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If you are always looking for new solutions to improve your business, you’ve probably heard about VOIP systems. Short for voice over the Internet, VOIP phones transmit calls through the Internet. Skype and Google Hangouts are two of the most popular Internet phones.
In the business world, there are tons of companies that provide VOIP services. Some of them promise to help save your business thousands of dollars annually. And true, Internet phone services can help save on costs by leveraging the Internet’s free nature. However, before you ditch your landlines, here are six things you should know about VOIP systems.
#1: VOIP Popularity Is Growing Fast
The VOIP industry is projected to become a $200 billion industry by 2020. By comparison, the sector was worth $43.27 billion in 2012. That means the number of subscribers has been doubling every four years.
The biggest driver for VOIP growth is its cost savings. On average, a business saves between 40% and 75% in phone bill costs annually by switching to VOIP. Specifically, smaller businesses tend to save higher percentages of their costs. Big businesses, on the other hand, save more in actual money.
Residential Use of VOIP Systems Is Also Rising
With such high savings rates, small and big brands alike have been switching to VOIP systems every year. Moreover, residential use of VOIP calls is also on the rise but not as fast as in the business world. Probably that’s because of Facebook introducing Messenger in 2014 and both Telegram and Skype offering similar services. Therefore, VOIP providers have not had big success in the residential sector.
#2: VOIP Systems Offer More Services Than Just Calls
VOIP’s main service is to enable calls between departments, as well as with clients or customers. Apart from that, you can text and hold video conferences at no extra cost. What’s more, you can record calls, as well as forward, hold, and dismiss calls easily.
The best VOIP service providers offer suites that cater to your company’s different communication needs. Usually, VOIP providers have several plans based on the number of business lines you have. Also, the number of calling minutes you use per month and your access to video conferencing with many people can increase your costs.
Will You Need a Special Device?
Since VOIPs transmit calls through the Internet, they also sell special devices for that purpose. The most popular device is called an analog telephone adapter (ATA). It connects traditional devices like fax machines and landlines to the Internet to make IP calls possible. Additionally, some providers sell Internet phones if you decide to ditch landlines completely.
#3: Security Concerns Are Decreasing
VOIPs send your voice call as packets of data. If these data packets are not transmitted securely, unauthorized Internet users could get hold of your data and hijack your conversations. However, with most VOIP hacking incidents, attackers target users’ accounts.
Because VOIP companies now use advanced security features, most security concerns relate to users’ accounts. Your passwords, login details, and other bits of information you share with strangers are the biggest causes of VOIP security breaches.
Most Companies Encrypt Your Data
VOIP companies use different technologies. However, a majority of the top providers encrypt your data for added protection. Because they do, anyone who intercepts your calls at any point of your communication can’t figure out your messages.
#4: VOIP Services Are Cheap
Sure, cheap can be expensive. However, when it’s a matter of cutting costs for your business without compromising on quality, never overpay. An average VOIP call costs a third of traditional phone calls. Where you used to pay nine cents per call, IP services charge you three cents. Now imagine how far your business can go if you are able to save a third of your phone bill costs.
The best VOIP services for small businesses start at $9.99 per month. With such plans, you can have two or three virtual phone numbers. What’s more, you can then link those numbers to all the landline numbers in your office. However, on the downside, most of the basic plans don’t provide a lot of minutes.
Most Businesses Will Need a Standard or Premium Plan
On the other hand, the standard plan costs $19.99 per month and assures you of an unlimited number of minutes. Any business that spends more than 1,000 minutes making business calls per month should probably opt for the standard or premium services. For one thing, you get more minutes. For another, you also receive access to more virtual numbers and dedicated customer services.
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#5: Modern VOIPs Combine Cellular and WiFi
One of the many benefits of modern VOIPs is that they work on cellular phones. In other words, you don’t need a landline or a desktop computer to make calls. In short, you can use any device that connects to the Internet for your business communications.
Moreover, thanks to virtual lines, there is no need to give out your personal phone numbers. Simply link your personal number to the virtual number. Anyone you communicate with will see the virtual and not your private cell number.
What’s more, with VOIP on your cellphone, you can conduct a business call wherever you travel. For example, while in a business meeting in China, call anyone in the US and they will immediately recognize your virtual business number. Hold a video conference with your sales department or chat with your colleagues from anywhere. VOIPs are mobile, convenient, and easy to use wherever you go.
#6: VOIP Systems Are the Future of Business Calls
Businesses are adopting VOIP services in large numbers. From 98 billion business in 2012 to nearly 400 billion subscribers by 2020, many enterprises are fully convinced they should use VOIPs. Of course, IP phones are not without their faults.
For example, few providers haven’t received complaints about some of their services. But isn’t that the case with all businesses? Customer support, phone quality, and the number of connected lines are the main areas providers still struggle with.
As such, take your time before adopting VOIPs if you have your doubts. Consider using free trials and cheap plans to test out the services. Only embrace VOIP fully after you are satisfied with the services you receive.
Despite being in the market for more than a decade, it’s only recently that businesses have started paying serious attention to VOIP services. Increased access to Internet connections and their cheap services mean millions of small businesses can now afford these services.
But before you start using VOIPs, invest your time in understanding the services better. Find out the value you get by paying for different plans. Only switch when you are convinced that VOIP will be beneficial to your business.