Technologies like VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) have harnessed the power of the internet to make telephony part of a business communications ecosystem that's simultaneously more economical, versatile, and wide-reaching than anything that's come before.
Below we have outlined just some of the ways in which business telephone systems powered by VoIP are changing the face of business communications - and of business, itself.
One of the core changes that the growth of VoIP has made to the commercial sector is a physical one. Business telephone systems no longer need to be dependent on in-house installations of expensive, clunky, tough to manage and maintain infrastructure, or hardware.
Having an on-site Private Branch Exchange (PBX) isn't an essential, for a VoIP set-up. Installation of the system may be largely accomplished through software, with perhaps the purchase of a few accessories such as headsets, and the like.
Infrastructure management and maintenance may be delegated entirely to a VoIP service provider - especially with a cloud-hosted PBX solution. This frees up business IT units to concentrate their efforts on improving and growing their commercial enterprise.
The switch to digital brings other infrastructure benefits, enabling business communications to be integrated with various data-driven processes. Business networks built with structured cabling systems based on the latest fibre optic technologies are providing glitch-free telecommunications and super-fast data transfers, over reliable broadband internet connections.
Specialists such as LG Networks are assisting firms in making their "digital transformations" stable, smooth, and trouble-free.
Lower Costs And Better Features
Since VoIP contracts typically operate on a subscription basis (e.g., pay per month, per user), business communications costs are minimised by enabling enterprises to pay only for what they use, and as they need it.
Costs are further reduced by using the internet as the data transport medium. As VoIP services usually aren't constrained by industry regulations, pricing models are now more competitive, with huge savings available on local, long-distance and international calls.
And in a very real instance of "less equals more", these lower-cost VoIP schemes are enhancing business telephone systems with a multitude of enterprise-level features. These range from call-handling, re-routing, and queueing with voicemail to email transcription, through to presence panels, electronic receptionists (Auto-Attendants), Instant Messaging channels, video-conferencing, business continuity measures, and collaboration.
VoIP For Greater Reach
Voice over Internet Protocol has extended the reach of business communications beyond the home office and call centre.
Dedicated handsets are no longer a requirement, as business telephone systems using VoIP are available to their users via desktop computer "softphones", laptops, tablets, smartphones, or any mobile device with a microphone / speaker combination and a viable internet connection.
The World as Your Office
The device-agnostic nature of VoIP serves as a natural companion to the changing patterns of business life, as new working practices, flexible scheduling, and revolving workforces become more common.
With a business communications system that relies on internet connectivity as its backbone, companies are able to make access to their business telephone systems available to workers at home, during office relocations, on the road, at branch offices or remote sites, and from any location across the globe.
And tools such as presence panels and configurable call and message-handling ensure that work colleagues can remain in contact with each other at all times, co-ordinating their activities based on who's available at what time - and therefore being available to customers and supply chain partners, around the clock.
Companies can take advantage of having a geographically dispersed, or flexible workforce to compensate for international time differences - all the while allowing their staff to manage under what conditions they're available to take calls or messages and which devices they use to handle them.
Convergence for Convenience
With digital data transfer as a common medium, today's business telephone systems are capable of merging or integrating with any number of data-driven applications and services.
Unified Communications (UC) solutions combining telephony, business communications tools, office productivity software, cloud and web services, databases, and other online resources are changing the way that organisations work, share information, collaborate, and interact.
This convergence of processes and functions also plays out at the hardware level, as computer systems and increasingly sophisticated smartphones make video-conferencing, web chat, or connecting to specialist platforms for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and other business functions a matter of using a single device.
VoIP service providers are seeing this trend as an opportunity to create packages of integrated features and services, in new business models tailored for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Change Through Technological Trends
Together with bio-technology and web based commerce (eCommerce), VoIP has been one of the top performing business technologies of this decade.
In the years to come, telecoms industry experts predict an increased adoption of mobile VoIP - especially at consumer level. This will have the knock-on effect of increasing the availability of VoIP services to users in all sectors, and creating an even more competitive market.
With the anticipated release of 5G networking technology in 2020, service providers are already investigating the ways in which 5G and VoIP may be integrated, with an eye to catering for the increasing number of teleworkers entering the job market.
And with the future in mind, several VoIP service providers are already scaling up their provisions for business continuity and security. These kinds of moves are shaping a landscape where business telephone systems can become even more reliable, and in which business communications may even be free of the risks of cyber-attack.
If you'd like to know more about how VoIP is changing the nature of business telephone systems, or want to discuss your company’s telephone system contact the experts at LG Networks.