internet connection. (A VoIP adapter converts analog signals into digital data and acts as a bridge between your analog telephone service and the digital network that carries your calls.)
Joining a meeting is even more straightforward. Simply visit the conference calling service’s website and click on “Join meeting,” or click on the invite link in the email invitation.
Most IP conferencing solutions provide both free and paid versions. Free versions typically limit the number of participants, call duration, host controls, and other features. Depending on your particular business needs, it’s worth looking into both free and paid options to see what would work best for your business.
Regardless of the VoIP conferencing solution you choose, there are some potential downsides to consider—these don’t all apply to every VoIP conferencing provider, but they crop up often enough. The three main potential disadvantages are:
When it comes to VoIP conferencing phone options, there are so many options to choose from. It’s important to select the right one depending on your particular business needs. Here is a checklist of seven questions to ask yourself when you’re looking for the best IP phones and conferencing solution for your business.
If you’re interested in using VoIP conferencing phones for your business, but are hesitant to make a long- term commitment or upfront investment, you can also look into renting them.
Depending on what your budget looks like, either renting or buying a business VOIP phone can be a viable option for you.
One thing to keep in mind is that this is a long-term business solution, so make sure you do whatever you feel comfortable committing to.
The obvious advantage of renting is that you can avoid a large up-front investment. For example, for an office of 20 people, it would cost around $8,000 or more for the VoIP hardware, network switches, router, plus installation and training fees.
Renting also lets you set a predictable monthly budget, and when it’s time to renew your contract, your VoIP servicing company will typically take back all the hardware and replace it with updated versions.
If you decide to rent, always read review sites before selecting your VoIP provider to make sure you’ll get the best possible customer service.
VoIP conference phones boast a variety of hardware features and accessories to help keep things running smoothly and efficiently. Here are some of the most important VoIP features and hardware to look out for when choosing the right set-up for your business:
Once you’ve settled on your preferred IP phone provider, here are your next steps for quick and easy implementation:
Excited to get started on your VoIP conference phone journey? Here are some of our favorite VoIP phones and why. These are just a few of the amazing IP phones to choose from—feel free to check out a more comprehensive list here.
When it comes to IP desk phones, both Polycom and Yealink are brand leaders in the industry.
Choose a VoIP conferencing phone that fits the size of your conference room. Here are our favorite phones for large and small-to-medium sized rooms:
Wireless conference phones are ideal if you need in-office mobility or if you work in a small business that needs plug and play wireless technology. Our favorite out of all the wireless conference phones is the Yealink W60P cordless phone and here’s why:
When deciding on a receptionist phone for your business, go with one that makes sense for your size. Here are some examples:
Ready to take the plunge into the world of business VoIP conferencing phones? It’s really easy to get started—all you need is internet access and a premium service provider like RingCentral. RingCentral hosts your PBX box for you, so once you hook up your VoIP phones and download your mobile app, you can enjoy your customized professional VoIP phone service whether you’re in the boardroom, at your desk, or on-the-go.