With the NBN on the horizon, there has been an increase in businesses looking to take the ‘virtual leap’ towards high-quality, feature-rich IP voice solutions, commonly called VoIP (Voice over IP) or hosted/virtual PBX.
Instead of using a traditional landline, VoIP delivers your calls over an internet connection and is a more affordable alternative.
However, as with any relatively new technology, there are a few myths and misconceptions that should be cleared up for anyone considering making the switch to VoIP.
1. VoIP isn’t widely used
VoIP may not be the go-to solution at the moment, but it’s growing in popularity with a recent ACMA survey revealing that 21% of Australian SMEs currently use a VoIP service, with many more aware of VoIP and considering moving to a VoIP system in the future. Although traditional landlines are still the norm, an NBN environment will soon see VoIP becoming the default phone option, so why not get ahead of the game?
2. The savings are only between two similar VoIP systems
Software applications such as Skype, allowing users to make internet calls helped popularise VoIP. So, it’s no surprise that many believe that the savings from VoIP are only realised when calling between two similar VoIP systems.
Indeed, many VoIP providers offer free calls between users on their service, but like any other phone system, VoIP allows you to call any number – landline, mobile or overseas. However, because calls go through your internet connection, they are often charged at much lower rates than traditional calls. Many businesses report savings of up to 60% by switching to VoIP thanks to the lower line rental, negligible call rates, low setup and monthly fees.
3. The voice quality is bad compared to traditional landlines and the system is unreliable
The only thing that affects voice quality or reliability is your internet connection. VoIP typically requires at least a broadband connection (DSL, wireless, cable or Ethernet). If you have a good internet connection, the voice quality will actually be much better than a traditional landline, as it is a pure digital service instead of an analog traditional service.
VoIP technology has also improved in leaps and bounds over the years and there are now more features to ensure that you don’t miss a call, such as voicemail, voicemail to email and call forwarding. For extra peace of mind, most reliable VoIP providers offer service guarantees ensuring virtually no downtime.
4. Switching to VoIP is a large investment
Moving to VoIP is actually very economical, especially for small to medium businesses. You may have to purchase new handsets and some additional equipment, but the cost of installing a traditional PBX would often be at least triple the amount. And, that’s before taking into account the hardware required. With the low call rates and line rental, your new VoIP system normally pays itself off in about 3 months.
5. Upgrades are expensive
The beauty of VoIP is its flexibility and scalability. Everything is hosted online, which means that upgrading or making changes is generally easier than with traditional systems. Upgrading is usually as simple as making a request online or over the phone. The only expense involved is the additional service costs of your new plan and perhaps some additional handsets/equipment if required.
Once you have the facts, VoIP isn’t really as scary or complicated as you might think. Find a reliable provider that gives your business the flexibility, features and simplicity it needs and you could cut up to 60% off your phone bills.
Rene Sugo is the CEO of MyNetFone, Australia’s leading provider of hosted voice and data communications services for residential, business and enterprise users. For more information, visit www.mynetfone.com.au/business or call 1300 387 425.