The growth of VoIP (Voice over IP) has grown substantially over the last ten years in both residential and business communities. Phone service over the internet gained great notoriety thanks in part to Skype which made it possible to make online calls to fellow Skype users at no cost, and to non-Skype users the cost was very small.
Using the internet for telecom needs has also grown in popularity with businesses large and small. However it isn’t always called VoIP but rather SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) which uses a specific set of protocols for sending and receiving calls along with other commands such as ring backs, transfers, etc.
There are many benefits a business can take advantage of when using SIP as their telecomm technology of choice. Learn more about the advantages by viewing this SIP trunking video from Allstream.
Lower Telecom Costs
You will frequently hear from VoIP providers that end users can experience anywhere from 30% to 70% of cost savings. As amazing as this might sound, it is factual and truly is one of the most compelling reasons most businesses move their traditional phone lines over to SIP trunks.
To illustrate the point of savings, suppose a company has 15 employees and each person needed their own phone. Traditionally, a company would have to order 15 separate phone lines which costs quite a bit of money. However, if a company were using the internet they would pay for the phone numbers but all the “lines” which can now be called “call paths” would be through one internet connection, and therefore installation of separate lines do not need to be installed – just one internet.
When using the internet, there can be multiple lines which all come through the same internet connection. The internet is directed through a PBX system, which then routes call paths to the various end points – which are generally the end user’s desks. As a result many sip trunks are sold based on allowable call paths and minutes used. So in our example you may only need to pay for 1 trunk with 9 call paths assuming that you would not expect more than 9 people to be on the phone at the exact same time.
The other issue is the functionality factor. Some functionality would be features such as remote call forwarding, parked calls, or virtual numbers. Virtual numbers means a user can use a phone number that has an area code different from where they are located. For example, a person who resides in Virginia where the area code is 703, but can request a Montana phone number with area code 406. There are many reasons why virtual numbering is used, however for example, perhaps that is where the Headquarters is located and all remote employees need the same area codebut with traditional phone companies, you cannot do this – with VoIP you can.
Convenient Business Expansion
Because of the functionality of virtual numbers, it is easy for companies to add new employees which are allowed to work from home or another office location. It removes the obstacle of moving and relocation costs which companies are often laden with.
With regular phone service, if you were to add on a new remote employee, you would have to pay for a new telephone line and usage. Your bill would be separate because traditional phone lines are in fact billed by location. However, with internet phone service, all a new employee needs is an internet connection, and odds are they already have an existing one they can use. Depending on the job and role of the employee, the company may decide to assign a full “direct inward dial” (DID) number, or they may decide to use an extension if they prefer people to call into the main number and then be transferred to the proper extension – such as x109.
If the employee no longer works for a company, the company can simply point the existing phone number to a new IP address to the desired location.
We saw this quite a bit with the flooding caused by Irene which hit the East coast of the United States in late summer of 2011. Businesses were flooded and phone lines were down as winds caused companies to shut down for weeks on hand. However, in many places that didn’t have traditional phone service back up yet, they did have the internet. By having an active internet connection, businesses could get phone service through VoIP or SIP providers and were back in business with barely any wait.
Many businesses use the internet as backup service for their phones, and sometimes it’s the other way around – where companies use traditional phone lines as backup to their internet phone lines. Disaster Recovery is a feature which ensures a backup solution for your phone when one goes down, for example, when one phone service goes down, it will automatically roll over to the backup service and businesses keep their numbers up and running without any downtime.
There are many reasons to invest in advanced technology for your phone needs. And this list is by no means conclusive. Expect to see demand grow as the technology itself experiences improvements in functionality, accessibility and cost feasibility.