If you’re looking for a new business phone solution, you’re probably wondering which are the best VoIP phone systems out there today. But, what is VoIP phone service and, is a VoIP phone solution better than a traditional business landline?
Continue reading to find out more about business VoIP phone service solutions that could work for your company.
What Are VoIP Phone Systems and How Do They Work?
VoIP stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol”. This means that voice, video, and text data transfers over your internet connection rather than over a phone line. For services beyond digital calling, VoIP uses SIP, which stands for Session Initiation Protocol. A traditional phone line is a PSTN, or “Packet-Switched Telephone Network.”
A business VoIP phone service can work directly through your computer microphone and speakers. You can also invest in a VoIP desk phone system. Unlike a traditional PSTN phone line where you need multiple lines for multiple phones, a VoIP phone can use a single line through your internet connection. It can also use multiple extensions for each phone in your office.
How Much Does a Business VoIP Phone System Cost?
After the initial investment in any VoIP and SIP equipment and setup, the costs drop dramatically compared to traditional PSTN phone systems. Local calls cost approximately 40% less with international calls costing nearly 90% less when using VoIP over PSTN.
Additionally, local PSTN business landline telephone providers are often the only or one of only a few phone services in the local market. As a monopoly or part of a duopoly, the PSTN provider in your area can set prices where it likes, often raising prices without offering any additional services or benefits.
The Benefits of a VoIP Phone System
So what are three advantages to using VoIP instead of a traditional phone service? While there are many benefits to choosing a VoIP phone service, business owners should focus on three primary values:
- Ease of use
VoIP is much more affordable than traditional phone lines for a business, especially for any business that takes several phone calls each day. If your office handles international calls, VoIP can make international calls much more affordably when compared with PSTN phone services where you pay for minutes based on the location of your client.
The best VoIP business phone systems also offer a wide range of digital phone and internet communication applications, including:
- Video and audio conferencing
- CRM integration
- Voice mail
- Screen sharing
- Home/mobile call transfers
- Call monitoring
- Advanced call routing
- Call recording
- On-hold music and messaging
Some VoIP services offer even more options for business VoIP customers, including fax, file sharing, texting, instant messaging, and more. These additional features are part of the SIP services often bundled with VoIP internet calling packages.
VoIP phone systems are also easy to use after initial installation and setup. For the most part, you simply need to pick up the receiver and use your VoIP desk phone the same way as a traditional phone. However, for video conferencing, faxing, and other advanced features, your VoIP business phone systems IT services installer can train you and your employees on how to use your new phone system features.
4 Types of VoIP Services
So what is the best VoIP phone service? The best VoIP phone systems are the ones that will work seamlessly with your current office setup and employees. There are four primary types of VoIP phone service, including hosted, cloud-based, UCaaS, and CPaaS. Let’s take a closer look at each:
1. Hosted VoIP
Some VoIP providers can store their equipment off-site while allowing you to use their VoIP services in your office. You won’t need to install bulky, expensive equipment (such as the PBX, or Private Branch Exchange) in your office if you use a hosted VoIP. Additionally, your hosted VoIP provider may include several additional SIP features, including video conferencing and file transfers.
2. Cloud-Based VoIP
Cloud-based VoIP is another term for hosted VoIP. The VoIP services provider stores their equipment off-site, usually at a local data center. Your office uses your cloud internet service to transfer data through the VoIP system to a customer, vendor, employee, or client on the other end of the phone line.
Whether your provider refers to it as hosted VoIP or cloud-based VoIP, these offsite solutions are one of the best VoIP options for small businesses that don’t have space. They’re also great for large IT departments.
UCaaS stands for “unified communications-as-a-service,” also called Unified Cloud Communications. UCaaS is a wider range of calling and communication features that include VoIP phone service. It combines VoIP and SIP to blend digital communications into one platform and service. This includes:
- Digital calling
- Video conferencing
- File sharing
- Instant chat messaging
- Other collaborative tools
While the comprehensive offerings may vary between providers, the primary purpose of providing so many integrated services is to streamline communications into a single user interface that any employee can use to communicate between departments, with clients, and with outside vendors.
CPaaS stands for “communications platform-as-a-service,” and it offers turnkey communications with API-powered interfacing. Popular traditional CPaaS providers include Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, and similar apps. Current CPaaS applications in business are trending toward video-enabled services, including appointment reminders, authentication and verification, and video-chat help desks.
The benefit of CPaaS over VoIP and UCaaS includes allowing the addition of communication, automation, and customer service features to existing communication solutions that your company already uses without higher service subscription fees. Instead, you can choose which features you need for your business and pay for only the features you need individually.
Contact Emerald City Solutions Today
Although there are several VoIP system providers available near you, how do you know the best VoIP phone systems for your business? Consider your business needs and narrow down the services available in your area based just on the services you need.
At Emerald City Solutions in Everett, WA, we have helped businesses select and set up their VoIP phone systems since 2008. Call us today at 206-745-4833 or contact us online to discuss your ideal VoIP business phone solution in the greater Seattle area.