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VoIP: Does it really add value?

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Smaller companies will benefit since PBX hardware is not only expensive, but it also requires on-site maintenance. VoIP brings a virtual PBX without the local hardware investment or maintenance. Companies will receive individual phone lines, voice mail, conference calling, call forwarding within the network and similar features for each employee. 

A VoIP phone number is linked to a virtual Internet location and consequently, remote workers can turn a laptop with Internet into an office phone with all the advanced features. Calls over a VoIP network does not necessarily require a special VoIP phone since calls to an office number can be forwarded to a mobile phone or home number.  

The greatest potential benefit to businesses comes from easier integration with existing IT applications such as customer-service call centres and utilising VoIP to introduce unified communication. Unified Communication refers to a suite of applications that share a similar design and interface to facilitate communication. Incorporating a variety of real-time and non-real-time communication channels. Functions include instant messaging, video calling, voice calls, conferencing, presence information, texting, integrated voicemail, fax, and email. 

Unified communication products use VoIP as a foundation. Within the UC suite of products, the voice component is powered by VoIP technology. A VoIP phone system modernises devices by using the Internet as the transport foundation. Unified communication thus makes use of VoIP technology to integrate different communication platforms. The system you choose can give your business an advantage and your customers a better experience with your organisation.  

Beyond cost 

As with any new technology, VoIP has had its critics and sceptics with legitimate questions about reliability, cost, and other potential problems. Questions regarding reliability are the most frequently asked because most users have experienced service failures while browsing the Web. However, these failures are mostly due to traffic surges to an IP address or server problems, and not network issues.  

A cost related issue that is sometimes raised is the relatively fleeting nature of computer technology. Potential users are concerned about the shorter usable life cycles of VoIP systems compared to traditional systems. However, the large cost differences shown by first-generation VoIP systems should settle fears about the more rapid turnover. 

Security fears have also surfaced as with any relatively newly introduced technology. One specific issue is voice spam which VoIP could be susceptible to since every phone number is an actual IP address. Instead of dialling individual phones, telemarketers could use VoIP to automatically contact thousands of IP addresses at once. 

However, current VoIP promoters indicate that networks can be engineered to prevent such intrusions. In fact, such automation may be viewed as a benefit rather than a problem since companies could use it to communicate with large numbers of mobile workers. 

At this early stage, it is safe to assert that the benefits will outweigh initial concerns, and VOIP may very well become an essential building block in business IT systems. Its potential for unified communication and integration of functionalities may serve towards its ultimate acceptance in the communications stable. 

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Sourced from: BitCo. View the original article here.

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