What do you Give Up When you Switch to VoIP?

Posted on: 2018-02-02 | Categories:SIP

Switching to a new technology is often difficult. On a personal level, you need to learn how to use it and become familiar with it. Sometimes you have to unlearn concepts that worked with older technology but is useless with the new.

The process is even more complex for a business that probably has many different departments that use it. Everyone within the organization needs to be on board with the new system. Various teams might have their own needs and requirements and so the new system should be customizable to a certain extent. The business also needs to ensure that the cost of deploying and implementing the system does not exceed the projected benefits.

Fortunately for most businesses, VoIP allays many of the above concerns. VoIP enabled systems – especially hosted services – are flexible and customizable out of the box. They don’t cost anything up front and the variable expenses are predictable. Large organizations and small businesses can benefit from the technology. Lastly almost every business team or department can configure the system to suit their workflows.

The Cons of VoIP

As always every technology has its own pros and cons. While the pros are overwhelming on the side of VoIP, it doesn’t mean that the technology is perfect. Older generations of VoIP suffered from quite a few drawbacks.

One of the many reasons that businesses held back from adopting VoIP was the issue of quality. The earliest VoIP systems failed abysmally when it came to sound and audio. Garbled speech, missing words and even random noises during a call were not uncommon. And that is if you could even complete the call. Those systems were notorious for their lack of reliability – in short you could never be sure that the call would connect or stay that way for long.

Naturally VoIP has improved by leaps and bounds in the intervening decades. Vendors have worked on bringing audio quality to the same level as traditional calls. Investments in infrastructure have also paid rich dividends. Many phone operators have made plans to switch over to VoIP and an end date for the PSTN seems likely soon.

Early VoIP systems had no way of dialing emergency numbers either. A business cannot afford to use a system that lacks integration with local emergency systems. While it was fine when VoIP was still in its infancy, the technology is now replacing analog calls as the default voice service in many areas. So with recent FCC rulings, most hosted VoIP services support E911 so that their users can access emergency services by attaching a location to their account.

As we can see, many of the early drawbacks have been remedied to the extent that enterprises are now able to rely on VoIP enabled services. However there are still some things you might miss when upgrading to VoIP.

What do you Lose when you Switch to VoIP?

The telephone has been the backbone of business communication for centuries now. Over the decades, many enterprise systems have developed to take advantage of phone lines. Security alarms and systems are one of the most important. Businesses and households alike rely on security systems to protect against unauthorized access and use.

Unfortunately VoIP services cannot integrate with such systems. VoIP routes voice calls over the internet whereas alarm systems depend on old fashioned wires. Some organizations have compromised by retaining a few landlines for legacy support. Others have moved on to different, IP based alarm systems in order to let go of phone lines once and for all. Rest assured that it will not be an obstacle to upgrade for most companies.

PSTN phone lines supply their own power which is often useful. Even if the power goes out, the phones can still work. There will be situations where both power and the phones go out but those occasions are quite rare. IP phones require a power supply, just like computers and laptops. Businesses should include the phones when planning for backup and disaster recovery programs.

Of course there are some things that you won’t miss about traditional phone systems like waiting for specialized technicians or experts to change/configure the system to your needs. There will be no need to rewire a building if you move your office. Most IP phones support auto provisioning from a server. In plain words, it means these devices are plug and play.

Hosted VoIP service providers have also done away with contracts – for service or maintenance. If you find a better price or service, you can always walk away at the end of the month. In the early days, managers worried about giving up many things for VoIP. Now the technology has met expectations and even exceeded them on a few fronts. Like most businesses, you won’t want to go back after trying out VoIP for yourself!