It’s 2013, and it’s become more important than ever for businesses to have the best and most efficient tech systems. But even so, many businesses neglect their phone systems as they renovate their offices to bring them up to snuff technologically. VoIP is the next step in telecommunications, and for good reason. If your business hasn’t converted to VoIP systems, you are probably paying too much for an out-of-date telecom solution.
For a web-centric business, much of internal operations already depend on Internet systems. An Internet-dependent phone system is the next logical step for a business composed of professionals who are so well-versed in the Internet and technology. A VoIP system can make a huge difference in the financial situation of a web company, especially when the company is already staffed with employees who are able to own and maintain their own VoIP phone system and so save even more money on cost of upkeep and repairs.
1. Utilize remote employees or maintain multiple office locations on one PBX
Talent isn’t limited to one zipcode, especially when it comes to web professionals who do much of their work over the Internet anyway. No matter if the designer lives in Chicago and the developer lives in Las Vegas, all creative parties will have access to the company and to each other. Good communication is the cornerstone of good business, and VoIP makes it easier for employees and customers alike to stay connected.
Most business VoIP systems allow for the inclusion of remote extensions. This means that a business could have multiple offices, or some employees working from home, but all of their phones and mobile phones can be connected to one office PBX (public branch exchange, the switchboard for office calls) through remote extensions on the main VoIP number.
2. Choose between hosted VoIP or SIP trunking
Companies can choose between a hosted VoIP PBX or VoIP SIP trunk as best suits their needs.
A hosted PBX has all of the same functionality as an old-fashioned switchboard, but none of the complicated machinery or maintenance. The entire switchboard system is maintained by an off-site business VoIP provider.
A hosted PBX is a good choice if your business has several extensions and all of these extensions experience a high volume of outbound and inbound calls, as with a hosted solution, you pay an individual price for each extension, usually around $20/month each. Hosted PBXs include free calling between extensions as well.
A SIP trunk is a better option for businesses with lots of extensions, but without a high volume of simultaneous inbound and outbound calling. With a SIP trunk, businesses only need to figure out how many inbound and outbound simultaneous calls they can expect, and then buy an appropriate number of trunks, so ten trunks for ten simultaneous calls. SIP trunking costs about $10/month for each outbound line, but these plans can overall be much cheaper since you won’t need to pay for each extension to have unlimited outbound calling capabilities.
So for example, if your business has 20 extensions, but you only expect 6 simultaneous calls at any time, then you will only need 6 trunks. If, however, you expect that all 20 extensions may need to take calls at the same time, then you might do better to buy an unlimited extension for each phone.
With a SIP trunking solution, you will need a capable IT staff to manage your own in-house PBX as you are basically performing all of the functions of a hosted PBX in an in-house format. However, for most tech savvy web companies, this will likely not be a big problem.
3. Scalable extensions
With VoIP phone solutions, it’s easy to include remote employees in a single office PBX, and to add or remove extensions as needed. Several VoIP providers offer unlimited hosted extensions for around $20/month per extension, while some offer metered extensions for around $15/month per extension with a per minute fee. Some also offer virtual extensions so employees can stay plugged in at all times through their mobile phones.
There is also the option to purchase a SIP trunk service. A company would simply have to add a new phone and tap into Internet to add an extension to this kind of PBX system. With a SIP trunk or a hosted PBX there is no longer the need to hire an electrician to physically move wires around anytime there is a new hire or a desk move.
4. VoIP Mobility
Most VoIP providers offer mobile apps, which are a good choice for remote employees and employees on business trips. Most VoIP providers offer mobile app options for smart phones, laptops, and tablets so employees can bring VoIP with them and stay connected with their employees and coworkers.
5. IP video conferencing
Companies in the web business need to stay connected. Several top business VoIP providers offer IP video conferencing features, which are great for remote employees and business meetings between widespread offices. Remote employees can stay connected with their coworkers and bosses, and business partners have the option of face-to-face meetings without the travel expenses to go along with it.
Web professionals need a phone service that is as cutting edge as they are. VoIP is modern, it’s reliable, and it has features to help all businesses utilize their talent. Creativity is unlimited within a web business, and with VoIP, their phone service is now unlimited too.
Rachel Greenberg is a tech and telecom writer for www.voipreview.org.