Making the Switch: Pros and Cons of VoIP
In the UK, telecommunications is on the verge of entering its next phase. In the process, leaving landline telephones behind. Back home, millions have already cut cables. Only half as many people use landline services compared to seven years ago.
This change in behaviour has major implications for businesses, small and large enterprises alike. When you can reach the majority of consumers only through the Internet, does paying for landline connections still make business sense?
For most businesses in the UK, the question has already been answered by the telecommunications industry for them: no. A planned phase out of the majority of the nation’s PTSN systems will mean by 2023 it may be nigh impossible to get a traditional phone line installed.
But that’s a couple of years away. And the cost of overhauling your entire telephony system is an immediate one, should businesses choose to upgrade. Below, we explore the advantages and disadvantages of making the switch from landline to VoIP systems today.
VoIP: Business Boons
Any significant structural and technical change will incur costs. It’s the same for switching to IP telephony. Whether you’re buying completely new handsets or an adapter that lets you use your old phones for VoIP, there’s an upfront price that will run higher than your monthly phone bill.
However, VoIP plans come out cheaper in the long term, especially for small to medium sized businesses, or large corporations with hubs in multiple regions. Plans are typically priced per user, which means you only pay for what you use. Long distance calls will no longer be subject to tariffs or tax, allowing you to communicate between offices without hiking up your phone bill.
Near Limitless Compatibility
Some, especially older businesses, delay switching from their legacy phone systems because they’ve built an entire network of connections around a number. Yet that’s no longer a concern for businesses today.
Modern VoIP services now allow users to “port” their old number, which just means keeping the existing one. Uncoupling your number from landline systems means you get the freedom to use it for any VoIP-enabled device, from smartphones to your desktop PC.
Integrates With Existing Systems
VoIP systems are more than just inbound and outbound calls. The most robust platforms allow users to integrate key channels, from legacy devices like fax machines to customer relationship management (CRM) platforms like Salesforce or Zoho.
Connecting these once disparate systems streamlines communication and data sharing at work, saving employees time and minimising complexity. Employees can send over fax documents directly from their softphone app. Conversations can automatically be logged onto your CRM, streamlining the way you track and manage your leads.
Make Calls From Anywhere
Remote working arrangements have turned from trend to the new norm for many businesses. Around 85 percent of employees want to continue working remotely at least some of the time even after the pandemic.
This massive shift in work arrangements, all within the last couple of years, has disrupted office communications. When anywhere is your workplace, VoIP systems enable businesses to keep communication lines clear, no matter where an employee chooses to be. All they need to hop onto a conference call or send a voicemail is a stable Internet connection.
It’s Only As Good As Your Broadband
The biggest strength of VoIP systems is also its Achilles heel: its reliance on a good Internet connection. IP telephony works by converting calls into data packets and transmitting them through your broadband connection. Any delays or hiccups along the way can result in packet loss.
The effects of packet loss manifest in different ways. Commonly you’ll get choppy audio, because the packets aren’t arriving in order. At worst, calls can drop completely. Most broadband plans meet the minimum recommended speed for IP telephony. However, it’s worth noting that the number of users and your usage behaviour will influence the amount of bandwidth available for transmitting call data.
Requires More Stringent Security Measures
Like any Internet-connected device, VoIP phones are vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. As they’re connected to your internal network, VoIP devices can serve as a gateway to your system. An increasing number of businesses are also falling victim to vishing, a form of phishing where bad actors trick staff over the calls to reveal sensitive information.
That means businesses switching over or already using IP telephony will have to take extra measures to extend their security perimeters to include their VoIP systems. Employees will need to be trained to identify fraud and theft attempts over calls.
Higher Maintenance Needs
Landline problems can usually be traced back to faulty phone hardware, like a corroded connector or cabling on the street that’s been disturbed. With IP telephony, the setup becomes a little more complicated.
VoIP ecosystems are much more expansive, consisting of routers, adapters, and dedicated software such as softphones. All these nodes have to be maintained regularly to keep your service uninterrupted. Fortunately, many VoIP providers include access to technical troubleshooting when needed.
At Evolvit, we can help you design a secure VoIP system that works for your business and provide you with the technical support it needs to perform. Book a free consultation today.