Internet telephones – Ring a bell?

You can’t avoid it now. Everyone seems to be talking about internet telephony or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones. Not a day goes by without receiving a phone call or seeing adverts promising to save you money on your phone calls. “Our call charges are (insert ridiculous percentage here) cheaper than BT”, “We include unlimited landline minutes (fair use policy applies)”, etc., etc. So what is the buzz about internet telephones and should you be using them? Well the easy answer is, it depends.

It is true that you might be able to save money by using the internet for making phone calls but cost cutting isn’t the best reason to switch an important thing like your communications to another supplier or medium. One of the key benefits that we promote with VoIP phones is the flexibility that it can give your business unlike the traditional carriers. To expand on this, let me explain, I hope simply, the difference between the plain old telephone service (POTS, yes that is its name!) that carriers such as BT provide and VoIP telephony.

POTS phones are connected at the end of a line which has two wires in it. When you make a phone call, or someone calls you, that line is in use and cannot be used for another phone call. Your phone number points to that line and cannot point anywhere else. If you move premises then you need to get your number pointed to another line and you might not even be able to transfer your number at all.

However, VoIP as its name suggests, is sent across the internet. This means that your phone is a small computer which tells the exchange where it is when it is plugged in so you can move it to wherever there is a broadband connection. This could be your office, your home or even abroad! Furthermore, as the phone call is not tying up your phone line, you can send multiple phone calls along your single internet connection. I hope that you can now see the potential for flexibility and cost savings.

As an example, a business may have a VoIP telephone exchange at their premises which has several incoming phone numbers pointing to it across their internet connection. These numbers may be local dialling codes, national numbers such as 0800, or even dialling codes from elsewhere in the country or even the world. Their exchange may have several extensions within the building, another at the boss’s house and yet another at the office of their French agent. All their internal calls would be free (including from the French office) and all their outbound calls would be low cost due to the efficiency of internet calling.

If they need an extra phone number, for example for a special promotion or to open up business in a new area, then it can be added within minutes. When the company expands and needs to move premises, all they need to do is unplug their exchange and phones and plug them in to the internet at the new location. Within minutes they would be up and running again with no transferring of lines or installation costs. Now we’re talking flexibility!

I hope that this has given you a taster about what VoIP telephony could do for your business but if you would like to know more then please call us for some jargon free advice.