If you’ve not heard about Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) yet we guarantee you will in the next few months as we get closer to the official ISDN switch-off.
The ISDN switch-off is the end of existing digital phone lines – which are no longer able to deal with the amount and quality of voice data needed for calls – and will see all voice communications made over the internet.
Voice over Internet Protocol is essentially the name given to the new digital communications we’ll be using after ISDN lines are turned off, and will use newer, more reliable technology like fibre cables to transfer call data.
But while ISDN lines are still in operation until the switch-off (scheduled for 2025) it’s possible to switch over to VoIP now and start to benefit from the digital-first communication network on offer.
Is there a need for this though? And what are the pros and cons of using VoIP for business sooner?
That’s what we look at in this blog.
Pros of switching to VoIP
1. It’s easily scalable
Unlike ‘traditional’ phone lines which require a separate line to be connected to a building for each handset, because VoIP is an internet-based network all you need to do is buy an additional VoIP handset and connect it to your existing network.
Depending on your supplier you can even get your new handset pre-programmed with all the settings and features you need so you just need to plug it in and it’s ready to use.
This means you can more easily increase your resources when you hire staff, rather than wasting time waiting for an engineer to come out and install a new phone line.
It also means that when you need to scale resources back, you can just disconnect the handset from your network.
2. It’s more cost-effective
The cost-effectiveness of VoIP is sometimes overblown by some providers who will claim you can just run a voice over IP network over your existing internet connection using compatible handsets.
Technically, that’s true.
But it does depend on the bandwidth of your existing internet connection and whether you have the capacity to run a VoIP system through your existing connection.
Having said that, the cost of potentially investing in an additional internet connection to handle your VoIP network is far cheaper than the cost of installing additional phone lines into a fixed location.
So with all things considered, VoIP is far more cost-effective than sticking with traditional phone lines.
3. It’s accessible
Because VoIP runs over an internet connection, there’s a chance you already have the network in place needed to install voice over IP.
This is particularly true for companies with a high bandwidth internet connection or those with remote employees who want to retain a central communication network.
VoIP is ideal for remote businesses because employees can use their own internet connection at home to access their business communications.
4. It’s more than a voice phone system
A key advantage of VoIP is that it is far more than a simple voice system.
Instead, it can put your business’ entire voice, text, message and video communications into one place and allow you to easily switch between systems on the same call.
For example, if a team member answers a technical enquiry from a customer simply using voice, they could easily transfer that caller to a technical advisor who could then take over the call using video to walk the customer through the issue and resolve it quickly.
Essentially VoIP greatly expands your company’s ability to use its full communication capability through one system, rather than investing in different platforms.
5. VoIP makes it easier to collaborate and be productive
Because VoIP puts all your different communication options into one place, it’s also the ideal tool for helping teams collaborate and be more productive – from anywhere.
It makes video conferencing much easier and allows teams to share information in a much better way, meaning they don’t have to waste time jumping between calls or sending presentations over email to review and then book other meetings.
Instead, teams can use a VoIP system to do everything they need through a single system and make much better use of their time.
Plus, because VoIP runs over the internet, it means teams can achieve all this collaboration and improved productivity from anywhere.
6. Improve call and video recording
If you’ve ever been in a meeting you’ll understand that panic you can get when you suddenly forget a key detail that’s been mentioned or can’t remember which tasks you’ve been assigned.
With VoIP this isn’t a problem because you can simply record all voice or video calls so they can be watched or listened back to later if needed.
This can save a lot of time going back and forth on emails trying to figure out what’s been said before or who’s responsible for completing jobs.
7. VoIP will be standard in the future
The final benefit of switching to a VoIP phone system now is that it’s going to be necessary to do so in a few years anyway.
After the ISDN switch-off there’ll be no alternative other than to move your business’ phone system onto the internet.
By making the switch now, you can get an early jump on the change and, importantly, work through any snags long before your competitors scramble to do the same later down the line.
Cons of using VoIP
While there are many benefits to switching to VoIP now, there are potentially a few things to consider before making the switch.
1. You need a reliable internet connection
VoIP uses a lot of bandwidth due to the volume of data sent over the system to meet the demands of your voice, video and text communications.
Depending on your existing internet connection, you may not have the available bandwidth to support a complete VoIP system, as well as your existing requirements.
However, it’s still more cost-effective to invest in a single new internet connection dedicated to your VoIP network than it would be to invest in additional phone lines.
Also, with 5G on the horizon, connections will be less of an issue.
2. There may be some cost considerations
If you’re moving over to a VoIP system you’ll need to factor in the costs of new VoIP-compatible handsets.
We’ve seen some instances where businesses have considered investing in VoIP, assuming their current internet and phone system can incorporate VoIP with no issues.
But you’ll need to ensure your existing systems can handle the switch, or invest in some resources if not.
There are also potential costs involved if you have a VoIP system and make calls to a none VoIP network (although this is a short-term consideration because every system will eventually run over VoIP)
Security is less of a con of using VoIP, but it’s a consideration when looking at the security of your internet connection.
When moving over to VoIP you should carry out an audit of your existing internet connection to ensure it’s secure and won’t put your calls or video messages at risk.
Improve your business’ communication network with VoIP from Communications Plus
There’s no getting away from the fact that switching to a Voice over Internet Protocol phone system is something every business will need to do after the ISDN switch-off.
If you want to get ahead of the game and create a cost-effective, flexible and scalable communication system for your business, we can help.
We’ve already helped businesses upgrade their phone and voice calling systems to VoIP and successfully upgrade their technology.
If you want to find out more about our VoIP service, get in touch.