VoIP – flexibility and efficiency

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a relatively recent development in the ICT industry which allows you to make telephone calls over the internet. This is enabled via the use of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Trunks which negate the requirement for traditional phone lines.

When people talk about VoIP nowadays there is an immediate tendency to talk only about “cheaper phone calls” and not a lot else. However, while there can be very significant cost savings (up to 70% on call costs) we believe that probably the real advantage of the technology lies in its flexibility;

  • Scalable capacity (up and down) to deal with peaks and troughs in usage. This means that you are not paying for idle ISDN lines
  • Location independence
  • Provision of “local numbers”, regardless of what location the call is answered, as opposed to outdated “0845” type numbers etc. This can be an important marketing tool and takes away a potential barrier for people making overseas enquiry calls etc.
  • Apparent geographically larger footprint/coverage for your business (including the ability to appear internationally visible)
  • Disaster recovery and home worker support – particularly useful in case of problems at the office or in getting to the office e.g. recent extreme weather events
  • More efficient use of existing connectivity

Although it can be an extremely advantageous technology, clients need to take certain factors into account when thinking about using VoIP. The main issues that need to be considered include;

  • The speed or band width of your internet connection – this will impact upon usability and call quality
  • The level of resilience that you need in your communication system – if you are reliant entirely on VoIP to make your calls you are relying entirely on your broadband connection and this can be a significant risk for many organisations.
  • Security is also an important consideration – VoIP calls are “connected” to the internet via SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunks and like any other connection they should sit behind a firewall and have appropriate security in place.

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