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Where to start with a new VoIP deployment

5/31/2016 4:59:40 PM

The traditional office phone has gotten a real makeover in the last decade or so. Many businesses that used to rely on landlines and copper wires have switched to making and receiving their calls over the Internet instead. This new setup is called VoIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it is often deployed as part of a larger solution called unified communications that may include chat, telepresence, etc.

VoIP adoption has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2001, under five percent of business calls were made over Internet-connected lines; by 2008, at least 80 percent of PBX lines installed around the world were enabled for VoIP, according to The Telos Alliance. This growth in VoIP is poised to continue in the near future.

A September 2015 report from Infonetics found that the number of worldwide PBX and unified communications seats grew around 29 percent year-over-year between the first half of 2014 and 2015. In 2014, Infonetics forecasted that global VoIP revenue would climb to around $12 billion in 2018, with UC making up an increasingly big slice of it compared to PBX.

Why VoIP has taken off among small and medium-sized organizations

Think of the classic analog phone system. It's pretty limited in what it can do: It can handle calls and take voicemail, but not much else. At the same time, a traditional PBX setup like this can be costly to maintain, since all of the critical equipment is on-premises and there are fees for maintenance and hardware upgrades along the way.

In contrast, VoIP is much more flexible and adaptive:

  • Running on a hosted voice platform from a managed service provider, it is possible to add and delete users as the business grows.
  • The underlying infrastructure is overseen by the MSP, meaning that there is no need to have in-house telephony expertise to deal with technical issues.
  • Phones can be configured so that external calls can be routed to smartphones, while other calls go directly to voicemail.
  • Softphone clients can be utilized with VoIP on devices like PCs for easy video chat; complex telepresence systems are not required.
  • It's easy to install, maintain and scale, with an affordable monthly service plan that includes calls, mobility features, voicemail, etc.

Overall, VoIP is more like an application than a set of infrastructure. A small or medium-sized business that taps into VoIP gets the advantage of a flexible phone system connected to the Internet, without the hassle or expense of having to maintain all of the moving parts that operate behind the scenes. In this way, VoIP is a great example of how the power of cloud computing can be harnessed for everyday business needs.

VoIP can be a huge step up from traditional PBX.VoIP can be a huge step up from traditional PBX.

"Cloud-based business solutions are the way of the future, spurred by innovations in technology and accessibility that make the switch from on-premises systems to hosted solutions easier and more affordable than ever imaginable in the past," explained Olivier Benny for Dialexia. "While on-premise VoIP PBX systems still have their place … more and more businesses of all sizes are turning to cloud-based solutions in order to cut costs and increase flexibility."

Selecting a VoIP solution

When thinking about whether to buy a VoIP system, it is important to consider your company's growth trajectory, your budget and your IT capabilities. Many organizations with large IT departments still take care of their PBX implementations, but SMBs often find that VoIP is a more cost-effective route.

"SMBs often find that VoIP is a more cost-effective route."

Before going all-in on a hosted VoIP solution, be sure to check these things off the list:

  • Fast Internet connectivity: Verify that you have the speed and the bandwidth needed to support VoIP. Voice traffic usually requires at least 85 Kbps; make sure that other applications are not going to interfere with it.
  • Proper call routers: Some hosted voice platforms function better with a voice traffic router. Such a device solves potential bandwidth issues by prioritizing your VoIP traffic over your data traffic.
  • IP phones: Certified IP phones or softphones – i.e., PC-based with a headset and microphone – are needed for using business VoIP.

Hosted voice can make a big difference in your day-to-day experience with phone call reliability and cost. Find out more about how VoIP from Apptix can give you a head start on transforming your phone system.

Still have questions?

Please contact a sales consultant to determine the right solutions for your business.

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