What is VoIP? The Definitive Guide to Voice over IP Calling
A VoIP telephone system utilizes Internet Protocol to make calls, instead of using telephone lines. In this article you will learn everything there is to know about VoIP.
What is VoIP?
What does VoIP stand for? The acronym of VOIP is voice-over-internet protocol. It is a technology that allows your internet-enabled devices to make and receive phone calls using the internet. Many businesses prefer VoIP especially when they have to handle a large volume of calls and storage data.
How Does VoIP Work?
VOIP typically needs a connection via the internet to work. Apart from that, the VoIP functionality depends on the speed and quality of the internet connection. This means that VoIP phones work best when the internet connection is fast and stable. Additionally, some of the gadgets included in this system help organizations work more efficiently.
When you make calls using VOIP phone systems, your voice is encoded to digital data and forwarded to other phones. Other phones re-encode digital data into audio signals. You can hear your voice from the recipient of your call.
Codec’s encoding and decoding are done by compressing the data for quicker processing, quality, and audio transmission.
In VoIP systems, Codec plays a critical role in switching analog to digital data and vice versa.
Normally, typical phone calls can be received via VoIP also can dial a VoIP number to connect to the recipient. In all cases, either the digital signal is converted to an analog signal, or the analog signal is inverted. The phase starts or stops at some point, until eventually, the signals reach a balance.
In the situation that both the caller and the recipient are communicating via VoIP devices, the call signals travel digitally entirely without signal translation.
However, how VoIP works depends on gadgets and extensions connected to make these types of calls. It is essential to know how they are used and how they complement voice quality and communication performance.
Learn more about how VoIP works in our blog post.
Benefits of Voice over IP
Some of the benefits of VoIP are:
- Lower costs.
- Increased accessibility
- Complete portability.
- Higher scalability.
- Remote Work Friendly
- Advanced features for small and large teams
- Clearer voice quality.
- Supports multitasking
1. Lower costs
Calls made over landlines, mainly if they are long distances, are costly. However, calls made via the VOIP are relatively cheaper compared to conventional mobile phone calls. Using the internet to relay call data reduces the overall cost of making both domestic and long-distance calls
2. Open Connectivity
Aside from cost efficiency, open connectivity is one of VoIP’s most significant market advantages. One distinct feature of a cloud-based VoIP service is the opportunity to make calls from anywhere.
If you have a good data link, you can make and receive calls to your company. And if you cannot answer a message, you can send a call to another person or send a voicemail to you. A noteworthy feature of VoIP is the opportunity to carry your business phone with you with nothing more than a softphone app.
3. Complete portability
Another critical advantage of VoIP is portability which enables employees to retain a single, dedicated telephone number. Much like users must have a valid ID and password to reach company workstations, VoIP users must log in to their SIP phone to make/receive phone calls or access their voicemail on their VoIP network. This build transparency between companies and customers
4. Higher scalability
A VoIP system is also highly scalable, allowing users to add or remove lines with ease without compromising the communication paths with customers.
5. Remote Work Friendly
With VoIP, employees are empowered to work anywhere. Instead of building a new satellite office and paying for rent and utilities, you can have them log in from any computer, use any IP phone and have them telecommute. Your telecommuting employees will use the same software that your call centers use, but they can work from home.
6. Advanced Features for Small and Large Teams
With advanced features like auto attendant and call transferring, VoIP allows even a one-person operation to project a larger company’s image.
7. Clearer voice quality
VoIP uses Wideband codecs that use higher audio bit depth and result in improved voice quality. Conventional phone line networks rely on narrowband codecs, which can result in lower-quality calls.
8. Supports multitasking
VoIP enables users to send files, photos, and videos while they are engaged in a chat. You will also seamlessly have more integrated sessions with customers or employees from other parts of the globe.
The benefits of VoIP make it a must-have technology in businesses.
Learn more about the benefits of VoIP in our blog post.
Best VoIP Phone System Features
Here are the 9 best VoIP features that businesses will enjoy using:
- Voicemail/call forwarding
- Call Queuing
- Auto Attendant
- Apps for mobile and desktop
- Call encryption and security
- Call Recording/Monitoring
- Data Analytics
1. Voicemail/call forwarding
Many smaller enterprises obviously cannot be available 24 hours a day which means that there will be a moment when you or your staff cannot answer the phone. Most of the industry’s leading VoIP providers offer the opportunity to transform phone messages into emails that could be of great use to your company.
DND or Do Not Interrupt is a significant function for those who deal with customers daily. When you talk to a customer, the last thing you want is to be distracted by a phone call, and it will make you appear unprofessional.
You can pretty much guarantee that you will need to make a conference call eventually. Some managers and owners may even make this type of call regularly.
4. Call Queuing
The call queuing function will help you to queue the phone calls of your customers. You will have the option to queue your clients in a single waiting room. By the way, you can even set up alerts, remind your callers of their turn and their estimated waiting period.
This functionality allows the company a more comprehensive presence by encouraging you to set up several numbers in local markets and offer a menu structure like many big businesses. Auto-attendant ensures that you can set up a system where a caller can conveniently get in touch with various offices or even a live operator.
6. Apps for mobile and desktop
One great benefit of Apps for mobile and desktop that makes many companies look to expand their unified communications to mobile is convenience. With a VoIP calling app, a team member can have their phone number and an app that supplies them with a business phone number.
7. Call encryption and security
Security and call encryption challenges have made headlines. Therefore it’s a useful feature and crucial in VoIP because every day, you read news about yet another company falling victim to a hack. They have lost data, passwords, Social Security numbers, and even more confidential information.
8. Call Recording/Monitoring
Call recording and monitoring are two sides of the same coin. These two cool features can support your business a long way through testing the consistency of your calls and mitigating your company’s efficiency deterioration. But how exactly are they working? You’ll be able to record your company’s calls with only one click and listen to them anytime you want.
9. Data analytics
VoIP Data analytics is an advanced data reporting framework that comes with many VoIP calling systems today. It is beneficial for companies who handle various outbound/inbound customer calls regularly. Call analytics can be conveniently pulled from your VoIP call dashboard on your desktop or smartphone application.
Learn more about VoIP apps in our blog post.
Types of VoIP
There are generally two types of VoIP services:
- Fixed VoIP
- Non-Fixed VoIP.
Fixed VoIP is a form of controlled VoIP associated with your physical office/residential address. You can’t get it from anyone in the same location/area. It can be a perfect option for your current landline phone, and it can also give you extensive calls at a very inexpensive price.
Although fixed VoIP numbers are connected to the owner’s address/location, they are portable and can be tracked anywhere unless you remain within an already defined geographical boundary. If you move, just contact your VoIP service provider and they’ll take care of it.
A non -VoIP number, also known as Voice over IP number, is a real telephone number that gets assigned to a user, assigned a specific phone line.
As a private person, you will not be able to ‘trace’ a non-fixed VoIP number, except when the owner of this VoIP phone is willing to disclose his name and other personal data to you when you (politely) ask for it.
Learn more about fixed vs. non-fixed in our blog post.
Common VoIP Integrations
Integration is the way to go to maximize VoIP for business. Below are common VoIP integrations.
- Database Integration
- Auto- Responders
- Sales app integrations
- Customer support integrations
- AI and transcription
1. Database Integration
Database connectivity is a wonderful feature that helps you to access either data sources inside or outside your business for consumer software integration. The good news is that most VoIP vendors are open to offering APIs, enabling the developers to configure their integration with your favorite apps.
Many CRM implementations also rely on users to manually enter data to trigger and log phone calls, SMS texts, faxes, or paging. Using Connect Framework, developers can embed interactions directly into key CRM processes to optimize productivity and improve business results.
IVM is a Windows voice mail, call attendant, and digital voice response (IVR) program that links a handset using a professional telephone board, a voice modem, or directly to a VoIP service. It’s an integration software that is automated to respond to messages and calls via VOIP.
Many clients do prefer to communicate via SMS, and businesses want to capitalize on this highly responsive way of connecting with their customers. Besides, fax still plays an important role in several fields. Text messaging and online faxes offer quick ways to obtain important information, such as confirmations or authorizations.
5. Sales app integrations
Sales app integration is a unique feature that helps users automate the sales pipeline, get them closer to prospects, and close more deals.
6. Customer support integrations
Integrating customer support is the best element of a top-of-the-line VoIP system. With the interface and support from CRM platforms, it is one of the best ways to improve customer satisfaction as it will help streamline business workflow.
7. AI and transcription
Transcription converts voice expression into writing. This is one of the simplest implementations of AI voice recognition in VoIP systems and an important integration feature.
Voicemail-to-email and voicemail-to-text are also common VoIP business functions. The notes left would be transcribed because the callers did not meet the person they were trying to speak to. They’ll submit a transcript to your inbox or the preferred message site.
Transcribed conversations are also a perk for customer service. Agents should go back to the specifics of previous encounters with each caller and pick up the thread of the problem. Customers don’t want to explain their issues or desires over and over.
They so much enjoy being able to get right to the point. A survey conducted recently showed that 95 percent of customers believed that “it is easier to get back to a previous conversation where it left off.”
Many new business phone networks are often incorporated with Customer Relationships Management (CRM) applications, such as Salesforce, Zoho, Zendesk, Microsoft Dynamics, and PipeDrive This ensures that all AI transcripts of communications will be linked to the abundance of other consumer info.
How to Set Up VoIP Phone System
The following steps will help you set up your VoIP Phone System;
- Consider Your Team’s VoIP Needs. Not all VoIP systems are created equal.
- Determine How Many Users You’ll Need.
- Double-check Your Network Compatibility.
- Decide on Your VoIP Budget.
- Choose Your Need-to-Have & Nice-to-Have Features & Hardware.
- Sign Up With a VoIP Provider.
- Install & Configure Your VoIP Solution.
Learn more about how to set up VoIP in our blog post.
How Much Does VoIP Cost?
You may ask are VoIP calls free? Nothing is free! Generally speaking, the VoIP phone system costs between $195 and $1,550. Cloud-based VoIP systems, on the other hand, can cost as little as $19.95 per month.
However, the pricing of these solutions varies across different providers.
How much you end up paying for such a device will vary depending on several factors, such as some products, users, and whether you need on-site or cloud technology.
Does Your Business Need VoIP?
Enterprises have been struggling with whether or not to switch to VoIP for years to come. Some companies have switched over the early days of technology, while others have waited until prices have come down and problems with teething (quality, reliability, availability of expertise) have been worked out.
While some businesses are making the mistake of hanging onto legacy processes and technologies mainly because they feel no urgency to adopt remote working conditions, many have taken the bull by the horn. Big and small size businesses need to incorporate this into their business structure environment to stand a chance to compete in the highly competitive and dynamic market.
Selecting the Best VoIP Provider
Here are some qualities to look for when selecting a VoIP phone service provider:
Prices and Schedules
We should start with the most important feature: expense. What’s the point of choosing a company VoIP service with all the bells and whistles if you can’t afford it?
Resources for teamwork
Full-featured VoIP providers will provide a range of collaborative resources that the staff can use to meet, communicate and work together online. Users can access these features either through a single unified communications client (see below) or through different applications provided either by the VoIP provider or through third-party integration.
When VoIP systems mature, feature sets are targeted to particular markets. This suggests that even with goods that deal directly with each other, you won’t have the same capabilities.
Custom Smartphone Apps
Frontline staff and office staff also require full VoIP capability to operate on their mobile devices. As the workforce moves towards remote working, employees would need a VoIP service that can travel with them.
This is one of the VoIP primaries pulls. These programs also have a set of pre-built integrations for any other major marketing, sales or customer service app.
As for every commodity, the quality of service you offer is vital to how well the service performs.
Downsides of VoIP
VoIP also have their downsides as it relies on:
- Dependency on Internet service
- 4G/5g broadband network and
- Stable electricity
Dependency on Internet service
Sound quality and reliability will depend in your internet connection and your network configuration. You need to ensure that you have high speed internet and a well configured network for VoIP traffic
4G/5G broadband crucial
Although you can normally connect your VoIP device to your cell phone, the cost of doing so makes it a poor choice. For this cause, the use of infrastructure is recommended only in places where internet services are readily accessible.
Although this is not necessarily a big concern, you should be mindful that your VoIP device would not work if it is powered in the same manner that conventional landline phones do.
Without a doubt, Voice over IP is an exciting way of managing your business. The importance of VoIP in Telecommuting or, better still, Teleworking cannot be over-emphasized. The present reality of time has called for an enhanced and flexible working culture. Employees’ being able to work effectively from home is a concern for most business owners. However, this is a far cheaper and effective way of managing an enterprise compared to the conventional way if gotten right.