Why Businesses Should Invest in VoIP Technology - Business 2 Community

Why Businesses Should Invest in VoIP Technology - Business 2 Community


Why Businesses Should Invest in VoIP Technology - Business 2 Community

Posted: 25 Jun 2021 03:32 PM PDT

Many people, hearing the word VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol, think that it is something unknown that they will never use. But in reality, every day we use related technologies, such as WhatsApp calls or video conferencing.

VoIP: what it is and how it differs from traditional telephony

VoIP is the acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol. Initially, VoIP solutions do not require additional equipment or costs, so your business can start using this type of telephone assistance in a matter of minutes.

According to a report by Global Market Insights, VOIP will see its highest growth rate in the next five years – about 15%

This same report states that the trend is to reach $ 93.2 billion by the end of 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 3.1% between 2019 and 2024.

How VoIP Technology Works

The VoIP phone systems operate completely differently from the way traditional analog systems we have used in the past decades.

Analog systems are supported by a cable with two fine copper wires that transmits an electrical signal that in turn is transformed into sound waves. When we talk on the phone, these waves are in charge of transmitting the voice.

For each line contracted, the analog system allows only one communication, which favors its use in the residential market. Each of these lines is registered under a geographic identifier or DDI number.

Currently, in addition to analog lines, digital lines are widely used. The digital system allows that various communications can be transmitted in digital format (ones and zeros).

This transmission can also occur through traditional telephone cables. Its operation is done within the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).

The basis of the VoIP system is a digital protocol that can provide a wide spectrum of services, both voice and teleservices and others. Voice and data can travel simultaneously thanks to this technology that has a greater transmission capacity than analog.

In this system, the ISDN lines allow a maximum of 30 simultaneous communications through 30 channels of 64 Kbps, either for voice or for data. Each channel supposes a numbering (DDI) that is used to call and receive calls.

Digital calls are generally free of noise or interference, so their sound quality is superior to that of analog calls. A negative aspect is that the number of simultaneous communications is limited.

VoIP technology features

For its part, VoIP does not need an infrastructure or separate telephone lines, but works on a pre-existing framework, which is the same that is used to provide Internet to much of the world.

In essence, an IP line is nothing more than a voice channel in which the call is transmitted over the Internet network, when a SIP device or a switchboard connects with the VoIP provider.

The SIP standard is the most used for VoIP calls and the number of channels available to be used is conditioned only by the bandwidth offered by your VoIP provider.

It is important to note that there are no physical IP phone lines. The support of VoIP technology are data connections (fiber optic, ADSL, LAN). It is from these connections that calls are made.

Below we will mention some characteristics that can help us understand what IP telephony is, what VoIP is and why this technology is gaining more and more acceptance in the business market:

  1. IP telephony does not use physical lines, but rather connects to the Internet network.
  2. Unlike analog and digital lines, VoIP has no preset limitations on the number of simultaneous conversations.
  3. VoIP technology makes it possible to host telephone numbers in the telecommunications operator's cloud.
  4. With VoIP it is possible to create a network joining multiple locations, facilitating the interconnection of distant physical spaces under a single header number.
  5. It allows you to use computers to make calls, without the need to link them with telephone sets.
  6. It is possible to make high quality calls, in correspondence with the quality of the Internet and the technological resources of the company.

Examples of VoIP applications

Skype

Skype is a true example of Voice over IP. It is a very popular application, which has a large number of clients. It is very easy to use, as well as being compatible with Microsoft and Facebook accounts.

This champion of VoIP technology allows us to make audio and video calls online. It can also be used to send free instant messages between Skype users around the world. It is multiplatform.

Viber

Very popular in the world – although not so much in America – Viber is a very complete VoIP application. Allow your customers to make free, high-quality calls and video calls. It is also cross-platform.

With Viber you can also chat and send all kinds of files. According to statements by Talmon Marco, founding CEO of Viber, the platform has a database of 200 million active users. Popular, isn't it?

Facebook Messenger

Some say that " Facebook is synonymous with the Internet. " Although the claim is exaggerated, we cannot deny the tremendous weight of the blue giant in the networks. Its VoIP application, Messenger, is extremely popular.

Messenger allows customers to make free audio and video VoIP calls as well as instant messaging. It also works as an SMS manager, which makes it a versatile app.

Aircall

Aircall offers call center software that integrates with your sales and CRM tools. Thanks to the numerous functions and the CTI, you can put your agents at the center of the action again: Click-to-Dial, Power Dialer and call forwarding are functions that should significantly improve the performance of your agents.

In addition, the cloud-based telephone system has over 86 integrations from CRM to helpdesk and other important tools. Optimize workflows, analyze your performance, record calls and much more. Sales calls over the phone have never been easier!

Advantages of VoIP technology

In modern companies this type of technology can be useful in both customer service and call centers. It is the most advanced solution on the market.

This uniqueness allows us to share the Internet networks both in the office (Ethernet) and the outside networks that connect everyone, which is an undeniable advantage of VoIP technology.

Internally, each phone can be connected to any Ethernet port, sharing the network with the computers. By not requiring new telephone wiring, there can be a considerable cost reduction for the company.

When configured as extensions, the phones can be connected anywhere within the office. So, each collaborator will have their phone and can take it to any location.

The use of the same network for data and voice transmission, represents in itself a considerable saving. On the other hand, since calls between extensions of the same company are free, consumption can be reduced by up to 80%.

To the outside, VoIP technology can be integrated both with an IP (SIP trunk) to make VoIP calls, as well as connect ISDN, analog lines or even through mobile links.

VoIP, a revolution for companies

It is a simple way to communicate with any user around the world who uses Voice over IP. Also the ability to share data quickly and automate tasks by using other applications means, in many cases, a great increase in productivity. Therefore, it is not surprising that currently more than 80% of the lines installed are via VoIP.

It is especially suitable for companies looking for unified communications solutions , using voice calls, web conferencing, fax, voicemail to email, chat, etc. The large number of different devices with which VoIP can be used allows employees to take their extension from the office wherever they want, activating or deactivating it when necessary. Thus, they will be able to communicate with their smartphone with clients or other people in the company and make or receive phone calls, regardless of whether they are at home or on the road. This opens up many possibilities for family and work conciliation.


Switching to VoIP: Everything You Need to Know - Business 2 Community

Posted: 18 Jun 2021 09:41 AM PDT

The growing digitalization has caused a massive paradigm shift in the ways we communicate. Unlike earlier times, when you would connect to people through a traditional phone system which is costly, outdated, and offers poor quality phone calls, you can now connect to people even when you're poles apart, that too, in the most efficient way.

Whether you are an individual or running a business, you would want to access the best features at no or low cost. For that matter, we have brought you a detailed insight into the VoIP system.

Let's begin by answering what exactly VoIP is?

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. To put it simply, VoIP is a system that assists you in making phone calls via the internet instead of using your regular landline or mobile network.

How Does VoIP Work?

Source: plumvoice.com

It works by converting analog voice signals into digital signals. Whenever a phone call is made via VoIP, it is the VoIP adapter that converts the signals.

The next step that is followed is to send this digital data to the business phone service provider using your internet, and then, the message is ultimately conveyed to your customer's phone.

The system that works behind VoIP is known as ' packet switching. Here, an instant connection is made every time you speak. The connection is not two-way all the time. That's certainly because both the people might not be speaking at the same time.

VoIP works by breaking your message into packets and forwarding it to the other person. It sends the packet quite efficiently. That's why you will find VoIP calls quality better than regular mobile or landline networks.

VoIP vs Landline for Business

The landline network has been used for over decades now. However, the evolution of technology has caused the birth of several communication platforms like VoIP, each with its benefits and limitations. Hence, based on the following criteria, we have compared both the systems.

Source: offix.com

1. Reliability

VoIP- VoIP phones need the internet for their working. Hence, you need to have a reliable internet connection for its proper functioning. People living in remote areas, where there's no effective internet connection, can not rely on VoIP phones.

Landline- landline network is more reliable because wires are used to create a landline connection. Even if some trouble arises due to some weather issues, it's easy and quick to fix landline connections rather than VoIP phones. Hence, businesses living in areas with improper internet might prefer landline connection considering its reliability.

2. Maintenance

VoIP- these are quite easy to maintain and fix. Its parts are also cheaper than a landline connection.

Landline- these are a bit costly to maintain due to expensive infrastructure. Small businesses may not like the landline network for its higher cost of maintenance.

3. Features

VoIP- landline systems can never compete with VoIP phones when it comes to features. These phones offer a wide range of features such as call analytics and video calling features which are not provided by the landline network.

Landline- this system provides very basic features. This is not suitable for businesses who would want a greater number of features from their phones. Hence, they may have VoIP phones.

4. Call Quality

VoIP- phone quality with VoIP depends on your internet connection, if that's not efficient you may experience a poorer call quality.

Landline- here the infrastructure does not depend on the internet, hence they have a consistent call quality.

5. Cost

VoIP- this is the main advantage of VoIP phones; they are cost-friendly. The initial buy-in, as well as after-market maintenance costs, are low. It offers free international calls.

Landline- these are more expensive to buy and maintain as compared to VoIP phones due to their infrastructure.

Some Best VoIP Providers

  • RingCentral- this is one of the most used VoIP providers. RingCentral provides solutions for small business partners to large corporations, focusing on developer integration. It helps in allowing third-party providers to connect to the RingCentral environment in new ways.
  • Line 2- Line 2 is best to use when you do not want to give your mobile number to customers and at the same time, carry a second phone. What this system does is, moving traditional hard-wired on-premises PBX to the cloud and moving PBX handsets to smartphones of the team.
  • Vonage- Though Vonage suffered a great deal of loss in its earlier stages, it's been working round-the-clock to rebrand itself as a B2B cloud service provider. It offers a unified platform that allows integrated communication.
  • BasicTalk- as suggested by the name, this VoIP provider offers basic services. In the head-on competition of BasicTalk vs Vonage, this is cheaper to set up, also easy. However, it does not allow international calling.
  • 8×8- this is a small-scale VoIP provider. Initially, it was a chip design firm. It has now gained video conferencing products, VoIP technologies, and a few more features.

Voice Over Internet Protocol – Pros and Cons

Source: inaani.com

Pros

1. Cost: As stated earlier, VoIP phones are cost-friendly. The cost to set them up and maintain is cheaper than a traditional phone system. These phones run on the internet and hence only one account and one bill are needed for both internet and phone calls. It offers free phone calls from PC to PC but may charge for calling from PC to landline. However, the cost charged is lower than that charged by traditional phones.

2. Accessibility: The only thing that matters while making a phone call with VoIP is an internet connection, no matter the distance between the two people. All they require is a well-established internet connection to get in touch via these phones.

3. Flexibility: This system has a great deal of flexibility. Unlike other networks, with VoIP, you can connect with thousands of connections.

4. Voice Quality: If you have an efficient and reliable internet connection, you can experience amazing voice quality with these phones. But, if you live in remote areas without a proper supply of internet, then you might experience some differences.

5. Less Expensive Features: There is a wide range of features offered by VoIP phones. This includes- call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, called ID, three-way calling, etc. You do not have to pay more than what is reasonable with VoIP.

Cons

1. Necessity of Internet Connection– These phones can only be operated when connected with a regular internet supply.

2. Power Emergencies- In case your power goes out, your internet connection will be cut off and you will no longer be able to access VoIP phones. However, this is not a major issue if the power goes out rarely or for the minimum time. But can cause a huge loss to your company if it goes for longer hours.

3. Latency: Latency refers to the delay or lag in making calls. This mainly occurs due to the information taking time to reassemble to make a good quality call.

How to Switch to VoIP?

Below are 9 steps that you can follow to switch to VoIP from a Traditional Phone

Step 1: The first step in switching over to VoIP is to have a proper infrastructure set up. However, before cloud PBX solutions switching over to VoIP was not at all an easy task. It has gotten much easier now. Still, it's equally significant to go with a plan. Get the right infrastructure set up.

Step 2: This system is wholly dependent on the internet supply for its working. Hence, you need to ensure a reliable internet connection before you go on to switch to VoIP. We would suggest you install a wired broadband connection with at least 100 kbps per line. Get your internet speed tested. If you find it is not fast enough, there's a need to upgrade it.

Step 3: It's time to prepare the right infrastructure. Technically speaking, this system works best when connected directly to the router or switch setup. Keep in mind, large offices might require VLAN configuration. We would recommend you to use a switch instead of layered routers as they can cause some technical issues.

Step 4: Apart from great internet service, the perfect network and the best phones, the center of your VoIP provider is a crucial factor in determining the success of your system. You need to find the right VoIP provider to get your phones connected to the fastest, lowest-latency VoIP servers to achieve high-quality phone calls.

Step 5: Now that you have decided on the VoIP provider, it's time to implement business phone features. These features are significant because, without them, your phone system will only be able to make or receive phone calls. These features include-

  • Auto-attendant
  • IVR (interactive voice response)
  • Automatic calling forwarding when busy
  • Call queuing
  • Conference bridge
  • Extension dialing
  • Voicemail forwarding
  • VoIP number porting

Step 6: The next step is to choose your VoIP hardware. Keep in mind the following things while choosing the hardware

  • Go for VoIP phones to keep the desk phone setup.
  • To get a hands-free option, VoIP headsets will be required.
  • A VoIP softphone will work best if you want to use internet-connected equipment.

Step 7: You will need time to adjust to the new phone system and so will your employees. You will need to train them first. Hold a training program. Teach your staff members about the new software and hardware.

Step 8: It's time for the system to get installed. The setting up of the VoIP system differs from business to business and also on the hardware you choose to set up. For a small setup, it could be a matter of plugging in a few phones at the office. On the other hand, for a larger business, it can be a bigger project.

Step 9: For many small businesses, your business phone bill is a substantial expense. For extra features that businesses require, phone carriers charge a substantial premium. This cost will decrease once you have switched to VoIP.

Why Should Companies Switch to VoIP?

There are multiple reasons why companies should switch to VoIP.

  • Cost: Voice over Internet Protocol is significantly cheaper in costs and causes less capital expenditure.
  • Value: Switching over to this system brings along a variety of additional benefits like voicemail, call forwarding, conferencing, video calling, and a lot more.
  • Mobility: To make calls via VoIP, you can take calls anywhere so long as you are connected to an internet connection.

Winding Up

We would like to wind up this article by saying that though traditional phone systems have sometimes worked enough for us, it's high time that we switch to VoIP considering its unending benefits. We hope that even if you're a beginner or a non-technical person, this article helped you understand the basics of VoIP and why and how to switch over to it.


VoIP-Pal again accuses Apple of patent infringement in new lawsuit - AppleInsider

Posted: 25 Jun 2021 07:58 PM PDT

VoIP-Pal, which owns a portfolio of communications patents, has filed a new lawsuit claiming that the underlying system powering Apple's iMessage and FaceTime infringes on its intellectual property.

The complaint, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, targets the "Apple Calling System" communications platform that includes Apple's server infrastructure, consumer devices, and software applications.

According to the lawsuit, this system infringes on a pair of patents held by VoIP-Pal. U.S. Patents No. 8,630,234 and No. 10,880,721 are both titled "Mobile Gateway" and detail a method of initiating phone calls by transmitting various codes between a caller and callee.

Apple's system infringes on the IP because they transmit various access codes or identifiers to support calling functionality in iMessage, FaceTime, and other systems, the lawsuit claims

"The Apple Calling System produces an access code identifying a communication channel useable by the mobile telephone or device to initiate a call to a callee using the channel. In the Apple Calling System, the access code is based on a location identifier and/or based on a location pre-associated with the mobile telephone or device," the lawsuit reads.

Additionally, the plaintiff also accuses Apple of knowingly infringing on the communication protocol patents.

Apple had knowledge of the patents since at least November 2015, when VoIP-Pal sent a letter notifying the Cupertino tech giant of the patent applications that would eventually become the patents-in-suit. VoIP-Pal reportedly offered Apple a license to its patent portfolio, which Apple refused.

As such, the complaint alleges that Apple is knowingly infringing on VoIP-Pal's intellectual property.

This isn't the first time that VoIP-Pal has sued Apple for alleged patent infringement. Back in 2016, it levied a lawsuit claiming $2.8 billion in damages because of features like iMessage. It again accused Apple of patent infringement in 2018, as well as in April 2020.

Apple has challenged the various lawsuits over the years. However, not all of its attempts have been successful. In November 2020, VoIP-Pal won an appeal in the Federal Circuit, bringing ongoing litigation back to lower courts.

The lawsuit on Friday, which demands a jury trial, seeks an order enjoining Apple from infringing on the patents-in-suit and damages for the alleged infringement, among other prayers for relief.

Keep up with everything Apple in the weekly AppleInsider Podcast — and get a fast news update from AppleInsider Daily. Just say, "Hey, Siri," to your HomePod mini and ask for these podcasts, and our latest HomeKit Insider episode too.

If you want an ad-free main AppleInsider Podcast experience, you can support the AppleInsider podcast by subscribing for $5 per month through Apple's Podcasts app, or via Patreon if you prefer any other podcast player.

What hoteliers need to know about VoIP phone systems - Hotel Management

Posted: 14 Jun 2021 12:00 AM PDT

Many hotels have recently decided to switch phone systems—from traditional landline phones to Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems—for myriad reasons: 

  • Significant cost savings
  • Ability to work from anywhere while still using your office phone number
  • The numerous features VoIP offers

Understanding VoIP

Voice over Internet Protocol phones use the internet to make and receive calls. Some service providers enable you to use analog phones, but the majority provide internet protocol phones that can be plugged into any ethernet jack. 

Once connected, you can easily make and receive calls. Using a web portal and login, you can customize numerous features, including a virtual receptionist welcome message or adding new users. 

Difference Between VoIP & Traditional Landlines

The most significant difference between VoIP and landline phones is technology. Landline phones haven't changed much since the beginning of the 20th century and require an infrastructure of wiring and exchange hardware. By today's standards, landline phone technology is limited, allowing users to basically only make and receive voice calls. 

VoIP technology has changed how companies communicate. While IP capabilities have been around several decades, VoIP services have advanced in recent years, thanks to innovation and faster internet speeds. 

Unlike landline phones that require add-ons for features at additional costs, VoIP systems come with an array of popular communication features already built in. 

How VoIP Systems Work

VoIP phones work by turning your voice into data, which is then transmitted over the internet, similar to sending emails. 

If you've used Skype, you've used VoIP. VoIP calls are made on your phone, connected to the internet with a network cable or adapter, or via a computer's microphone and speakers using an app. When making calls, the VoIP service provider routes the voice data between you and the other caller—all within a split second. 

Understanding VoIP Basics

VoIP PBX stands for private branch exchange and is a company's private phone network. VoIP PBX is a cloud-based phone network that a VoIP service provider manages in the cloud and one where companies pay a monthly fee to use the service. 

Ethernet is the internet delivery system within a local area network—as in the network of computers and devices in your office. You'll connect your IP phone units to the internet with an ethernet cable. 

VoIP Systems Transform Communications

As businesses grow, having a phone system that aligns with the publics' expectations is critical. Unlike traditional landlines, VoIP systems come with powerful features to help businesses make big impressions, including:

Virtual receptionist: When a live person can't take a call, the virtual receptionist takes over. Instead of hearing a busy signal or being put on hold, callers listen to a message and can be given options on how best to proceed. 

Ring groups: You can program ring groups to ring simultaneously so everyone in a department, like sales or reservation, receives the call. Groups can also ring sequentially from person to person, until someone picks up.

Mobility: VoIP systems, unlike landlines, support working remotely through mobile and desktop apps, and voice messages forwarded as email attachments—allowing employees to make and receive calls from anywhere in much the same way they would from the office. 

Conference calling: To ensure everyone experiences in-person call quality, look for a conference phone with the following:

  • 360-degree voice range
  • Array of built-in microphones
  • Echo cancellation background noise suppression

Virtual fax: With VoIP phone systems, you can still send traditional faxes from your phone to a fax machine, removing the need for fax equipment. Faxes are converted to PDF files and managed within the end-user portal. Each user who needs access will have fax capabilities via their phone extension. 

Existing phone number: Keeping your office phone number makes the transition to an IP system seamless. The moment you plug in your phones, you'll be able to make and receive calls. No need to change business cards, letterhead and website information. Your VoIP service provider can take care of moving your number to your new system. 

Setting Up an IP Phone System

Setting up a business VoIP system literally just takes minutes. One of the differences businesses notice when switching to a VoIP system is the reduction in on-premises equipment. Traditional business phones require the installation of large wall-mounted fixtures, followed by upgrades and IT servicing. 

With VoIP systems, the hardware generally consists of one or two compact, plug-in pieces. When it comes to switching your phones to VoIP, you have device options. You can continue using your existing analog or digital desk phones, or if you'd like to upgrade, you can purchase IP phones. 

Once your desk phones and starter kit arrive, follow a few simple steps:

  1. Connect your base station (a tablet-sized router that sorts out voice data and traffic to ensure clear, reliable calls) to your analog phone. 
  2. Plug in wireless extensions (into regular power outlets) to connect analog phones to the internet.
  3. Connect IP phones to an ethernet jack.

VoIP's Key Advantages

  • Important impressions: How the public perceives your business often depends on their initial phone interaction. Will they hear a welcome message with easy directions, or be put on hold immediately? Whether your business has 10 or 200 employees, your business will sound professional with a VoIP phone system. 
  • Excellent call quality: With technology advances and increased internet speeds, your VoIP phones will provide the call quality you need. 
  • Reduced costs: Lower costs are one of the most appealing benefits for switching to VoIP systems. Those with landlines understand the significant expense—setup fees, monthly costs, per-line expenses, etc.—all add up, including IT support. To calculate how much you could save by switching to a VoIP system, use the VoIP Savings Calculator.
  • Remote teams: Employees today literally are working everywhere. A VoIP system provides the tools to communicate with staff effortlessly—no matter where employees are. 

Ken Narita is VP of business marketing at Ooma. 

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