Telappliant have issued a set of practical guidelines to help businesses that are reviewing VoIP (Voice over IP) telephony services as a way of cutting operational costs.
The upward trend of VoIP adoption is supported in a study* conducted earlier this year, showed that 41 percent of UK companies are actively using VoIP telephony to improve efficiencies within their business, while a further 25 percent have plans to review and implement VoIP within the next 12 months. The study also indicated that 7 out of 10 UK businesses are expected to be using VoIP telephony services next year. However according to Telappliant many businesses are open to making costly mistakes if they do not have a clear understanding of what they need and more specifically what’s being offered by VoIP suppliers.
Tan Aksoy, Chief Executive Officer at Telappliant, commented, “The successful adoption of VoIP telephony begins with finding the right provider that can guide you to a VoIP solution with the features, capabilities and service that fulfil all practical requirements, without incurring excessive costs for equipment upgrades. A comprehensive VoIP consulting service will address your requirements, explain the business benefits and provide technical and operational support before, during and after the switch. By finding a provider that will ensure effective design, deployment and ongoing support, your business will benefit from a smooth and effective transition to VoIP.”
Telappliant’s seven steps to securing a successful switch to VoIP include:
1. Review the telecommunication requirements of your staff: Look at the number of employees that are desk bound and will benefit from access to a mobile fixed line. VoIP offers the ability to roam or work from home with an office phone line, which can give staff more freedom to do their job.
2.Look at your annual telephone bill: This is a great time to take a quick health check of your telecommunications costs and look at the number of mobile and International calls that have been made. Switching to VoIP can save at least 50 percent compared to standard BT tariffs. A VoIP audit is a quick and easy process which could potentially save you hundreds of pounds in 2013.
3.Cut through the jargon: Don’t be frightened by VoIP and the technical jargon. VoIP telephony is basically a telephone system designed to deliver voice communication over the Internet. It’s efficient, fast and reliable – and more importantly it’s seamless for your staff, customers and prospects. VoIP telephones (IP handsets) look and work the same as a standard office telephone (albeit with additional functionality, should you require it), so there is no training required for employees.
4.Consider your growth plans: VoIP is a scalable solution that grows with your business, with the ability to easily add phone lines, numbers and extensions as your company expands. A range of VoIP telephone numbers for various national and International destinations can help you expand your operations beyond your immediate location.
5.Broadband: One of the most common mistakes made when adopting VoIP is using the same broadband connection for data downloads and voice, rather than purchasing an additional broadband connection for voice. Although basic Internet traffic such as emails and web browsing are unlikely to cause any problems, bandwidth-heavy activities like file downloads and live streaming can significantly impact the quality of your VoIP. It would be most embarrassing for a colleague watching YouTube, taking part in a webinar or downloading a large file to affect the quality of an important business call. It is also important to ensure that your VoIP traffic is prioritised over data, in order to achieve the best possible call quality. Depending on variables, a connection should have at least 100kbps on both the upload and download. Ideally, you will need a broadband connection with a speed of at least 128 kbps such as ADSL to ensure good call quality and successfully use VoIP.
6.Ensure you can transfer your existing telephone number to your new VoIP provider: Another common mistake made by businesses is failing to check that existing phone numbers can be transferred to the new VoIP telephony provider. Many business owners sign their VoIP contract, only to find out afterwards that their number cannot be ported. Not all phone numbers can be ported to all VoIP networks, although a good VoIP provider will be able to port most UK geographic numbers from networks such as BT and Virgin Media, as well as Freephone, premium rate and International numbers from certain destinations. It is vital to discuss this thoroughly with your VoIP provider prior to formalising any written agreements.
7.The right tools for the job: A good quality VoIP telephone can ensure communication is as clear, smooth and simple as possible. VoIP works best with an IP handset that behaves just like a normal phone, but it is also possible to use a ‘softphone’ running on a PC or Mac, or even a VoIP app on your smartphone. There is also an ever-increasing range of hardware available to businesses such as video phones and cordless IP phones that mean you don’t have to be near a computer or be bound by a headset. Bear in mind that losing power can affect your VoIP calls if it causes your Internet connection to go down. You will not be able to make calls unless you are equipped with a backup UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), which can power the connection for a limited duration. A UPS can be purchased for as little as £100 and will power your modem and VoIP adaptor to keep you connected during short local outages.