Internet-enabled connectivity has enhanced nearly every aspect of our daily lives. And one area that’s enjoyed undeniable improvement is telephone communications, which have been revolutionized in recent years by VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol.
What Is VoIP?
At its most basic, VoIP allows you to host your phone line on an Internet protocol network rather than a landline. Analog voice calls are converted into packets of data that can then travel over a public or private IP network. Depending on the service provider and plan, VoIP can work on computers, standard handsets, or mobile devices, making it not only far cheaper than traditional telephone plans but also adept at meeting the flexible needs of today’s small to medium-sized businesses.
That means no more trying to manually check your voicemail messages from the road. Or wishing you could receive incoming call notifications on your cell phone. Or juggling contact lists between multiple devices.
Want to make sure your customers never get a busy signal again? The best VoIP solutions route your calls exactly where they need to go. Want to receive faxes, emails, or voicemails while away from the office? In today’s business world, that should be standard technology—not a special offering.
Of course, there can be drawbacks to leaving landline systems behind. Some circuit-switched or PBX landlines do still offer higher quality than VoIP solutions. Then again, VoIP also offers a simplified network management structure, a unified communication system, and the ability to add new phones to your account with the touch of a button. So when you’re debating the pros and cons of different phone setups, you have to weigh a landline’s advantage in call quality with VoIP’s enhanced functionality and opportunity for a lower cost.
Yet the popularity of this new technology continues to grow. According to recent reports, VoIP is nearing a 50% adoption rate among businesses and consumers, with 15% annual increases expected through 2017. And mobile VoIP (driven by the Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, movement) represents the biggest growth segment, with more than 300 million current users—and more than 1 billion forecasted by 2017.
Mobility also poses a big challenge to VoIP, though, as phone systems are more prone to privacy or security hacks when they’re being used outside of the office. That’s where the help of a trusted IT provider can make the difference by keeping your data and your employees safe while still delivering the boost of smarter, more user-friendly phone systems.
Meanwhile, like the rest of the computing industry, a transition to cloud hosting of IP networks and servers should propel VoIP even further into the future. First, the communications market must plan for the retirement of traditional phone networks and transition to all-IP broadband networks. AT&T petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to begin phasing out its traditional telephone regulatory approach three years ago, with Hank Hultquist, VP of the company’s Federal Regulatory division, saying, “This telephone network we’ve grown up with is now an obsolete platform or at least a rapidly obsolescing platform.” When someone in a position of that kind of power delivers a statement that strong, you know the times are a’changing.
If you’re interested in reducing communications spending, streamlining your telephone network, and giving your business an Internet-connected boost while resolving technology-related headaches, contact CMIT Solutions today. We’re here to help your business communicate faster, cheaper, and better thanks to enterprise-level solutions that increase productivity and efficiency at a cost that’s right for your company.