Before widespread high speed internet was available, phone systems for businesses relied on often unreliable analogue connections. It is important, now more than ever, to consider modernising your communications. Not just because BT’s ISDN services will be turned off in 2025, but because VoIP phone systems can provide far greater functionality than traditional analogue systems
“Is my internet service sufficient for VoIP?”
VoIP has been around for some time but has been inaccessible to many due to inferior internet connections. Here in 2019, FTTC (Fibre-to-the-Cabinet) broadband is available to the vast majority of businesses, and leased line connections have become far more affordable too. Government initiatives such as the Gigabit voucher scheme can further subsidise costs making high quality, reliable internet connections available to anyone, especially when compared to high recurring costs for ISDN lines. The overall improvement in availability for these services means that VoIP is accessible to pretty much anyone!
“What can VoIP do that my Analogue system can’t?”
VoIP systems can be tailored specifically for your business’ needs. A little outside the box thinking can also help to invent time-saving functions too! For our own systems at Microbyte for instance, we have recently engineered a system to enable callers to enter their support case ID, directly transferring them to the Engineer managing their case. This results in time saving for our clients and our support staff alike. Take a lot of sales calls? Think about how a phone system could be utilised to handle incoming orders in a more efficient way, reducing time and money overheads. Features relevant for your business can be created on a blank canvas, building a unique and tailor-made system. No two VoIP systems need be alike.
We have chosen 3CX as our flagship VoIP system as it continues to build on traditional features. Each extension can be provided with a desk phone, mobile or desktop application and access to a web portal. Users have the freedom to choose between using hardware-based phones or, if working entirely from software-based phones, the added expense of desk phone hardware can be abolished. The browser based 3CX Web-client is the user’s control panel which is available for anyone to use, providing access to view a colleague’s status and visual voicemail including transcription, web chat, call history and web conferences.
One of the most useful features is the ability to control your 3CX soft phone or desk phone entirely from your browser! This is ideal for those wearing headsets, enabling the user to interface only with their computer. Click to call enables the user to initiate a phone call simply by clicking on the telephone number on their screen resulting in there being no need to type long numbers into your phone and consequently no more wrong numbers!
CRM integration can pull information from contact lists to put names to telephone numbers. Incoming calls can show the name of the person or business calling. Contacts can be searched by name, and dialed with a single click of the mouse. 3CX and its Web client are the perfect tools for teams working together while being apart physically.
“My work takes me around the world, can I use VoIP?”
Due to the nature of a fixed line connection, analogue phone systems require at least some on-site hardware. VoIP is unique in that systems can be installed onto pre-existing server hardware, or better yet; hosted in the cloud. Use of Hosted VoIP systems is spreading like wildfire and is fast becoming the option of choice due to simplicity and affordability. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) removes the requirement for hardware too, meaning no upkeep or maintenance costs. Hosted VoIP systems are sold as all-in-one packages providing hosting, calls and service charges for one simple monthly cost.
Utilising Hosted VoIP requires that you have an internet connection to access it. However, it means it is accessible from anywhere therefore you can take your extension number wherever you go. High speed internet connections including mobile connections over 3G or 4G mean that mobile users such as sales staff can be reached at any time. Multiple offices? No problem – one system will handle all offices, providing inter-site connectivity. Hosted VoIP makes it possible to connect users not just in the next town, but anywhere in the world.
“If I can access my VoIP system from anywhere, can anyone?”
In short – yes, which is why it is paramount to secure any hosted system. Anything that is accessible via the internet will draw unwanted attention from fraudsters. Rest assured that we endeavor to secure your system by implementing various safeguarding features. Complex usernames and passwords, IP blocking and credit limits will be in place to ensure that a system is not compromised. It’s also important to make sure your pre-existing VoIP system is being kept up to date and is still “current.” We have found that many systems, although VoIP, are no longer supportable and create increased risk when not managed correctly.
If you still have concerns about VoIP, please get in touch. We are confident that whatever your situation, there will be a solution for you.