Diving into the world of VoIP can be intimidating, especially if you choose to educate yourself about the technology instead of blindly relying on a particular service provider.
Even if you have a trustworthy service provider and are sure that it is the best option for your business, knowing the technology and how it works will help when it’s time to optimise the network, improve voice quality, troubleshooting bugs or upgrade to better featured plans.
So what does VoIP phone service mean?
Here’s an explanation.
To better understand how VoIP works, it is essential to know the technology on which voice communications depended for decades. It is nothing but the Plain Old Telephone Service, commonly known as POTS.
Before the introduction of mobile and wireless technology, every phone call had to travel over the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) – whether it was local or long-distance.
It is called the PSTN because it relied on circuit switches to connect callers at both ends. It was ubiquitous, easy-to-use and required nothing more than a telephone and a copper line into any building.
For a long time, it sufficed for the needs of consumers and businesses alike. But over the last couple of decades, the Internet has revolutionized many processes and workflows for enterprises
The Internet Changed Everything
By now, most Charities have a well-developed data network that allows their employees to get more work done quicker than was ever possible.
Unfortunately there was not much innovation when it came to POTS which meant that organizations had to maintain two separate networks – each with their own protocols, standards and implementations. Since the phone network is not based on IP technology, it was also not interoperable with modern applications, software and systems.
But then, the Internet Happened.
Perhaps the main business advantage of making the switch to VoIP is cost savings. Conventional PBX-based systems rely on ISDN connections which can be expensive to rent and often limit the number of lines that can be used. Also with the pending cut-off date from BT announcing they will not be supporting ISDN 2 from 2020 and the complete shut down in 2025 its time to future proof your charity’s communication infrastructure. With VoIP, there is no limit and users can make calls using their internet connections – be it broadband, Fibre or a leased line. The setup costs, therefore, are cheaper and you also save on ongoing line rental.
Of course, you can also make cheaper calls. Direct calls to users on the same VoIP service are usually free, regardless of where each party is located. But even calling conventional PSTN phones is cheaper than using more traditional alternatives. This applies to international calls too, so for companies that might carry out business overseas can make significant savings.
Savings can also be made on equipment costs. You can make calls from a computer, but many modern PBXs are also compatible with SIP trunk connections, so can be used to make calls via a VoIP network. Atrnatively, you have the flexibility to do away with in-house exchange hardware altogether and switch to a cloud-based PBX. This mitigates any upfront hardware costs and of course ongoing maintenance and power requirements.
Because VoIP is software-driven, arguably, the most significant long-term savings are to be had in the costs surrounding ongoing maintenance and configuration of a setup. When you need to make changes to phone numbers or call diversions, you can do so without the need for a site visit from a technician as may have been the case with legacy systems.
Features of VoIP
VoIP is perfectly poised to be used as part of a unified communications (UC) strategy by linking it to your data network. This makes it easy to implement policies such as hot desking, where employees can simply log in at a particular location and automatically have their calls diverted there.
How VoIP Is Better Than PSTN
VoIP offers distinct advantages, better and more advanced features as well as substantial cost savings for organizations than compared to the old PSTN system. However there are two unique aspects of VoIP that underpin all the various features – interoperability and portability.
Since VoIP is based on the same standards used by other enterprise software, it can be easily integrated with those solutions. For example, the company website can include a phone number which can be used by customers to directly contact customer support via the browser without any need to use their phone.
Portability in VoIP works in two ways – phone calls can be made through the same device from any location and multiple devices can share the same phone number to make/receive calls. Portability is central to the way employees and businesses work in a connected world.
Business processes and workflows need not be restricted to a particular time zone or location. Because of these two unique aspects, VoIP is suited to the needs of Charities now and better poised to take advantage of further innovation over the long-term.
VS Charity Connect
Our IP Connect solution is suitable for Charities of any size whether you have one small office or multiple sites. At the VS Group we can tailor make solutions that provide a reliable service at a cost effective price supported by our own in house engineers.
Your connectivity will link you to a dedicated System that is maintained and managed by our highly trained in-house engineers who will monitor and manage your telecommunications.
You will also befit from a robust service without the outlay of expensive hardware.