Voice Over IP (VOIP) is hardly a new technology and can be found in many parts of modern business, but the most potent features of VOIP are still highly optional. If your business is still operating on a standard telephone system with few or no features, here are a few ways that VOIP can enhance your business communications and general efficiency without paying premiums for each small service.
What Is VOIP?
VOIP technology is a way to send audio over computer systems. It uses a set of rules and conversion techniques called Codecs (a portmanteau of Coder/Decoder) to convert the audio into a digital format, send it across a computer system, and then convert the digital format into audio for the listener.
Codecs are a major part of making VOIP efficient, but as far as the user goes, it's either a drop-down menu of quality options or completely invisible if you're not a technician. Codecs can be made by anyone, and some of the most popular and useful codecs are made by talented individuals ranging from dedicated hobbyists to corporate engineers.
All codec technology answers three specific questions: what is the audio quality, how big is the file, and how fast should it go across the network? There is a constant push to make the best quality audio codec that is as small as possible so it can travel quickly across networks without interruption, but there are some codecs that sacrifice speed for higher quality--or the other way around.
It's ultimately up to you and your business network, and a business phone systems professional can help you choose.
What Do VOIP Systems Bring To Businesses?
The first benefit of VOIP is flexibility. One problem with non-VOIP phone systems is that they're harder to simply move and configure without being bound by a specific wall outlet and number. For many buildings, a phone number is bound by a specific wall outlet and attached to a switch that assigns a port and phone number, but VOIP sets you free.
With a VOIP system, you can attach any VOIP-enabled phone to any line and program it with the number you need. This is easiest with internal communications, as setting a specific desk phone number within the business is as simple as opening a VOIP program and typing whatever number scheme you want.
External numbers--numbers that people call from outside of the business and your network--are a little more effort. In addition to VOIP hardware, you're usually paying for these numbers. The good news is that a little bit of money can buy a lot of numbers, so small businesses can afford to handle calls at multiple desks for a negligible price.
Contact a phone equipment systems professional such as DO Communications to discuss other options for configuring an efficient VOIP system within your business.