IP (Internet Protocol) telephony marks a major milestone in the evolution of telecommunication technology. It empowers remote teams to work on collaborative projects as well as connects businesses with international audiences.
A growing number of businesses across industry lines are shifting to telephony over IP networks. Let’s look at what IP telephony is and some of the reasons for its popularity.
What is IP telephony (Internet Protocol Telephony)?
IP telephony uses digital protocols to transfer communications over the internet, bypassing the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). This technology can be used to make and receive voice and video calls, instant messaging, and to exchange other kinds of data.
Users can also participate in voice and video conferencing. For voice calls, the system used can also be referred to as VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephony.
Voice over IP technology can be accessed through, mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers with a working internet connection. Most service providers connect users through monthly subscription plans.
When phone calls are made, analog voice signals are digitized and transmitted over the internet to the receiver in the form of data packets. At the receiving end, the digital signals are decoded and converted back to analog voice signals. The conversion and transmission happen in seconds, which facilitates real-time communication.
What are the challenges of IP telephony?
Like any other system IP telephony has its challenges. There are two main concerns you should be aware of:
Wi-Fi routers and other hardware used for IP telephony systems run on electricity. Hence, when the power goes out, you might lose your connections too. This risk is higher in the case of on-premises IP telephony systems, so it is important to have backups in place.
High-speed internet connection requirements
For IP telephony solutions to work smoothly, you will need a high-speed internet connection. Connections with a low bandwidth increase the chance of losing data packets. In turn, this affects call quality standards. There may be a lag in conversations or words and sentences may become mixed up.
The advantages of IP telephony for business
The advantages of IP telephony span across departments and operations. They include:
Lower operational costs
Using IP services for business communications results in lower costs compared to traditional PBX (Private Branch Exchange) systems. In terms of installation, IP telephone systems require no additional hardware like an IP phone, or cabling, which means minimal maintenance.
In most cases, monthly subscriptions include unlimited calling to certain locations while calls to numbers in other parts of the world are billed as per usage. PBX systems, on the other hand, have no unlimited calling options and significantly higher call rates.
With traditional phone systems, every new number requires additional cabling, new devices, and so on. Setting that up can take a few days. When the team size decreases, the hardware that is no longer required is simply left to gather dust.
However, IP telephony systems are easy to scale up and down. Service administrators can simply add or remove users from the account. Since no cabling work is required, these changes can be administered quickly. New users can start making and receiving calls within a few minutes.
Internal business communication and collaboration go hand in hand. VoIP systems facilitate collaboration by keeping teams connected irrespective of where they are located. Employees working in the office can exchange ideas with employees working at home and test them with remote workers in the field. It also makes it easier for collaborators to share documents or host video calls to view demonstrations.
Access to advanced features
IP telephony subscriptions include many advanced features that strengthen a brand’s image and boost productivity. For example, companies can customize greetings and set up IVR menus to route incoming calls. This helps SMBs present a strong brand image.
Similarly, features like call-recording and voicemail transcription make it easier for team leaders to assess the quality of calls handled, identify high performers and schedule training sessions.
Integration with business tools
IP telephony accounts can be easily integrated with other business tools and systems. This helps create 360-degree customer profiles and empowers businesses to improve the quality of products and services offered. For example, integrating IP technology with CRM systems helps map out customer journeys and tailor communication accordingly.
How to choose an IP telephony system
There are numerous IP telephony providers on the market today. While some cater to entrepreneurs and SMBs, others focus on larger organizations. Some of the factors to be considered when choosing an IP telephony system are:
Every business has limited resources so your IP network subscription must fit your budget. In addition to the monthly subscription fees, some service providers may also have add-on fees. You should also consider the call billing rates for your target audience.
Some service providers offer local VoIP phone numbers in a limited number of countries. You should always make sure the service you choose is available in the country for which you want a local phone number.
IP telephony subscriptions include a wide variety of features. Look for plans that will most benefit your business. Some of the common features generally included in IP telephony plans are call analytics, call recordings, smart routing through IVR menus, voicemail and voicemail transcriptions, customized greetings, ring groups, and so on.
To sum it all up:
Digitizing your communication system with a VoIP phone system keeps your teams connected to one another and to your customers. As a leading IP service provider, Aircall offers two monthly subscription plans with a range of value-added features and 100+ integrations. The system is easy to set up, requires minimal training to get started and is cost-effective.
You can also sign up for a demo to talk with an Aircall representative about your options.
Published on January 2, 2024.