|Tristan Barnum, product line director, Business Phone Systems, Digium|
Tristan Barnum, product line director, Business Phone Systems, Digium, provides her own take on the benefits of VoIP
Tristan Barnum, product line director, Business Phone Systems, at Digium says that with all the information out there about the benefits of VoIP, it may be hard to know what you don’t know and provides us with five of her tips regarding the deployment of VoIP.
1. Can you hear me now? VoIP quality is all about the network.
A common misconception about VoIP calls is that they sound bad. On the contrary, since VoIP is digital it should actually provide a higher quality of sound than analogue phones. In fact, VoIP quality continues to improve with companies like Polycom introducing HD Voice that creates a CD-quality sound. The interference you may be hearing during a VoIP call is actually a function of the network the call is on. VoIP Quality of Service (QoS) depends on several different factors, most importantly the strength of the broadband connection.
2. Rome wasn’t built in a day but your phone system can be.
Just like building a city, installing and managing an enterprise-wide phone system can seem like an overwhelming (and expensive) task. Since a business can’t afford to be incommunicado for long periods of time, having
VoIP system can get you up and running in mere hours (versus days) and for a much smaller price tag. Resellers can customise feature bundles to fit user needs and do most of the set up off-site so that once they arrive, it’s usually a matter of plugging in the PBX and phone lines, dropping phones off at desks and training users on a generally straight forward interface. Resellers can also manage the system and address any issues remotely, cutting down on wait time for a technician. With the money users save on installation a business can invest more in building the custom integration applications possible with a software-based VoIP system that will further boost productivity.
3. It’s not always cheaper to VoIP
Since a call is traveling over the Internet it must be free right? Well, not necessarily. Just like paying a flat monthly fee for local telephone calls or a per-minute charge for long-distance calls, dialing over the Internet can come at a price whether direct or indirect, which may or may not be cheaper than the ‘standard’ PSTN (public switched telephone network) service. Cost also varies according to your call scenario. For instance, calling VoIP-to-VoIP within the same network can in fact be ‘free’ (think Skype to Skype). However, when a VoIP user calls a non VoIP user (think: VoIP call to a cell phone) the call leaves the VoIP network and ‘terminates’ into a regular public phone network where it is subject to regular fees. The difference is also a matter of WHO you’re paying and not just how much. If you are using a VoIP carrier or an ITSP (Internet telephony service provider) with ‘termination’ points all around the world, the cost to call internationally or long-distance for instance can be significantly cheaper than a traditional carrier. However, a VoIP call from New York to a non VoIP user in London will not necessarily cost any less than dialing from a ‘standard’ phone. The bottom line is that it isn’t an all-or-nothing approach when it comes to VoIP.