So if you have read Part 1 of Voice over IP is Here! you might be saying to yourself, “VoIP sound great! How does it apply to my business and what can it do for me?” If you aren’t asking yourself this question you need to be! As I said in Part 1, Voice over IP is overtaking and will eventually be completely replacing traditional TDM communication. VoIP is here to stay and this is good thing.
Now I want to be careful in all my cheerleading of VoIP that I don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. In most business situations we need our traditional phone systems for a while longer. We are at that transitional time in technology where there is a need to have both or a least a way to use both. Before I get into all of the different options in equipment and capability, let’s talk about how we can apply voice over IP in our businesses to help us do what we do better! We need to understand why VoIP is important and what it can do for us.
The problems and therefore the solutions in business have been the same since business began. How can I do what I do in a faster, more efficient manner while minimizing the costs and increasing revenue. What technology does, is give us newer and more innovative ways to answer those questions. VoIP is no different and it brings some novel and modern ways to address the issues.
At the heart of all business is the need to communicate with our customers. We use our telephones, cell phones, and email to do that everyday. However in the past we were stuck in our offices or somewhere we had a hard connection to our telephone system and service provider. Of course when cell phones came along we were set free! No longer did we have to remain trapped in our offices. We were free to leave and go conduct business where ever we needed to. However we still experienced a lack of the full abilities of the office. We still needed our computers so we could access data like our documents, email, and customer files. Around that same time the internet popped up and at present most of us can access our office computers and servers remotely with no problem. We are now fully mobile in most every way…except the next big way.
Right now, most of us, have to have our calls transferred out to our cell phones. We are still one step removed from our offices, possessing most of the technology we need but lacking seamless integration. Traditional telephone system have been limited because there had to be cable running from the system in the closet to the phone on your desk. That is where voice over IP enters in. With VoIP, wherever you can get high speed internet, your phone system at your office can find you. At home? No problem. You log in your phone at home and bingo, all of your office calls ring seamlessly at home. On a road trip in a hotel? Log your VoIP phone into your office from your hotel room. Pick up and make phone calls as if you are in your office. Intercom and transfer calls from your office phone system just like you are there. Long distance calls and your caller ID all are coming from your office no matter where you are. That’s because with the internet there are no geographic boundaries. Plugging in while in Tokyo is the same as plugging at your house.
It can still be a struggle sometimes to think about how technology can be applied to our businesses, so think about this. Imagine you have a 24/7 phone support company. You can have agents logging in from home or remote offices across the world in different time zones as the earth is turning through it’s day. As night closes certain offices, dawn opens others while your employees are logging in and out across the world to support your customers! Using myself as an example, I have a VoIP phone at my house. I can work from home and still be connected to the office as if I was there. I hear pages, pick up calls on hold, intercom co-workers, and even call other VoIP phones through the office system. Because my laptop is connected to my office network through my high speed internet as well, I am now fully setup with a virtual office. I could literally set up that very virtual office anywhere in the world!
Now let’s take it another step forward. If you can be anywhere you need to be with VoIP, why have a phone system at all? There are companies out there, and Diverse CTI is one of them, that offer a hosted solution. This means that we will buy the phone system, pay for the dial tone, and the high speed internet connection and charge you a monthly cost. All you need is a high speed internet connection wherever you are. Log your VoIP phone in and bingo, you are up and running. You get a real phone number that rings to Diverse CTI’s phone system. When that happens, our system knows it is your number and then rings your VoIP phones – wherever they are! You have voicemail, auto-attendant, and even hold music all without ever purchasing a phone system.
Seeing a vision of what Voice over IP can do and how it applies to your business is extremely important. Although I can’t possibly talk about every different way VoIP can impact your business, at least now you have some basic understanding. Next in Part 3 I will talk more about what things to consider when you are implementing VoIP in your business.