Telephone communication is a near essential part of most, if not every, business. If you can’t get to the phone, then your clients can’t reach you, you can’t deal with vendors and everything just slows down. Of course, in these modern times it is easy to resort to email, but sometimes there’s no replacement for picking up the receiver and having a conversation.
A good phone system lets you handle calls quickly and efficiently, collaborate with colleagues and provide great customer service. Over the years, VoIP has become one of the fastest growing business telephone systems available, helping businesses to become future proof.
VoIP; It’s Good to Talk!
When it comes to selecting your next serious business system, Voice over IP (VoIP) is a strong contender and one that will require careful consideration. The options around VoIP are incredibly varied yet provide lots of benefits, allowing you to:
- Save your business money by reducing costs of calls
- Gain better flexibility for remote workers
- Have a system that integrates with other office applications
- Benefit from a back-up if your system goes down
- Cut initial startup costs for a new business significantly
- Gain a better level of customer service
- Save money by upgrading your system
Here we take a look at the range of Voice over IP telephony (VoIP) options available to you – in-house, vendor cloud and self hosted including the benefits and downfalls of each, so you can find a solution to suit the individual requirements of your business.
1. In-House VoIP
Firstly, there’s in-house VoIP as an option. With this platform, you have a small hardware device in your office. It relies on your broadband for incoming and outgoing calls but is serves a dedicated function. The devices we recommend allow you to plug a USB drive or SD card in for easy configuration backup and call recording. They have simple user interfaces allowing even novice users to adjust calling options with relative ease.
The only flaw is that if you have problems with your broadband the entire system will be impacted for all inbound and outbound calls. In-house VoIP bears consideration where you have one office with good, stable broadband and little need for external workers to connect phones.
The low cost of the management systems means that many companies running this type of system will elect to keep a spare in stock as a standby should the primary system go wrong.
2. Vendor Hosted Cloud VoIP
The next step up is to go “into the Cloud”. When it comes to cloud VoIP based solutions, there are so many options to choose from, and you can either host your own, or choose a vendor package. A significant benefit of using Cloud VoIP – be it self-hosted or through a vendor – is that you are not equipment reliant.
When opting for a vendor package, you’ll find each works in much the same way that the vendor will supply a username, password, server, and in some cases a configured device for you to use.
Start up prices are low, but can quickly increase as each extra (automated attendants, call recording, voicemail via email) feature is added. You can very quickly find that all together your total number of extensions costs a significant amount of money each month. The up-side is that vendor packages are a managed service, so you can use them in the office, from home, or anywhere with a data connection.
They have simple web interfaces to allow changes to how the system works and the more advanced ones will allow video calling, or for you to take a call on a landline and transfer to mobile a device. Such services will cost extra but are worth it if you feel they’re something you need in your day to day business communications.
3. Self-Hosted Cloud VoIP
The simplicity of this option is that once installed and configured you only pay for your hosting and trunk costs (each concurrent call in or out of a VoIP system requires its own line or trunk). The cost savings and subsequent return on investment can be significantly better than the previous cloud equivalents. This hosted system is backed up daily and mirrored to two other data centers, providing far greater resilience. In the event of an outage there can be another system ready to send and receive calls in less than 10 minutes.
The biggest advantage with this platform is that it uses industry standard infrastructure such as AWS, where you have the opportunity for direct control. This provides almost limitless ability to expand with new features under active development and a global user base with excellent community participation, which means problems get solved quickly. If you run multiple offices, have users working away from a central base, or you wish to be able to scale up and down the number of extensions you run with no long-term contracts, then this is the package for you.
Rio IT Can Help…
At Rio IT, we’re here to help you find the best telephony package for your business. For more information, call us on 01206 235000, or get in touch using our contact form, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.