How Does VoIP & Cloud Telephony Work?
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that enables you to make calls through the Internet and is distinct from traditional landlines, which transmits your voice through electrical pulses through wires. In contrast, VoIP works by converting the same signals into digital data packets that can be transmitted through the Internet.
Infrastructure-wise, landline and VoIP both use the same optic fibre or copper wire connections. VoIP uses a modern version of Private Branch Exchange (PBX), which are systems that negotiate internal or outgoing calls within the company, and connect the phones to outside lines. An IP PBX works in the same way, with the addition of support for devices on your network, such as routers, IP phones, and computers.
Benefits and Features of VoIP
VoIP adoption continues to rise, with already 115 million users globally. With landline use having plummeted in the UK by half since 2012 and BT planning to move their entire infrastructure towards VoIP by 2025, VoIP is not only a better standard for calls, but the next standard.
Traditional landlines are now outdated, especially as a tool for business, letting you do only two things: make and receive calls. The telecommunications needs of businesses have far outgrown what landlines can do. With video calls, conferencing calls, and analytics becoming a normal part of daily operations, VoIP is an essential tool for most businesses today.
Modern VoIP systems bring all of these features to the table, often at no additional cost, as opposed to traditional landlines that would charge extra for anything slightly more complicated than making and taking calls. This creates a unified, powerful communications hub for the entire office. Below are just a few common features of cloud-based telephony systems:
- Caller ID: While landline phones do have Caller ID, it’s typically offered as a paid add-on. On IP phones, it’s a built-in functionality offered by many VoIP providers.
- Call waiting: Call waiting is essential, especially for support lines. There will be times when agents need to put a caller on hold, whether to address another call or ask another department for assistance. VoIP systems let employees make these transitions seamlessly, improving the customer experience.
- Voicemail: You’re not going to be able to stay on the phone 24/7, especially if you’re an SMB with limited manpower. Call forwarding ensures no important message falls through the cracks.
- Call forwarding: With call forwarding, you don’t have to tell your customers to call another number. Transfers can be made instantly, whether the receiving party is just in the next cubicle, or halfway around the world.
- Conferencing: Conference calls cut the time employees spend relaying information. While you can set up landline conference calls, the process is much more limited compared to the capabilities of VoIP telephone systems. Some offerings allow for sending files and up to 1,000 participants in a single call.
- Call recording: Keeping a record of calls is important, for legal, service optimisation, or training purposes. Cloud-based telephony allows you to record calls with a simple press of a button, no additional hardware needed.
There’s also less setup and additional hardware required for using VoIP. Any device that can connect to the Internet can use a VoIP app.
How Does VoIP Help Businesses?
A VoIP system allows your business to communicate beyond the constraints of location and limited carrier minutes, subsequently expanding their market reach. An overseas call is typically charged by the minute, with higher rates. Made through cloud-based telephone systems, differences between local and overseas charges disappear, and minutes are only as limited as your bandwidth. Scaled up to the countless support and sales calls made by businesses, VoIPs can save your business thousands of pounds.
Because VoIP clients work through the Internet, IP phones offer computing functionalities far beyond the capabilities of their landline counterparts. These devices come with a myriad of powerful features, from AI-enabled customer service attendants to automated speech-to-text transcription.