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Why Is Business VoIP So Popular?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is quickly becoming a fixture in the corporate world. Ask why and you'll get a barrage of answers, ranging from the money companies save to various packages that can be added on for little additional costs. Those who tout VoIP promise many benefits over the traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). The most mentioned ones are cost savings, new calling features, and reduced infrastructure of converged networks. Here is a closer look at just a few of the reasons behind the popularity of VoIP.

In the past, Internet telephone services have been seen as being of a lower quality or less reliable than the regular phone lines that came before them. However, this is no longer true, and an increasing number of businesses have started using business VoIP, which can get them connections just as good as their traditional ones, but at a lower cost.

The potential advantages to VoIP come in two categories - hard benefits and soft benefits. These hard advantages have a clearly defined cost savings like the amount of money saved every year by replacing a PBX with a VoIP server. Soft benefits, however, may or may not save the company actual money. An example would be the increased productivity of employees able to access their phones while travelling.

The first reason for VoIP's popularity is that business VoIP is easy to use for any company that has computers and an Internet connection - in other words, basically every company around. When companies add a service provider, they almost never have any trouble making the transition or setting up and using their new service. Transitioning takes a little planning and usually it's made easier when a Telecom Management professional is involved. A company is now usually able to keep their old phone number when they switch.

Reason number two for many is the perks that are offered by service providers to the companies that use them. These include multi-line services, call waiting, caller ID, call return, call block and more. The expansion of VoIP providers in recent years means that there is little you can get from a regular phone line that you can't get at better rates with the new technology.

Again, the overall costs for business VoIP are also a big plus to its users. Small businesses have to pay a bit more, but for the most part, rates are still much lower than those offered by normal phone service companies. Add-ons are cheap as well. Many companies only have to pay about one cent a minute for international calls and some simply have unlimited calls.

Business VoIP allows companies to better use tools they already have. Instead of having to pay for an entirely separate system of phone lines, companies can just use the broadband Internet connection they probably already have. VoIP maximizes the potential of this present outlet without requiring the installation and fees of an additional one.

Yet another thing that companies love about VoIP service is the ability to have their plan custom fit to their individual needs. Nearly all VoIP providers will work with businesses of any scale, letting them have features adapted to a very large or small number of users. This way, each consumer gets the best deal for all of its employees.

VoIP phones are equipped with features like call forwarding, voice mail boxes, and call records which will make company communications more efficient. Portability is another great feature with VoIP service. Employees who travel frequently can make calls through the Internet and have their same extension number and user applications still available to them. This enhanced mobility lets companies allow employees to have more flexible work options. This could improve productivity and reduce facility and real estate costs for some companies.

The addition of voice mail, email and fax integration, the application of Unified Messaging - the ability to retrieve your messages anytime, anywhere and in any way - is another alluring productivity enticement. Also, the ever-annoying game of "phone tag" could be eliminated with advanced call routing. Call routing can also be integrated with CRM systems (Customer Relationship Management) to check customer information and route calls to the appropriate number. There are always new features and applications to use and these new features can be added to VoIP phones more quickly and easily than traditional systems.

When they really start to look at business VoIP, companies will find that they don't really lose anything in exchange for lower prices - in fact, they gain a lot. Fast and trustworthy, VoIP phones aren't really that different than landlines - they just don't have all the bills. For those struggling with hard economic times, that's great for a better bottom-line.

Nermine Shaker has generated millions of dollars worth of savings for her clients. She is a Partner at THE SYGNAL GROUP, a Telecom Management Company that offers unbiased reporting, analysis and implementation of telecom strategies to businesses of all sizes. www.SygnalGroup.com

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