June 14, 2019 What is an IP Phone/VoIP ?
We’re often asked, “what’s an IP Phone” or “what is VoIP?”
An IP phone uses VoIP communications technology to make and receive calls over the internet. VoIP phones do not use analog lines. Using the same broadband connection as your computer or router, they convert the call into digital signals and send them over the internet.
Analog vs Digital
The type of system you choose will have a significant impact on how your office communicates. Likewise, how much you pay for phone service, and what kind of services your customers and employees can take advantage of.
Up until recently, businesses and institutions had to buy a phone system, also known as a PBX (private branch exchange). This requires significant capEx which is not easy for small/medium businesses to shell out. This phone system, or business phone as we call it in Japan, allows you to:
• Receive multiple calls on the same phone number using extensions.
• Hold, transfer, and conference calls between the staff
• Share telephone lines amongst multiple staff members
Entering the Cloud Age
Most companies have gotten rid of their email servers at their companies Why?
・flexibility of using the cloud
Now with advances in technology, even small and medium enterprises can follow suit with their phones as 2 networks combine to become one.
An IP (internet protocol) Phone allows you to throw the phone system out of your office. You no longer have to pay for the phone lines from NTT (or any telecom carrier.) Even better, you eliminate the cost of maintenance and upgrades for an onsite phone system.
This is why companies that sell phone systems are closing down their phone businesses (Fujitsu, Hitachi, Siemens, Ericsson, to name a few)
What Do You Get From IP Phones And The Cloud?
Ok you know what an IP Phone and VoIP is now, but what can you do with it? When you put your company phones and communications in the cloud you get a lot more for your money compared to plain-old telephone systems. The benefits are numerous:
Landline phones are limited to only the most basic features, while VoIP phones allow for a wide range of features like having an virtual receptionist, voicemail-to-email, automatic call forwarding, three digit dialing, and many more.
- Subscription based service allows you to add or eliminate users quickly whenever you need to.
- Add com solutions as necessary such as mobile app, softphones, or IP phones.
- Your team no longer needs a desk phone! With a smartphone you can make and receive phone calls as if you’re in the office. Quality IP Phone services such as IPBX circle also give you “slack-ish” features like team-based chat, to-do lists, file-sharing, and video conferencing.
- Integrate with your CRM or ERP for calling clients and tracking your sales and customer service activity.
- You can cut telephone lines to the office and associated costs. No more closet full of wires for your PBX.
- The system is offsite and therefore better for Business Continuity Planning (BCP) as it should not go down or offline.
Work from anywhere, anytime you like! You can check out a great example of people working from a tropical island here.
*Things to keep in mind*
Unlike landlines, IP phones need electricity to function which means a backup power source is a necessity.
Furthermore, a fast Internet connection and high-bandwidth capacity will allow for more concurrent calls to be made through the network. Routers and other network equipment should have optimized QoS settings so the phone calls receive highest priority if there is high-traffic at peak times.