Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become an indispensable tool for businesses, with over 30 percent of them adopting it as their primary means of communication. Beyond its telephony capabilities, VoIP plays a pivotal role in modern collaboration by seamlessly integrating with various communication and collaboration tools. Here are seven ways in which VoIP enhances collaboration.
Coleman Technologies Blog
Effective communication often operates behind the scenes, yet it serves as a vital cog in the smooth operational ability of business, lending support to a multitude of functions. Consequently, making judicious investments in the right tools can markedly elevate your business. In the contemporary landscape, one such indispensable tool is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
In business, good communication is essential. If you do it right, you can streamline actions that can save your business a lot of money and build incredible efficiencies that can bring your vision to reality. Poor communication, on the other hand, can hinder a business’ ability to prosper. In order for your staff to be able to communicate effectively, they need the tools to do so. Here are three tools that most businesses should have in place to help drive business forward.
Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as VoIP, has revolutionized the way businesses manage their communications through the use of telephony. Employees who were once tethered to their landlines or their physical locations can now break free of these constraints, and it’s all thanks to VoIP and cloud-based communication tools. Here are some of the best features of VoIP solutions for small businesses.
The landscape of telephony for small businesses has changed dramatically. It’s likely that you don’t rely on your phone nearly as much as you rely on other technologies, like your Internet, communications solutions, and email. Still, an antiquated phone system can hold you back, so let’s explore the other viable option for your business: Voice over IP.
The telephone, as a technology, has been around for quite a while, more or less serving businesses for that entire time. Of course, we’ve seen quite a few advancements in telephony over the years, which has helped it to remain a cornerstone of modern business communications to this day in the form of Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.
The following story and events are true, however, to protect the families of the innocent, all names have been changed. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or businesses, is purely coincidental. Enjoy and happy Halloween!
What is VoIP?
At first glance, VoIP is almost indistinguishable from the telephone services you are used to using—in fact, you’ve likely used it before.
What is VoIP, Anyways?
Voice over Internet Protocol is simply a different, more cost-effective means of transmitting voice data from one telephonic device to another. Rather than using a telephone provider’s infrastructure, a VoIP signal utilizes the Internet. This eliminates an entire line item from your expenses by rendering your telephone provider’s services redundant. This enables you to simultaneously save money while enjoying many often-included features that would otherwise have cost extra—assuming that they were even available with traditional telephony.
What Exactly is Hosted VoiP?
Hosted VoIP is easily described as a communications platform that utilizes an Internet connection to function. Unlike traditional telephone systems that are purchased through the telephone company and have their own dedicated lines, hosted VoIP is hosted in the cloud and allows a business to build a strong, customized telephone system that meets a lot of a company’s communications needs.
With that, we’d like to introduce you to VoIP.
What Is VoIP?
VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a telephone system that uses your business’ Internet connection to fuel its telephone system. Rather than paying the antiquated telephone company an arm and a leg, you can now use your existing Internet connection to host a dynamic and reliable telephone platform. There are different tiers of VoIP, but today’s most cost effective, and popular, is a VoIP platform that is hosted in the cloud.
Give Your Team Members Some Responsibilities
An in-person meeting and a meeting through a conferencing solution can admittedly have two very different feelings to the participants. The kind of participation that comes somewhat naturally in an in-person meeting can suddenly feel entirely foreign, the visual context cues that would normally drive the conversation stripped away using technology. As a result, awkward pauses and missed line items abound. This can easily lead to people increasingly talking out of turn, while others will remain silent. One way to help mitigate this is by distributing an agenda with assigned segments beforehand. That way, each team member will be responsible for some facet of the meeting, with the bonus of being able to prepare ahead of time to increase the meeting’s benefit.
1. Use the Best Tool for the Job
Your contacts should never find it difficult to reach you, so you need to make sure you’re providing them with plenty of options for them to make contact. Don’t pick between a phone number or an email address, give them both, along with a live chat feature, conferencing options, and other forms of communication. Making use of things like a blog and social media give you a great way to reach out to them first, starting the conversation.
These statistics outline that by allowing employees to work from home, your company will see some very tangible benefits. Like any human resources strategy, however, you’ll need to keep a few considerations firmly in mind to get the most out of it.
Treat It Like Business as Usual
When you are working with your remote employees, it is important that you don’t focus exclusively on your in-house staff. Maintaining communication with every one of your staff is necessary for your operations to continue, so if anything, you need to encourage your in-house workers to regularly check in with your remote employees and involve them in their processes. You should also avoid the temptation to hold off on meetings. Again, don’t act like anything has changed as a result of your employees working from home. If you have regular meetings at a given time, continue them, and simply use the technology available today to include your remote staff members.
Even though you aren’t in the office, you still need to follow the same security protocols and the processes you would need to follow if you were working in the office. In fact, these processes become even more important, as your home network is likely less secure than the one in the workplace. Here are some tips:
To start, let’s consider the situation that we find ourselves in.
With COVID-19 still spreading, the general consensus is that spending time around other people is currently a bad thing, making the workplace a less-than-ideal environment in which to spend one’s time. As a result, many people have self-quarantined themselves in their homes. With today’s available technology, however, this does not mean that they cannot get work done, with the cloud offering great opportunities for collaboration and remote work. This plays into VoIP’s benefits quite nicely.
How the Cloud Helps Businesses Communicate
Having a strong communications strategy for your business can go a long way. With the options that are now available through the cloud, your business can significantly cut your communications costs by utilizing technologies like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and video conferencing. Today, there are complete communication platforms that integrate all necessary communications into one easy-to-control solution.
This comprehensive platform, called Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS), combines your business telecommunications and messaging with your web and video conferencing and collaboration. UCaaS gives your business the technology it needs along with the following options:
- Disaster recovery
- Managed support
- Thorough analytics
- Management software integration
- Regulatory support
- Global service delivery
- Available support
Below are some of the technologies a UCaaS platform offers:
A powerful and feature-rich telephone system is one of the most important parts of a business’ communications platform. A VoIP system uses your organization’s bandwidth to deliver reliable voice services at a substantial cost reduction. Each VoIP platform can offer a whole cache of features, including:
- Call Management/Auto Attendant
- Call Queue
- Call Routing/Screening/Transferring
- Call forwarding/Voicemail
- Call Park/Presence/Pulling
- Call Recording
- Custom In-Call Music
- Custom ringtones
- Do Not Disturb
- Three-way calling
- SIP Trunking
- Find/Follow Me
- Voicemail services
Aside from these features, a hosted VoIP platform offers users the ability to use the system on their own mobile phones through the use of a mobile app, effectively making any smartphone a work phone.
Text and Instant Messaging
The UCaaS also integrates a lot of other useful messaging features. Many people would rather get a text than a call, and with a UCaaS, your organization’s messaging will integrate with other software to provide a useful collaborative option.
Today, having a video conferencing solution is a must. With more people working outside of the office, and with businesses outsourcing work to remote contractors, having a solution to run meetings over the Internet is extremely useful.
Collaboration is the name of the game in the information age and a UCaaS can provide a solution for secure file transfer and document sharing.
With integrations with CRMs and other management platforms a UCaaS can make your business be more efficient and productive. To talk to one of our IT professionals about the possibility of integrating a unified communication solution into your business, give us a call at (604) 513-9428 today.
VoIP Allows You to Do More
While at its core, a VoIP system is a telephone system, it allows for many more options. Since it uses an organization's available bandwidth rather than a dedicated RJ-11 connection, there are more dynamic options available. It may raise the cost of the solution a bit, but VoIP can come with instant messaging, conferencing, and call archival built in.
VoIP is More Secure
VoIP is far more secure to use than the traditional landline because it is easier to secure a digital connection than it is to secure an analog one. The use of encryption protects all information transmitted through the system.
VoIP is More Portable
This is a big benefit. VoIP solutions can be linked to mobile applications. This means that any smartphone can become a work phone, and can be linked to the same number as the user’s business phone. This allows people to get calls on their phone without having to give over their personal number. This is either done through forwarding or by installing a simple app on the phone.
VoIP Offers Automated Client Interaction
A VoIP system can be configured to support an entire business. There are integrated automated menus that can offer a lot of value by directing calls to voicemails, alternative members of your team, and allowing employees to avoid distractions and not neglecting their incoming calls. Call forwarding, parking, and many more options can be tied to a VoIP account for additional costs.
VoIP is a technology solution for all of your business’ calling needs. Call Coleman Technologies today at (604) 513-9428 for more information about VoIP and you can get the telephone system you’ve always wanted for your business.
What is Voice over Internet Protocol?
Traditionally, telephones work by sending electricity through the phone wires and phone lines and having it converted back into sound. Today, they have figured out how to do the same process through the Internet. Sounds are sent as data packets over Internet wires and then they are unpacked to make sounds again. VoIP is the product that has come from this innovation. Basically, where you once had to have an expensive business telephone system hardwired to your place of business, you can now do the same for a fraction of the cost by using your company’s bandwidth to send and receive calls.
How Does VoIP Work to Save Me Money?
VoIP presents several options that work to save your business money. They include:
You’re Paying for One Less Thing
Your business telephone system has worked, but the cost is high. Of course, you’ve needed it, but today, VoIP offers just as much in the way of features as a dedicated telephone system, but it does it through your Internet connection; a service that you almost assuredly have and use regularly.
VoIP is Easier
Since VoIP is delivered via your Internet connection, your staff no longer needs additional infrastructure--such as a wired connection for every phone--to be able to make calls. You can scale your hosted VoIP solution up and back as you need. What’s more, for many solutions you can utilize your staff’s personal devices as reliable work phones through the use of a mobile app. That’s much easier.
VoIP is More Efficient
Most VoIP solutions enable you to provide them with an auto attendant feature that provides directions to callers. This reduces the time that people need to be on the phone. Clients get connected with the person they are calling, while employees won’t need to deal with their phone ringing and causing interruptions.
There are many other benefits to VoIP solution. If you would like to learn more about implementing VoIP and saving money in the process, reach out to Coleman Technologies at (604) 513-9428!
VoIP and Conferencing
Every business needs to have a telephone system, that much is understood. Traditional telephone companies haven’t invested in their infrastructure and it shows. While some telephone companies have started updating their systems, the functionality that the modern business needs necessitates interactive capabilities. This is where a VoIP solution comes in. For a fraction of the cost of a traditional telephone system, companies can use their existing Internet connection to run an enterprise-level telephone system that has all the features they need.
A base Voice over Internet Protocol solution comes with some of the features you most expect out of a business phone system such as call forwarding, voicemail, call routing, and more; but, when you expand a VoIP solution, you can get very powerful tools such as conferencing, instant messaging, and even video chat solutions. Hosted in the cloud or on dedicated local hardware, VoIP is one of the strongest and most cost-effective communications tools you can get for the modern business.
Most businesses use an email system for business correspondence. Some even use commercially available solutions. This isn’t ideal as there is plenty of information exchanged in the course of business that would be sensitive in nature. That’s why we believe that it is important for a business to use business-grade email. There are quite a few different options to choose from as businesses can opt to host their own email, or select a cloud-hosted solution.
If security is a concern--and it almost always should be--a locally-hosted server could be the way to go. Today’s cloud-based email platforms, especially those that come with high-end productivity suites, are created with advanced tools like built-in encryption and artificial intelligence. These tools go a long way toward making the cloud-hosted email a viable selection for the modern business.
Messaging and Collaboration
No matter what communication solutions a business chooses, it has to be able to fuel increases in productivity. Today, there are cloud-based productivity suites on the market that provide people the ability to work together in real time. This collaborative growth is a main component of the development of new and exciting productivity software.
In fact, the need for organizations to maximize their resources on projects has pushed software developers to begin to create better collaborative software. New software with hundreds of third-party software integrations, real time instant messaging, and other great features are revolutionizing project management.
With more people working together from different locations, and more businesses outsourcing key parts of their operations, communications are going to continue to be one of the most important aspects of the business landscape going forward. If you would like to talk to an IT professional about which new communications tool would be a good fit for your business--and, how these tools will save your company money--call the IT experts at Coleman Technologies today at (604) 513-9428.