What do Zoom, Viber, Skype, Messenger, Google Meet, and FaceTime all have in common? Unbeknownst to most people, these video calling apps and features use one underlying technology: Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP.
In a nutshell, VoIP is the transmission of data packets over the internet to facilitate online communications such as video calls, voicemail, and chat messages. VoIP generally exists in two forms, namely one for everyday consumers and another for businesses.
Here are a few reasons why VoIP’s ubiquity among non-business users makes a compelling case for companies to utilize VoIP themselves.
VoIP makes it easy to connect with people
As long as people are connected to the internet, they can easily contact one another via VoIP apps. In this time of social distancing, sheltering in place, and remote learning, consumer VoIP is proving to be indispensable for maintaining social arrangements and interpersonal relationships.
For businesses that can let their staff work from home, VoIP is just as invaluable. Colleagues can keep in touch with one another, be on the same page when it comes to projects, and collaborate despite being miles apart.
VoIP enables multimedia communication
Traditional landline and regular cell phone calls are limited to voice communications, but telecommunications via the internet allow other data to be streamed alongside audio. For the most part, that other data is in the form of video, which enables video calls and conferences.
Business VoIP, on the other hand, offers more functionality. It allows for screen sharing, file sharing, call recording, and simultaneous text chat — features that facilitate the exchange of ideas, enable collaboration, and enhance productivity.
VoIP is inexpensive
Consumer VoIP like Messenger is largely free because Facebook, its home app, is supported by ad revenues. The more useful features the app offers, the more reasons users have to spend time on the app — and the more opportunities for advertisers to engage with prospective customers.
As for VoIP apps for businesses, most offer free trials or free but limited versions of their apps (i.e., call minutes are capped, HD calls are disabled, or the number of call participants is limited). Once trial periods elapse or users need the full versions of the apps, users have to pay, either on pay-as-you-go or subscription models.
But even when users have to pay for VoIP, it’s still way more affordable than landlines. Landline services can cost between $50 and $70 per user per month, whereas VoIP costs only $20 to $30 per user per month.
Business VoIP allows for screen sharing, file sharing, call recording, and simultaneous text chat — features that facilitate the exchange of ideas, enable collaboration, and enhance productivity.
VoIP doesn’t require special hardware
Most smartphones, tablets, and laptops have the web cameras, speakers, and other hardware needed to enable VoIP communications. This means that consumer tech can be used to make and take VoIP calls, though standalone webcams and headsets are available in case these are needed (e.g., when desktops don’t have such gear built in).
Physical VoIP phones, or hardphones, have the look and feel of traditional landline phones, but such VoIP phones can be expensive and difficult to use. And with people getting more used to mobile phone and app interfaces, there’s now less reason to use physical VoIP phones. Obviously, eschewing these makes VoIP that much cheaper.
All in all, VoIP is an ubiquitous technology that many people are familiar with and can make business telecommunications more feature-rich and affordable. If you’re interested in building an IT strategy that utilizes VoIP and other IT solutions, then approach our specialists at Umbrella. Let our Proactive Operations Team help you build a system that’s tailored to support the growth of your business. Schedule a FREE consultation today.