It’s the 21st century, smartphones are prolific with new handsets are being released on an almost weekly basis, so why would you possibly need a separate phone service like VoIP?
In this article, we explain what VoIP is, how it works and why you should consider a hosted system for your small business.
What is VoIP
VoIP is short for voice over internet protocol and simply means that your calls are sent over the internet rather than traditional phone lines or via a mobile connection.
How does it work?
For your voice (which is an analogue signal) to be sent over the internet, it needs to be converted into digital bits and bytes. There are a number of ways this can be done, but usually one of the following devices will take care of it for you:
- An IP Phone
- Your computer with a softphone
- An app on your smartphone
Once your voice is digital it gets transferred over the internet to your VoIP provider before being connected to the recipient of the call. Of course, there is a huge amount of technology powering this process, but it’s fairly simple from a users perspective.
Hosted is best for small businesses
When it comes to getting a VoIP system, there are two ways you can do it; you can buy a very expensive controller and host the system yourself or you can subscribe to one of a growing number of cloud-hosted platforms. Unsurprisingly, hosted tends to be best for small businesses, you don’t need to worry about buying costly equipment or maintaining it and you’ll get all of the benefits for a simple monthly fee.
Why would you use VoIP?
So why might you need a VoIP service I hear you ask, after all, you’ve got your trusted mobile, what more could you need? In this section, we look at some of the benefits of VoIP and why it can help small business owners punch above their weight.
VoIP is cheaper than traditional phone services
Making phone calls via the internet is vastly cheaper than using a traditional phone service or even via your mobile phone. With most VoIP service providers offering significant free call allowances, it’s likely you won’t actually need to pay for calls at all.
Get a local number wherever you are
One of the most significant benefits of VoIP is that you’re not tied to a geographic area or dialling code when it comes to getting a number. So even if you’re based in Birmingham, you can get a landline number in London, or better yet why not get yourself an 0800 number and let your clients call you for free. You don’t need to stop at one number either, you can have local numbers for a variety of places and have them all come through to your phone.
Work from anywhere
The brilliant thing with VoIP phone services is that all you need is an internet connection for your phone to work. You can literally be anywhere in the world and receive calls on your local number.
The final significant benefit of using a hosted VoIP service is that it gives you access to a wide range of advanced features, usually reserved only for bigger businesses. You can do things like call routing, call waiting, voicemail to email and much more. Even if you’re just a one-man band you can enjoy features that an enterprise business would usually get.
To summerise, if you’re a small business and you’re looking for a flexible phone system that is inexpensive and feature-rich then VoIP may just be the solution you’re looking for.