Voice over Internet Protocol technology allows you to make calls over the internet instead of on a normal landline or mobile phone.
Different VoIP models have different systems for pricing, but the general principle is that calling over the internet uses relatively little bandwidth and, with fast enough broadband and a high monthly usage limit, a call over VoIP will cost next to nothing and represent a great saving compared to the same call made on a landline phone.
Premise-based or cloud-based?
There are two essential models of VoIP today: premise-based and cloud-based. Premise-based VoIP sees your company buy all the equipment necessary to run and maintain the VoIP from the premises, which can be a good choice for medium to large-sized businesses who want the certainty of having their technology in the office.
However, a far better fit for a smaller company would be the cloud-based option, where the technology is maintained by another company and accessed via the cloud, saving on technical upkeep costs and avoiding expensive one-off upfront purchases.
This would put you on a rolling contract with the VoIP provider and give the power in the agreement to you, as you will be free to find the best deal and terminate if you so choose when the renewal period comes around. All of these factors should be weighed when you are considering your business’s next step.
When a guide to VoIP is needed, there is lots of information available online about what effect VoIP normally has on costs. Planet Numbers states that the change to VoIP normally saves clients around 75% of the cost they would pay on a monthly phone bill, going up to a 90% saving in some cases.
A major advantage of VoIP which cannot be overstated is the lack of geographical charges – international calls and domestic calls are both made digitally using the internet instead of through an extensive international telephone exchange, and the savings from this can be astounding.
The United States Federal Communications Commission points out that who you are able to call depends on what service you are using. Skype, for example, only allows users to communicate with other Skype users.
While Skype facilitates video calling and group conversations, it does not allow contact with phones outside of its app user interface. The FCC further notes that, if you set up a VoIP system early on in the residency of a new office, you can save money by avoiding having to pay for both broadband and a phone line.
However, a downside of this is that some VoIP services struggle to guarantee that they will be able to reach local emergency services, as a lack of geographic positioning makes locating them difficult, leaving VoIP limited in the case of an emergency.
While you cannot put a price on safety, in an age with mobile phones and where you are able to implement other emergency procedures in the workplace, this should not be the defining factor of whether or not you choose to go for VoIP.