Voice over Internet protocol is a technology that has transformed the way in which people and businesses are able to make and receive phone calls.
In the past, people had to rely on analog phones to make calls. VoIP allows people to make calls over the Internet at greatly reduced rates, including international calls. Business VoIP can save businesses substantial amounts of money while also offering numerous additional features for a better call experience for both customers and workers.
What Is VoIP?
According to the Federal Communications Commission, voice over Internet protocol is a type of technology that allows you to make calls over the Internet by using your broadband Internet connection. There are different types of VoIP services, including some that only allow you to place calls to others who also have the same service as you while others may allow you to place calls to anyone. Some services require you to make phone calls using your computer or special VoIP telephones while others let you make calls using a regular phone that is plugged into an adapter.
Services VoIP Can Offer
In addition to the ability to make calls over the Internet, VoIP services often include many different features that you are unable to get with a regular landline phone.
Many VoIP providers offer free conference calling, call waiting, caller ID, and voicemail. Some offer the ability to place unlimited long-distance calls at no additional cost. Premium VoIP may also offer features such as an auto attendant so that callers can be directed to different extensions. A do not disturb feature may also be useful so that you can stop calls from coming in when you need to focus on something else. Other services that you might find useful include the voicemail to email transcription that is offered by some providers and the find me call routing that can route incoming calls on your VoIP service to your mobile phone if you are somewhere else.
There are many VoIP providers that are available, making it potentially difficult for you to choose the one that will work the best to meet your needs. Some of the most popular VoIP providers for businesses include Vonage Business Cloud, Ring Central, 8X8, and Mitel MiCloud Business. Residential VoIP customers may enjoy Vonage or 1-VoIP Residential for their VoIP services.
Cost Savings Over Alternatives
VoIP services offer significant savings to businesses over the alternatives. Traditional business phones that use a private branch exchange or PBX system are expensive. While the PBX system has a one-time upfront cost, using the system may require ongoing monthly equipment fees and per-user fees. On average, the cost of a PBX system in 2018 is $1,000 per employee. The cabinet may cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000, and there are many other costs associated with this type of system.
VoIP systems are substantially cheaper than PBX systems. Depending on the provider that you choose, you may not need to purchase any additional equipment other than your existing computers and phones and your broadband connection. Business VoIP services generally include the ongoing maintenance costs and taxes into the subscription price, and monthly per-user fees for hosted VoIP services can cost as little as $8.95 per month.
Individuals who are considering VoIP for their homes may also save money over the costs of traditional landlines. People who make long-distance calls on a regular basis may especially see savings. While phone companies charge per-minute fees for long distance calls, people who choose VoIP may be able to place unlimited long-distance calls at no additional cost.
Comparisons & Competition
To help you choose which VoIP provider might be the best choice for your needs, we have gathered the pros and cons of the top three VoIP providers for businesses for your comparison.
1. Vonage Business Cloud
Vonage Business Cloud is a good choice for businesses. It comes with numerous features, including call routing and recording, voicemail transcription, speed dial, software phones, 1-800 number option, and more. Its cheapest plan starts at $19.99 per user per month.
Pros of Vonage Business Cloud
- Intuitive mobile apps
- Impressive array of features
- Good call functionality
Cons of Vonage Business Cloud
- Conferencing isn’t included in base package and must be added on for an additional cost
2. Ring Central
Ring Central is a great choice for businesses. Its base plan starts at $19.99 like Vonage’s plan. It offers exceptional functionality and has an infrastructure that supports use in Asia, the U.S. and Europe. It has a broad variety of features available and has good mobile functionality.
Pros of Ring Central Office
- Use in Asia, the U.S., and Europe supported by its infrastructure
- Good set of features
Cons of Ring Central Office
- Glip tool can be confusing
- Added cost for required hardware
8×8 is another popular choice for businesses and offers good mobile capability and a strong set of core features. It costs $24.95 per month per user for its starting package.
Pros of 8×8
- Easy to set up
- Comes with a good set of features
Cons of 8×8
- Does not have an open API
VoIP technology can offer you substantial cost savings along with a broad variety of features that can make your calling experience better. To find the VoIP service provider that might work the best for you, it is a good idea for you to complete some additional research and compare the costs and features that are offered by each provider.