A common question we get asked is: What is a VOIP phone system and why should I get one? VOIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. A VOIP phone system transmits voice data over the internet as opposed to through phone lines as with a traditional PBX system. VOIP phone systems are often referred to as a cloud based or hosted phone system. A VOIP phone system provides equal phone line quality to a traditional office phone system but come with additional benefits for your business.
If you’re looking to install a really simple office phone system that’s easy to install, easy to relocate, scale up or down and offers really affordable call charges without the burden of finance then a hosted business phone system could be the answer.
If you’re a bit apprehensive because you’re not actually sure what a hosted phone system is or how it works, then let us explain. A hosted phone system can also be referred to as a Cloud, Internet or for the really geeky VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system. In a nutshell it’s a phone system that allows you to make calls over the Internet as opposed to through the fixed BT network.
Most regular or traditional office phone systems today are connected to the fixed BT network, whether that be via an analogue or digital line. In the 1990’s the digital line or ISDN line gained traction due to the advances in technology. Better than the previous sketchy analogue lines, ISDN offers better sound quality and enhanced features such as caller ID and DDI (Direct Dial Inwards).
As the features for ISDN systems grew and grew, the technical complexities of installing these systems and maintaining them has grown. This isn’t a problem for some companies as they are fortunate enough to have the internal resource and financial ability to support them. However, for some businesses such as new start-ups that don’t have any credit history or IT resource, traditional ISDN systems can be "over spec" or financially prohibitive.
Now that most of the UK has some grunty broadband and fibre connections, making calls over the Internet is no longer hit and miss. With this robust Internet network telecoms companies can now offer viable hosted office phone systems. So rather than installing a complex ISDN system along with the boxes of hardware you may require such as a specifically designated PC and central console, a hosted phone system effectively allows you to ‘plug-in’ to the Internet and start your calls. With Internet phone systems there is next to no hardware to support, apart from your handsets, and all of your call record data is stored on the Cloud.
The Cloud is basically a virtual server which is usually backed up in several physical locations. So if the unfortunate was to happen to your business premises, your call data is still safe as it is stored elsewhere.
Remote data storage is a valuable asset for companies that are required to record and archive calls for compliance such as within the legal, medical and financial services industries. It’s always worth checking with your VOIP phone system provider to ensure that their Cloud is backed up, safe and secure.
The really fantastic thing about hosted phone systems is that the call and line charges are often cheaper than those on traditional analogue or digital lines. You can usually choose from a call package too, which means you can be certain of your monthly bills. Internet based phone systems are also great for companies that have remote workers as they can simply issue a new handset and the employee can just plug it in anywhere in the world and still enjoy the same phone number including the area code.