Can VoIP be a Backup Phone System?

Posted on: 2017-08-22 | Categories:SIP

VoIP adoption is growing steadily, year after year. It is astounding how far the industry has developed since its humble beginnings. Few enterprise technologies have gained traction as fast as VoIP has in recent years. Businesses are generally slow to upgrade to the latest technology as it can be hard to adapt to change. However VoIP technology has proved to offer a multitude of benefits with very little risk at a low price. No wonder it is well on its way to replacing PSTN as the default communication channel for voice.

The Legacy of Landlines

The PSTN network has been around for quite a bit longer than VoIP. Landlines have not changed much over the decades. Apart from the introduction of certain innovations like wireless handsets, the basic infrastructure and experience of making a call have remained unchanged. While individuals and households were quick to embrace VoIP, enterprises have lagged behind until recently.

There are a number of reasons for this. For a long time VoIP could not match the call quality of landline phones. Many businesses also thought that there was no need to switch away from the PSTN since it was working perfectly fine for their needs. Phones are the backbone for enterprises and it can be a massive project to change something so essential.

But VoIP technology has improved quite a bit since then. Businesses have come to realize that it offers many more features than conventional landlines. In fact the switch to VoIP provides more benefits for businesses than individual customers. While initial adoption was quite slow, momentum is now in favor of VoIP. The number of landlines continues to diminish steadily each year and some carriers are even looking forward to retiring the copper line network entirely in the next decade.

VoIP or PSTN

In spite of the advancements in VoIP, some organizations still rely on the PSTN. It could be because the business uses fax and the vendors in that area cannot provide digital faxing options. Some industries also have regulatory compliance requirements that force them to use the landlines. Some businesses are located in an area where fast Internet connections are not available. Apart from all these reasons, a variety of enterprise systems also rely on landlines to function. These include security systems and similar business infrastructure.

So what do you do if you rely on the PSTN but would still like to sample what VoIP has to offer? Quite a few businesses upgrade to VoIP and use a landline as a backup for the essentials. Is it possible for the reverse to happen? Can you use VoIP as a backup phone system for when the landlines don’t work or in case of other emergencies?

VoIP As a Backup Phone System

The answer may be surprising to some but you can use VoIP as a backup phone system. If you cannot outright switch away from the PSTN, using hosted VoIP services as a backup can be a good strategy. This way you get to experience the benefits of VoIP without getting rid of your existing equipment. On the other hand, VoIP can serve as an alternative in your business continuity planning.

While the PSTN system is robust, there are several situations where you might find yourself without phones. Natural disasters and emergencies come immediately to mind. What happens when a fire or snowstorm destroys your office along with all the equipment inside? If you have hosted VoIP as a backup service, you can relocate your employees to another building. Plug-in your replacement hardware and continue business as usual.

Legislative and regulatory bodies are generally behind on technological changes. Until the new technology becomes dominant, lawmakers are generally not interested in regulating it. Going forward it is likely that more countries will start encouraging VoIP adoption in all industries. Using VoIP as a backup can be a sound strategy in this scenario as well. If you are one of those businesses that use landlines for compliance requirements, you can switch to VoIP as soon as those requirements change. Since the system will already be in place as a backup, there won’t be much necessary in the form of upgrades or replacements.

The Future of VoIP

As uncomfortable as it might be for some industries, it is certain that VoIP will replace their landlines in the future. No one can predict how quickly that will happen. Some countries are already getting ready for the switch. Other nations are only now waking up to the possibilities of VoIP. The PSTN won’t last long in most industrialized countries however. As such it is a good idea for enterprises to implement VoIP sooner rather than later.

Even if you’re not interested in the benefits that VoIP offers, the reality is that landlines won’t be around for much longer. So why wait until you are forced to switch? Upgrade and enjoy the benefits today, even if it’s only as a backup phone system!