VoIP vs SIP: Which Communication Solution is Right for Your Business?
Why You Should’ve Switched to an Internet Phone Yesterday
People are increasingly relying on their cell phones, and many are abandoning landlines altogether. For many reasons, though, it's still smart to have a phone in the home. Fortunately, that no longer means paying for expensive traditional telephone service. By switching to an Internet phone plan instead, users can enjoy the perks of having a phone at home without all the hassle and expense that goes along with traditional landlines. You've probably heard of VoIP services such as Vonage, but if you haven't explored the benefits of VoIP, or voice over Internet protocol, technology yet, should consider the advantages of VoIP providers.
How it Works:
With a traditional telephone plan, customers typically pay per minute. Most plans include a maximum number of allowable minutes for local calls; if that limit is exceeded, the customer pays more. Long-distance calling generally costs extra. Those charges are usually tacked onto phone bills, leading to some very unpleasant surprises. Unlike traditional phone service, VoIP is powered by the Internet. Those who already have Internet service have almost everything they need to start using this technology. Calls are sent using the data network that's used to deliver Internet service to the home, such as with companies like RingCentral, so users don't have to pay extra to make and receive calls.
The Benefits of Internet Phone Service:
The benefits of switching to VoIP are considerable. Whether it be for personal use, or a home business, VoIP has replaced traditional landlines as the smart choice. So what exactly are the benefits of VoIP? The following is a list of some of the key reasons for making the switch:
VoIP Offers Enhanced Features
Traditional phone service is sorely lacking in terms of extra features, and the features that are available tend to cost extra. The typical Internet phone plan includes a wide array of features that don’t cost anything extra. From personalized ring tones for different callers, to unified messaging - which allows users to switch between voice calls, instant messages and other forms of communications with ease - VoIP service is changing the way we communicate.
VoIP is Significantly Cheaper
The extensive features VoIP offers would make it worthwhile to switch even if it cost the same as a traditional landline. The fact that it offers users meaningful savings makes it all the more attractive. A TechTarget study found that businesses can potentially save up to 40% on their monthly phone bills. International calls delivered a dizzying 90% savings when compared to traditional phone plans.
Never Miss a Call
Those who switch to Internet telephone service don't have to stress out about being home to take a particular call. VoIP is delightfully portable. Users can buy a dedicated VoIP phone that is packed with features, or they can opt to download apps, like the one Vonage offers, to their cell phone. Such apps replicate much of what a hardware solution can do.
Users merely have to program their VoiP provider details into all of their mobile devices, giving them the capability to answer on any one of their gadgets whenever anyone calls. Users can set it up so multiple phones ring when a particular number is called. Alternatively, they can opt to have a phone call divert to a particular cell phone if it hasn’t been picked up on the home VoIP phone after a prescribed number of rings.
Separate Numbers for Mom, Dad, and the Kids
Remember the days when you picked up the phone only to find someone else was using it? You had to patiently wait for them to finish before you could start chatting. Those days are gone now for VoIP users.
Most of the big VoIP providers offer a mini-switchboard. So, it's now "press 1 for Dad, 2 for Mom" and so on. Then when the caller selects the person they want to speak to, only that person's cell rings. No more busy lines.
Make Video Calls to Friends and Family
A major advantage of an Internet-based phone service is the ability to go beyond mere voice calling. VoIP gives customers the ability to make video calls as well. Simply downloading an app can make video calling possible from a mobile phone.
Conference Calling Made Easy
VoIP users can enjoy easy conference calling with friends and family members. Multiple family members can dial into the same conversation and keep in touch. Most major VoIP providers even offer video conference calling, which is easily activated.
Call Recording Capabilities
The ability to record a call can come in handy in a number of situations. Whether it’s receiving an important business call at home, setting an appointment or being dictated a grocery list, this is an invaluable function that can generally be activated on the cell phone app of the VoIP provider. This is a good example of the modern functionality that is making traditional landlines obsolete.
Phone to Text
An extremely useful VoIP feature offered by some providers is a virtual assistant that can answer the phone on someone’s behalf. The assistant will transcribe the message left for the user. Grasshopper offers this as part of their standard package.
Once the call is over, the user will get a text message relaying what the caller said. This is an ideal feature to have for those who are in a meeting or a movie and don’t want to be disturbed.
Cloud-based Phone System Advantages
Another attractive aspect of VoIP is the fact that it can be (but is not limited to being) a cloud-based phone system. This means that all of the user’s contacts, phone records, messages and auto-responses are all logged and stored conveniently on the cloud for instant access from wherever they are and whenever they need them.
Adjust Your Settings with Ease
Upgrading or changing services with a traditional phone plan can be complicated. Internet telephone providers make it easy by providing users with an intuitive interface. Over the web, users can change a call forwarding number, enable anonymous call blocking and change a variety of other features and options.
Choose Your Own Number
With VoIP, users can choose any number -- and virtually any area code -- they want. This type of service is not limited by geographical constraints, so someone can have a New York number in California, for example.
In the old days, with traditional phones, moving house was a major headache. Somebody moving would have to go to great lengths to get the phone company to switch numbers from one house to the other. This is not a problem with VoIP. A person’s number is stored on a server in the cloud, so there's no need to do anything when it is time to move.
Things You Have to Know About VoIP Before Making the Switch
To sum up, there are a number of key facts that will help you make the decision to transition from a traditional landline to an advanced VoIP phone system:
• Cost-saving - VoIP is cheaper, particularly on international calls
• Efficiency - Advanced features like call forwarding help you make the most of your time
• Cloud-based Phone System - Instant access to your key information from everywhere
• Security - Choose a reliable provider who will help protect your sensitive information
• Connectivity - Video conferencing options help bring employees all over the world together
VoIP has clear advantages over traditional landlines and is rapidly changing the way people communicate. Whether for business or residential use, VoIP’s cost-saving benefits and increased functionality make switching from a traditional phone line worthwhile. Check out our tips on how to choose your VoIP provider here.