When people talk about the benefits of switching to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system, the first thing that comes to mind is the overall cost-savings. VoIP services are certainly more affordable than traditional phone solutions. In fact, some business VoIP providers offer plans for as low as $10 per user per month, and this includes free user-to-user calling (also referenced as on-network calling), cheap international calling rates, and many other great features.
But while VoIP is known for its affordability, this communications solution actually does more than just lower business costs and increase savings. VoIP is also a highly flexible solution that enables users to stay connected and hold telephone conversations using different types of devices. Here are some of the more common devices you can use with VoIP:
A common misconception associated with moving to VoIP is that you need to completely overhaul your old phone equipment and purchase new phones. The truth is VoIP can be easily integrated with existing office technology and systems with the help of an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA). An ATA lets you connect your regular phone to your router, and thus gain the capabilities to make VoIP calls with your existing phone. It converts analog voice signals into digital data so they can be transmitted over the Internet, and thus complete your call.
An IP phone looks just like your regular telephone handset; but instead of connecting it to a phone jack, the IP phone is plugged into your router or desktop computer. Depending on the manufacturer and model, the features and functionalities of IP phones are varied. But generally, they contain standard features such as graphical LCD display screen, programmable feature keys, speakerphones, headset jack, and data encryption. Cost may also vary, with prices ranging from $30 all the way up to $200. Leading brands such as Cisco, Yealink, and Polycom offer a wide selection of IP phones for businesses.
The great thing about VoIP is that you don’t need to be desk-bound or stay in one physical location in order to use your phone system. Mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops can also be used with your business VoIP service. All you need to do is install your VoIP service’s softphone or mobile app, then either plug in your headset or use your device’s built-in speakers and microphone to start calling.
Softphones and mobile apps offer users increased mobility and convenience without sacrificing quality. With a softphone or a mobile app installed on your device, you can make and receive VoIP calls, hold video conferences or online meetings, share files, and utilize other premium VoIP features. This means that even when you’re at home using your laptop, in a coffee shop browsing through your tablet, or on the road with your smartphone, you will have full access to your business VoIP phone system's features.
Clearly, the days when subscribers are compelled to use a provider’s phone equipment with their telephone service are long gone. VoIP offers users the freedom to choose any device they need and want, which is a big advantage for businesses that value flexibility as well as those that want to control their costs.