Does the thought of making calls to Paris, New York, Tokyo or Sydney at zero cost excite you? Many Internet service providers now offer flat rate monthly subscriptions that give you web access and Voice over IP capability. While certain countries may restrict the use of VoIP, it’s safe to say that VoIP calls you make between European Community countries, American, Japan and Australia need not cost you a penny (or rather, a ‘marginal penny’ if you already paid your flat rate subscription). That’s already a mouth-watering offer, but VoIP can also offer you more.
Take Your Calls from Any Web Connection
While VoIP calls are already an attractive proposition from your home or office base, you can use the same functionality with cost savings when you’re on the move. Take your VoIP phone with you (choose a slim-line portable model rather than a desktop version) and connect to the Internet to make and receive calls. This adds a whole new dimension to home working, travel, business trips and business continuity plans – how to continue running your business if your office is flooded out or storms prevent you from getting to work, for example.
Get More Phone Functionality
VoIP services harness the power of IT to let you know even before you call if correspondents are available, busy or on voicemail. You can send instant messages and files, and make both voice and video calls. The inherent multiplexing capabilities of VoIP let you set up conference calls involving many people simultaneously. Its integration with other applications let you mix and match other services, like voicemail delivery via email and click-to-call capabilities directly from websites.
Go On, Reorganize – Again!
Businesses today are increasingly following an agile model. Whether in software development, project management or manufacturing, agile techniques are all about shortening product release cycles and staying close to the market. That means that teams may be formed, reformed, dissolved and redeployed frequently. Now, instead of mega-headaches for IT and networks personnel trying to keep track of extensions, employees can move from one desk to another simply by taking their mobile computing devices and VoIP phones with them.
Hire More People without Blowing Up Your Phone System
The good thing about local area networks in offices is that bandwidth is inexpensive and reasonably scalable. The bad thing about conventional phone networks is that if you want another phone, you often have to install another cable, especially in older buildings – and watch as spare physical capacity on your PBX (private branch exchange) dwindles towards zero. At some point, the next new hire is going to be considerably more expensive than the previous one, because of the need to step up PBX capacity. VoIP doesn’t need such monolithic upgrades.
Too Good to be True?
If all of the above is so wonderful, why does anybody still use ordinary phones? There may be several reasons. The first is that they are installed and they work. The second is that if there is a power outage, ordinary phone connections still work (VoIP connections do not). And a third is that conventional phone calls let emergency services geographically locate where help must be provided (VoIP calls typically do not). But VoIP advantages still outweigh its disadvantages. So you can expect its use to continue to increase in the near future.