VoIP Phone Systems You Can Customize for Your Business VoIP Needs
Costs. Capabilities. Capacity. There's nothing in business telecoms that VoIP hasn't transformed. It's such an accessible technology. And it's never been easier to jump on the bandwagon- even if you're on a budget!
No wonder the sales reps at Mitel, Panasonic and Samsung are smarting. They've got amazing telecom systems to sell you. They're great companies. They'll give you amazing back-up and support.
But VoIP can do exactly the same and more for cents in the dollar. Interested? You should read on...!
Let's Talk Software
We need to talk software before hardware. And don't worry - the software is free! There are two open-source giants in VoIP software - Freeswitch and Asterick. Personally, we love Freeswitch.
I'm no Bill Gates. Let's get that clear. But even with my limited knowledge, I've built some hugely capable systems for less than the price of a decent boardroom table. Both Freeswitch and Asterisk have been tested thoroughly. They've been put through their paces in real world, commercial environments. These amazing pieces of software won't let you down.
If you're a nervous newbie, choose Asterisk. There's a lot of easy-to-understand help with this choice. If you're a little more tech savvy, plump for Freeswitch.
A Server To Suit
Next thing on the checklist is a VoIP server. Pretty much any hardware you can buy in stores or online will do. If you have a really small office, a Raspberry Pi will do nicely. You can pick them up new for $9!
Like all computers, you'll need an operating system. Both Asterick and Freeswitch will work away happily on Windows, OSX or Linux. This is your system though so choose the system you're happiest with. Once the server is working fine and the OS is doing what it should, install your software. You're now ready to go.
Less Tech = More Talk
Now, you've got a couple of options. Which one you take depends on how confident you are with technical matters.
If you're not confident and just want to get started, download a "front end" for your software of choice. Go for FusionPBX if you choose Freeswitch or FreePBX for Asterisk. If you’re a techie and like playing with config files, Asterisk and Freeswitch are both command line based software. Please only go down this road if you're really confident though.
Get a Handle on Headsets
VoIP is so well developed now that it has its own standards. The advantage for you is that having standards makes adding to your system easy.
The big standard in VoIP is called SIP. When you buy a new headset, make sure it's SIP-compliant. That means that you'll be able to just plug and play. Check out stores like voipsupply.com. They have such a wide range of headsets in different styles and shapes. There's bound to be something there to suit your taste.
Plug in Paradise
Both Asterisk and Freeswitch come with all the normal telecom features out the box – voicemail, extensions, call recording, and more. All of these needs and more are catered for. But what if you want more?
That's where plug-ins come in. These are little bits of software you add to your VoIP server software to add extra functionality.
Plug-ins can make you sound like Darth Vader. They also can (believe it or not) translate your speech on the fly into another language. The only limit to what you can add is the imagination of the software developers.