Analogue phones to be discontinued
Your voice and the big turn off
How do you and your team make calls? Traditional phone lines aren’t just old technology – they’re scheduled for switch-off sooner than you might think. So what’s going to replace it – and is it time to move?
Voice tech is changing. The world is moving away from the traditional blend of mobiles, landlines and conference services.
Wherever we’re doing that thing we call ‘work’ – the office, downstairs at Starbucks, or sweeping stuff aside to use the kitchen table, it’s more than likely we have an internet connection. And so talking over the internet now makes a lot of sense. Not least because it can cut costs and the faff of juggling different devices.
For those in the tech business, this brand of magic is called Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP for short. It’s been around for a while, but huge advances are now turning it from a relatively niche tool – to something many of us are using as the main way to make calls every single day. Because once you’ve got going, it really is simpler. You’ll have the reassurance that your call quality will never be compromised. And it’s cheaper with reduced call costs.
But why should I care?
BT has announced that it will migrate all its customers to an IP system by 2025. Then they’ll switch off their old-school networks once and for all. The number of companies using traditional phones has started to fall – rapidly. And it’s expected to halve over the next few years.
Thought leader The Cavell Group puts small business owners at the center of this revolution. Its 2016 report on VoIP found that companies with less than 50 employees, “Now account for 59.4% of the growth.”
Are you future-proofed?
And it’s not just costs that are enticing companies to switch (although the savings can be huge). For companies split over multiple sites, even in different countries, everyone has an internal extension. And that makes dialling another time zone just like calling down the corridor.
Plus, you still have complete control over call routing – to the next available salesman, to a call centre abroad during busy times, or to voicemail when you’re visiting clients. But these calls are all free as part of your data plan. And, on top of this, you can easily scale your system – adding or removing a line at the flick of a switch - rather than waiting for an engineer and a road to be dug up. Up to 60 days can be reduced to less than a minute.
How does it work?
It’s definitely not actually magic. Traditional phone networks use physical switches in ‘exchanges’ to connect landlines. But VoIP digitises your voice into small packets of information and sends it down a broadband connection – just like your emails. When the packets reach the other person’s device, they’re reassembled to provide the information they’re carrying. Which is your voice. It’s all very tried and tested.
How could you use it?
There are two ways to get VoIP into your business. And the good news is that you’ve probably already got most of the kit. A smart phone might be, for instance, your key component – just download the right app.
For laptops and tablets you might also want to plug in some headphones. But most modern devices are capable of being used as for VoIP. And desk phones are also available.
But whatever kit you use, there two basic ‘flavours’ of solution:
1. Go Cloud-based
If you pay a monthly fee you can ‘rent’ the service and all the technical stuff will happen in someone else’s big, well-maintained server farm – leaving the techie bits to people who specialise in that type of thing. There’s often no upfront cost and you don’t need to worry about keeping the service running.
2. Keep it in the office
Some people prefer more control and decide to buy and keep the servers at their own offices. Which means the upfront costs increase and you need to do the tech support and maintenance yourself. It’s called SIP Trunking and it just replaces your copper telephone wires with the internet Making the most of your existing network investment.
Anything else to know?
Well, that’s about it. But do bear in mind that the speed of your connection is a factor. The faster it is, the clearer and smoother your calls will be. That’s why lots of people turn to their broadband provider for a VoIP solution. We’re here to help guide you through and make sure you’ve got the right set-up.
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