Taking time to consider a new VoIP phone system – or to transition to a cloud-based phone service – has probably been pretty low on business agendas recently. It’s understandable. Costs, supply chain issues, inflation, and market economics are your daily challenges. Your phone calls are “just phone calls!”
However, signing up for managed VoIP services makes sense today:
- Your employees will always be connected, whether via desk phones, a VoIP cell phone, or mobile VoIP apps – wherever they work. This is essential to survival in business. Customers want answers now. Teams need to be in contact with each other, not operating in silos.
- You’ll have lower total cost of ownership when you use hosting from business VoIP providers – which effectively contributes to your overall ROI. This is down to the next point…
- VoIP costs are flexible – you can scale user numbers up or down according to your business needs.
What’s not to like?
Moreover, the global VoIP services industry is growing exponentially as your competitors jump on board.
So let’s deep dive into using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to bring your business phone system up to date – and also look at how a VoIP phone service from one of the many VoIP providers can ensure you maintain your business advantage with smooth business communications that benefit both your staff and customers.
- What is a VoIP Phone System?
- How Does a VoIP Service Work?
- What Are VoIP Services?
- Three Types of VoIP Services
- Differences Between Hosted VoIP and Managed VoIP
- Managed VoIP Services: What it Means to You
- Mobile VoIP
What is a VoIP Phone System?
As the name (“over internet protocol”) implies, a VoIP phone system uses an internet connection instead of traditional analog phone lines to make voice and video calls.
VoIP phone systems allow you to use your regular cell, your computer, or a specialized VoIP desk phone to receive or make business calls.
Whenever voice signals are involved, it tends to be called VoIP. Many VoIP setups, however, are powered by SIP technology in order to allow multimedia aspects of your business communications: text messaging, file sharing, video, conference calls, voicemail, fax, etc. Here, we’ll call all these phone calls “VoIP.”
VoIP services are not new. Small business VoIP services have been available for years but often too costly. Take-up has therefore been slow but is now flourishing. This is due to today’s improved technology and additional features provided by the best VoIP services.
Moreover, mobile VoIP technology using 5G – as the 5G global rollout continues – is presenting even more opportunities for timely, effective communication. Whether staff work from home, 100% remotely, or in hybrid fashion, they find VoIP phone systems improve their productivity.
We’ll look at those benefits of business VoIP in a moment. But first, let’s look at how a VoIP service works.
How Does a VoIP Service Work?
This is the brief version of how VoIP phone calls work compared to a traditional phone system!
A VoIP service provider sets up the call between the two parties.
But whereas a landline from traditional desk phones uses copper wires to transmit analog signals, modern VoIP systems use a broadband internet connection through your Wi-Fi router to transmit digital data.
The original analog voice signal is therefore transformed into a digital signal and sent to a virtual private exchange hosted by your VoIP service provider.
Here, the call travels over the internet in data packets using Internet Protocol – and is then turned back into an analog signal so your contact can hear and understand the call.
VoIP uses virtual numbers. Your business phone numbers are not therefore tied to a specific phone. You have freedom to choose your own numbers! These can be regional if you like. However, to combat to spoofed robocalls, the U.S. government has introduced a protocol that identifies callers.
What Are VoIP Services?
Business VoIP services have evolved in scope and usefulness and now meet the needs of both small and midsize businesses in different industries – as wide-ranging as oil and gas, financial services, professional services, healthcare, and logistics.
You can choose from various types of VoIP phone services. But VoIP systems that help your staff work and communicate more effectively include:
- Receiving voice mail through their email via its voicemail-to-text feature
- Having a custom caller ID
- Call forwarding to other team members when they miss calls
- Call recording during meetings or when not available
- Accessing work calls from any location
- Hosting a conference call for a group of people
VoIP technology is therefore essential today for offices or businesses wanting to create a unified communications system.
A managed VoIP provider will set up your system to your unique needs with the features you need – and with clearly explained onboarding. But that’s jumping ahead. Let’s look first at three types of VoIP services.
Three Types of VoIP Services
Consider the following three different types of VoIP services available when you choose to transition to a VoIP phone system.
1 Managed VoIP Services
Managed VoIP is a phone service provided through a cloud-based serviceprovider who owns, operates, manages, and maintains all the physical components of the managed VoIP services except the IP phones of your business entity.
It’s a perfect solution for small business VoIP needs when you can’t invest in the equipment, staff, and advanced technology to achieve a unified solution for your communication needs.
The cloud VoIP system focuses on easy implementation, use, and management to keep your data secured and improve team productivity – especially where you have employees on different sites or working remotely. (For those out in the field, it’s also a much-needed safety feature, as they can easily summon support.)
2 In-house VoIP Services
An in-house VoIP phone system has all of its infrastructure physically stored on the office premises, with a self-owned IP PBX device at the site for call control.
Usually, it also has all the phone extensions and cables connected with your traditional desk phone lines to carry the signals transferred via internet protocols.
This is a good solution for midsized to big companies who need to support their large number of desk phone extensions in a particular office location.
3Hybrid VoIP Services
Hybrid VoIP phone systems are a combination of cloud VoIP services and traditional phone systems.
The hybrid phone system is great for companies who don’t want to completely overhaul their current phone systems but want to access the technological advances of VoIP services.
A VoIP service provider will use your existing PBX to connect the new VoIP phone system so you can take advantage of benefits that come with installing this telephone system.
However, if you want the best VoIP service for you, you need to understand the difference indicated by “hosted” and “managed” VoIP.
Differences Between Hosted VoIP and Managed VoIP
Both managed VoIP services and hosted VoIP services depend on a third party to implement and manage your business communications. The difference between hosted VoIP and managed VoIP comes down to the following:
A managed VoIP system provider offers a pre-configured phone system with
- a simple setup,
- the cost savings of a hosted VoIP provider, and
- the customization of an in-house system.
On the other hand, with a hosted VoIP system provider, you get
- a fully customizable option,
- a monthly fee for every phone your company uses, and
- usage patterns and your needs for business communication taken into account.
When it comes to scaling, hosted VoIP is can be more suitable, as it’s easier to add on phone lines when business is booming – or scale back when you’re tight on resources. It’s an option that gives you flexibility and control over
- how much upfront cost you pay and
- changing your plan if necessary.
However, a managed VoIP system is perfect for a smaller company with
- no exponential growth but relatively fixed call volumes, who
- want to reduce their business communication costs while
- taking advantage of customized phone system features.
Managed VoIP Services: What it Means For You
Are you looking to transition into VoIP servicesin the cloud to ease your business communication needs?
Whichever industry you’re involved in, if you’re a small or midsized business, streamlined communications between you and your clients, or within your company, are still crucial. But you may face problems due to not being a large company.
For example, you may have
- fewer specialist staff available,
- a smaller IT department or team, and
- a smaller budget for new investment.
If this is the case, managed VoIP services are a good solution for you. They let you focus on your core revenue-generating activities while your business phone system provider takes care of communications via a cloud setup.
A managed VoIP phone system provider takes responsibility for managing everything you need and guiding you through the different VoIP services they offer to ensure you stay connected and can collaborate from virtually anywhere.
Your provider is also responsible for all the expensive technology and hardware – you simply pay a monthly flat rate for all of your business communications.
What does all this look like?
Typically, Services From a Good Managed VoIP Provider Include:
- 24/7 local support with user training and streamlined onboarding
- Hosted or on-premise server dedicated to your business
- iOS/Android apps software integration on any device
- Call & text from any device and anywhere
- Voicemail-to-email transcription
- Video conferencing
- CRM call center solutions
- Call recording and call forwarding
- Call reports
- Website chat integration
Moreover, they’ll offer customizable plans. You may want to choose between basic or advanced features – which allows you to grow or scale back depending on your business type, size, goals, and concrete requirements at any one time.
There are many benefits of a managed system like this. Here are five we’ve already touched on elsewhere.
Key Benefits From a Managed Service
Key benefits from a managed VoIP phone system include these:
- With VoIP you have the flexibility to align the phone system features to your current needs, and also scale to future needs as they change.
- It’s easier for you to cut costs in difficult economic times and to budget well for your business, since there’s no additional infrastructure or investment required when implementing a cloud communication solution.
- Staff can work from anywhere. Calls to anywhere in the world do not incur high charges on your monthly bill.
- You gain reliable availability in and out of the office due to different options offered both in calling and texting. For example, VoIP texting allows you to confine all business texting to one number and get multiple virtual numbers when there’s a need.
- A digital voice signal offers an enhanced call quality that improves your customer service.
With the increase in personal smartphone use and bring your own device (BOYD), let’s move on to talk about mobile VoIP.
Mobile VoIP is an efficient and low-cost way for users to communicate, using their mobile phones to access the services provided by your home or business mobile VoIP service provider.
1 How Does Mobile VoIP Work?
Mobile VoIP works by combining cellular technology and VoIP. Mobile phones have developed significantly, with most smartphones able to connect to WIFI or 3G, 4G, and powerful 5G connections.
Today, therefore, mobile VoIPcan either work with the existing smartphone network or with VoIP phones that can connect to WIFI (based on how the mobile VoIP service is run).
However, VoIP phones have an advantage over the normal smartphones, because they have significantly lower costs on basic voice and SMS plans and can go beyond limitations that regular cell data plans offer.
2 Accessing Mobile VoIP
You can access mobile VoIP services in one of the following ways.
- Software-based mobile VoIP: You download software to your VoIP cell phone that can access the internet via your chosen mobile VoIP provider. Once you’ve paid for your monthly plan you can make calls or text anywhere.
- Mobile VoIP apps: VoIP providers will make an application available for everyone for free via an app store. This can be downloaded with your existing phone service. You only need a high-quality internet connection to make unlimited calls and send unlimited texts.
3 Mobile VoIP Phones
As more people switch to mobile VoIP technology due to its many benefits, smartphone manufacturers have been inspired to make a hybrid phone that supports cellular networks and VoIP services simultaneously. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention!
So – whenever there’s Wi-Fi coverage the phone will automatically switch to VoIP, and when there’s only cellular network coverage, the hybrid phone switches to regular phone signals.
Which VoIP Provider is the Best Mobile VoIP For You?
There are various VoIP cell phone providers and even more managed VoIP service providers! As we said up top, the industry is burgeoning.
When looking to switch to a mobile VoIP service, choosing is challenging. You need to
- consider your business needs and goals,
- assess the size of the team you’re providing mobile VoIP services for,
- update yourself with current innovative and advanced VoIP solutions for mobile VoIP,
- think about the unique communication needs of your team,
- make a customized plan based on data evidence, and
- look into features of mobile VoIP offered within your budget by mobile VoIP providers.
How Uprite’s Cloud-Based Managed VoIP Services Can Help
Your employees now need constant and near-instant communication when working together and with your customers. So, VoIP is the way to go. Not traditional desk phones with crackly lines and limited communication possibilities!
The technology behind a VoIP system is excellent. It makes for a good business VoIP phone system for you – whether it’s a small business VoIP system from a mobile VoIP provider, using VoIP cell phones, mobile VoIP apps, or anything else that becomes available in the VoIP world in future.
And Uprite’s Managed Phone Service is a modern mobile communications solution with advanced, reliable, and scalable features. As a Texas-based VoIP service provider to small and midsized businesses in the Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas areas, you can trust us to leverage modern technology for your unique business needs. Don’t be shy! Contact our IT experts today for a free consultation and quote.