Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP): What is it and why your business needs it
As discussed in our last blog post, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the term to describe a complete internet telephony service. VoIP systems most commonly use the SIP (Session Initiated Protocol) to send and receive data between endpoints for voice, video conference and media distribution. It provides a wide range of facilities, functions and features that allows you to link your fixed telephony and mobile easily and efficiently. This helps to improve productivity by never missing a call or losing contact.
How does it work?
VoIP solutions are delivered through any suitable data connection, meaning you can use the service virtually anywhere you are connected to the internet. Endpoints can consist of an IP enabled desk handset, software client on your PC or laptop, or even a compatible app on a mobile Apple/Android device. Typically, a single voice call will not use a lot of bandwidth so it’s possible to have multiple users on a lower speed connection particularly if its dedicated for voice traffic.
Each user on the VoIP solution is an individual “seat” or licence charged per month. There are an array of licence levels to suit different needs, some which include a device, or others with a set amount of minutes bundled per user for each month and more. Many providers will also allow for the stop and start of licences month by month, meaning you are in control of how much you spend according to the number of users required.
What are the benefits of VoIP?
Here are just a few of the features you could take advantage of with a VoIP solution*:
- Never miss a call: Divert calls to another number or voicemail when you’re on the phone or away from your desk, or put a caller on hold while you answer another call. You can also use call forwarding to set other numbers on your network to ring when your number is called, or twin your phone with your mobile.
- Never lose a contact: Know when you have a message waiting with onscreen pop-ups, SMS text messages and email alerts.
- Work efficiently: Set quick dial short codes for your everyday numbers. Have all your internal and external telephone numbers quickly to hand with an online address book – see who’s calling and click to talk straight from your contacts, when colleagues are free to take a call and transfer calls to any internal or external number easily. Protect your time by changing your status to "busy" or "do not disturb" and block anonymous calls. Bring a colleague in on a phone conversation with three-way calls and forward important voicemail messages easily to handsets or emails.
- Don’t feel tied to your desk: Forward your calls to any internal phone, mobile or external phone. Access voicemail from any internal phone, mobile or external phone, or online. View contacts from anywhere with an online address book and share voicemails with your whole team.
- Work securely: Set passwords and pin numbers to secure your phones, voicemail and web portal from unauthorised access. Set external or mobile failover numbers to keep your communications open in the event of a power cut, or local network failure.
- Other features include: Music on hold, time based routing, call barring, presentation numbers, performance reports, call groups, auto attendant, call recording, call queues, wall boards, branding and more.
* Subject to different user licence types, services and offerings may change according to providers.
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