VoIP or not to VoIP – That is the question?
Long has everyone considered that they should move to VoIP, but do they know why?
Before we answer that, let’s talk about what VoIP actually is.
Sure it stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, but as normal that means less to most people than the acronym VoIP. Put simply, you can consider it using a telephone over the internet instead of the dedicated and traditional phone line. That’s great – Let’s do that! Get rid of our costly phone line rentals and use the internet that we are already paying for. Well no, not always the best option.
VoIP services do all of the above but may not always save you money. Have you ever spoken to tech support in another country? Do you remember the echo or delay when speaking with them? This issue is synonymous with VoIP services and connections, due to the fact that voice requires dedicated bandwidth or connections to guarantee call quality which is not always considered or planned correctly.
This brings us to the heading above. Do you know why? If that answer is no then best we lay it out for you. Consideration is required by businesses before you decide to switch to IP based Telephony over fix line services. A few questions needs to be answered first.
- How big is your business, more or less than 10 staff?
- What sort of internet connection do you have, is the connection big enough to support your already existing internet usage as well as the additional voice services?
- What growth do you expect in the next 5 years, should you factor in a larger workforce requiring a larger internet connection?
- What connectivity options are available in your area and how much will they cost?
These four questions should be considered carefully before even thinking about trying to save money by using VoIP services
Can VoIP services save my company money?
When you look at your bills in a comparison paper to paper then the answer is always yes. However….. Don’t just look at the call costs, it’s about a lot more than that. Call costs against the major telcos is quite an eye opener. You can save anywhere from 40-60% in that department, not to mention the cost of physical line rental v’s a virtual line rental.
Lets take a comparative look at business costs per phone line. The immediate savings are truly evident.
Telstra Business phone line rental starts at $45 per month 1a business grade virtual phone line will cost you $11 per month2
Telstra call costs for local 22 cents and national 80 cents vs our comparison vendor C2 Communications, 10 cents per call – local and national.
What’s the catch?
Yes there’s always a catch isn’t there. You don’t need an internet connection for a traditional phone line, where as you do for VoIP – and a fairly good one at that.
Unfortunately the biggest misconception with VoIP services is you can simply plug in to your existing connectivity. That may be true in a few cases but majority no.
For the average business of up to four staff members you can consider using ADSL. Only if it is a business grade service and not over contended.3For all other businesses or those businesses with high internet usage requirements, it is always recommended that they move to an ethernet based service (bonded copper or fibre) offering zero contention and symmetrical service (the same speed down as up). This is the catch – you have to factor in a $400-$850 internet bill per month against your current ADSL service, probably costing you $65 per month.
Single Handset or Virtual PBX?
It all comes down to the type of business you’re doing on the phone and what features you require.
If you simply want to pick up your phone and make calls without the need of any other service then single handset/s are the way to go. Each phone has its own number and you can normally find an all inclusive product to around $50 per month – some with a handset.
If you want all the features of a traditional PBX and more then step right up to the world of VoIP as it was intended. Too often traditional PBX Systems offered you internal and external calls only. If you wanted music on hold, that was extra. If you wanted voice mail that was extra. If you wanted an automated attendant (press 1 press 2), that was extra. If you wanted your internal phone extension on your mobile phone, that was – wait that wasn’t even possible! Let’s not even get started on the additional costs for the receptionist handset or call monitoring, training, reporting and troubleshooting. Extra Extra read all about it ! The “Gravy Train” for traditional PBX manufacturers and integrators was staggering! Not so with Virtual PBX solutions. Everything mentioned previously is included and available standard, out of the box.4Enterprise features such as CRM integration are also available with the premium versions of the featured Virtual PBX.
In The Cloud or In Your Office?
Like everything there are pros and cons to both options. Many companies choose to host their own virtual PBX on a PC or Server in their office.
However if you use a cloud service to host your virtual PBX, your costs of licensing and maintenance are removed or greatly reduced. Other benefits to be had by hosting in the cloud are Business Continuity Plans. Can’t get to work or in your office, telephone exchange has burnt down so you don’t have any internet5or simply want the lot somewhere else, managed by someone else so you aren’t tied to your office, then in the cloud it is.6
As always TDF are happy to advise and consider all the options required to better deliver services and cost savings to business. Give us a call 1300799014 for any questions relating to this article or services mentioned.