Talking is still the best way to do business. Whether you’re a journalist, a judge or a hospitality provider, the most effective way to get at what you’re after is by speaking to someone, someone human. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on Japan’s Henn-na Hotel, staffed mostly by robots with AI, and its decision to lay off half its machines — turns out, there was just too much miscommunication.
Typed and automated communication has its place. After all, who of us hasn’t spent more time tapping out a long text message or email because, for some reason, it felt easier? That’s fine for a quick update, but business typically takes longer. For business sales, nothing beats a phone number — a customer’s and your own.
But if talking is still king, is talking on a desk phone over a POTS (industry-speak for “plain-old telephone system”) line still best?
Traditional copper telephone lines sound great even today, but increasingly businesses are choosing to put their voice lines onto their Internet network connection. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is, simply, the operability of a traditional telephone by way of Ethernet (or IP) technology which opens the door to all modern “communications” — telephony, video conferencing, email (text), mobility, even presence detection — relevant for today’s unified communications systems.
There’s not one reason more companies are picking business VoIP phone service. There are many.
‘Click to Call’ And Interconnectivity
It’s not surprising that sales experts consider a phone call a persuasive way to conduct business. A BIA/Kelsey study of small- and medium-sized businesses and sales found two in three offices rated phone calls an excellent source of sales leads, while just 44 percent thought the same of emails, and fewer still online “clicks.”
But don’t discount the power of accumulating “clicks,” especially when they may lead to calls. An Ipsos survey for Google found that more than six in 10 service seekers said “click to call” (a telephone number for a business that, on a touchscreen, can be touched to dial) is “most important” in the purchase phase of a search, and about half (47 percent) said the absence of a business phone number will likely spur them to skip over to a comparable competitor.
There are many benefits of voice over IP phone systems within the context of modern unified communications, but interconnectivity between voice and visual messaging (the Internet) is a leading one.
Powering Your VoIP Connection
The advent of VoIP accelerated along side advances in IP network infrastructure, the actual terrestrial broadband lines buried and strung all around us. Today, instead of going online by way of our telephone exchange — remember dial-up? — we’re carrying out a powerful new fiber network designed for our Internet that will connect us by voice and video.
Telephone lines are made of copper, while “cable” is also copper just twisted into coaxial line. Both can and did deliver data sufficiently for more than a generation, but their limits are being tested in the era of VoIP, streaming and the Internet of Things. Today, optical fiber lines deliver next-generation speeds measured in gigabits per second. (Long-promised 5G hasn’t delivered, and when it does, it will require fiber trunking.)
Though VoIP phones don’t consume much total bandwidth, they are uploading as much data as they are downloading. With a fiber connection, data rate provisioning from most U.S. Internet Service Providers is symmetrical; that is, consumers enjoy the same upload and download speeds.
The same is not true of copper line network connections. However, any broadband connection (the Federal Communication Commission’s definition of acceptable “broadband” begins at a download speed of 25 megabits per second, 3 Mbps upload) should support VoIP communications.
VoIP Is Today’s Clear Line
VoIP allows you to use your existing Internet service to make voice calls. Trust us, it will lead to a bigger unified communications evolution in your office, but let’s begin the advantages with, it costs less.
Most offices require an ample broadband connection, with or without telephone service. So why not use that broadband connection for voice communications — often reducing costs and opening the door to new features.
Other advantages of VoIP include the following:
- Mobility With VoIP, calls to your “number” are truly calls that find you. Unified communications will ring a desktop, a mobile and a work laptop at once, an option called “twinning.”
- Scalable VoIP makes it easier to accommodate changes within the office — whether that’s adding new employees or moving between offices and cubicles. It’s a plug-and-play approach as opposed to the burdensome process of moving hardwired landlines.
- Voice to Text Coca-Cola got rid of voicemail years ago. Why? Because voicemail is a time sink, at least, so said the Harvard Business Review. Today, voicemails left on most VoIP systems can be transcribed and sent to your email or SMS, making it easier to stay caught up.
- Reliability We used to say a phone line was “dead.” Our children will puzzle over that word, because increasingly lines of communication will never go down. Modern unified communications solutions are often hosted in the cloud, so even if your office Internet was down, you could resume business and voice communications from your mobile or your laptop at another location with a working Internet connection. In today’s world of IP technology, total communications blackouts are unlikely.
- Future-proof VoIP communications are the way of the future. Even the FCC has planned to begin “sunsetting” the PSTN (public switched telephone network) as IP-based communications continue to grow in adoption.
Get VoIP, Get Started
Voice over IP phone systems’ consumption of landline phone market share will only continue at a disruptive pace. In 2010, there were 21 million U.S. subscribers to VoIP. The most recent data available from the FCC shows there are 64.5 million VoIP subscribers — more than local exchange telephone customers (54.7 million).
Business VoIP phone service will meet your expectations today and anticipate what gives you a competitive edge tomorrow. We’ve only begun to explain the advent of VoIP — your evolution to unified communications.
Want to make sure you tally all the considerations and choose the right VoIP solution? Download our free VoIP Buyer’s Guide.