Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems are enabling businesses around the world to streamline their communications systems. With just a broadband internet connection, a computer and a traditional phone and adapter (or specialized VoIP phone), businesses are able to bundle their internet/phone costs and save a significant amount of money. In addition, VoIP enables businesses to not only increase the functionality and range of their phone services, but also streamline their internal and external business communications.
Here's a rundown on the latest and greatest trends and features in VoIP technologies, and how you can leverage them to run your business more effectively.
Hosted Cloud PBX Boxes
While one of the advantages of VoIP is its simplicity (you can activate VoIP immediately merely with a specialized phone or adaptor), if you really want to get the most bang for your buck it's worthwhile to invest in a cloud-based hosted private branch exchange (PBX) system. This is basically an enterprise system that takes VoIP out of the hands of your phone service or internet provider, and provides customized hosting and management for your system. A PBX system manages the entire network of lines for its business clients, and provides features such as advanced call management, call routing, call recording and voice mail notifications, as well as a wealth of Unified Communications (UC) services. The host system manages all maintenance, and convenient cloud storage provides immediate access to numbers and contacts without taking up valuable system storage. Cloud-based VoIP host centers can also save an average of 27 percent in company costs by helping to provide an improved customer experience.
Thanks to open-source technology (WebRTC) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, VoIP and UC services can now be merged into viable apps that can be used instead of email. These apps can utilize VoIP and UC features to provide chat and instant messaging, and can also be implemented into video conferencing. The platform runs through browsers with specially embedded coding, and Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Microsoft Edge are already on board with this new technology. These apps are especially beneficial for internal company communications, and will help eliminate the daily cyber-chain of email messages.
VoIP Integration with Other Cloud-Based Management Tools
Today's business management tools must be capable of multi-tasking and integrating with other platforms, and VoIP is no exception. Thanks to cloud-based platforms, tools and products that utilize Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), VoIP can be integrated with accounting systems, help desk programs, company contact centers and customer relationship management software. This will further streamline company/client communications, and can also increase the speed of response times in dealing with customer support.
VoIP Integration with the Internet of Things
It's more than just a new catchphrase: The Internet of Things is rapidly becoming a way of life, not just in business, but also in the home.
According to research by Siemens, it's possible that 26 billion things will be connected to the internet by 2020. From a business perspective, this means that VoIP technology can be integrated to perform a multitude of remote-controlled tasks, from powering up your computer to switching on your office lights. More importantly, if you're operating from a virtual office or on a business trip, VoIP can be used to remotely set up your computer monitor and other office equipment, reserve and customize your workspace and transfer your business phone numbers -- all with the touch of a button on your tablet or smartphone.
As VoIP technologies continue to develop, it's clear that this platform will expand into other capabilities far beyond its original functions. Thanks to these advancements, VoIP has become an exciting business tool with amazing, far-reaching potential.