Voice over IP (VoIP) uses data networks to carry voice and multimedia calls. High-speed internet connections make VoIP a powerful and flexible option for businesses that must control expenses and improve efficiency to compete in modern markets. Business owners and managers that ask, “What is VoIP? ” should understand the following ways the technology benefits them.

Cost

VoIP services allow companies to reduce their expenses while expanding their communications options to include video calls, voicemail and other services. Wide area networks handle interoffice calls from setup to breakdown without accessing the publicly switched telephone network (PSTN). When a VoIP user must call a landline telephone number, a VoIP gateway provides the connection through the least-expensive route.

By eliminating the need to run separate cables to every on-premises workstation, companies can use VoIP to reduce the installation and maintenance costs associated with dedicated telephone networks. Additionally, firms no longer need to employ technicians and administrators to operate their voice networks. As a result, either internal IT personnel or VoIP service providers now support businesses communications and thereby minimize the associated cost of human resources.

Flexibility

Using either dedicated VoIP telephones or virtual “voip phones,” workers who once were tethered to their desks can now log into work from practically anywhere in the world. Employees who work remotely have the same capabilities as their office-bound peers. They can, for example, receive and transfer calls, participate in conference calls and have dedicated internal extension numbers and external phone numbers.

Mobile devices and the technology that enables them adds to the flexibility of VoIP. Telephony apps convert smartphones into businesses terminals and thereby make team members more accessible and available throughout the day, regardless of their location. Such flexibility enables businesses to improve customer service and employee productivity while minimizing cost. Above all, the flexibility made possible by VoIP can result in substantial gains in profitability for firms of any size.

Features

Not very long ago, only large firms could afford the equipment and telephone networks needed to operate call centers and other advanced operations. Using expensive private branch exchange equipment, companies could also unify offices located around the world. Meanwhile, features such as automatic call distribution (ACD) ensured that callers consistently received prompt attention. Now, every business has access to such features.

Small firms that lack the resources to buy a PBX can now use affordable virtual PBX services that provide the features used by global corporations. Remote workers from around the world can participate in round-the-clock call center operations and team members ranging from executives to receptionists can transfer and monitor calls, communicate via video and access voicemail. VoIP also enables firms to unify all their messaging channels and create a single point of management for voice, email, SMS, web and instant message communications.

Companies in every industry use VoIP to control costs and improve efficiency. They have used the technology to expand labor pools by equipping companies to use remote workers. Also, efficiency gains made possible via VoIP result from the ability of traditional employees to collaborate even while out of the office. The cost, flexibility and features of VoIP make it an essential element of every business.