Can internet telephones using VoIP substitute traditional phone systems?

As fast as the internet has embedded into our lives and has become a part of almost everything in the modern world it is not a surprise at all to see that the possibility of VoIP substituting our traditional phone systems is being talked about. A simple VoIP system works on the principal of hosting calls over an internet protocol which are usually free between the hosts. The system does this by converting the voice signals from speech into digital data and then transmits it over a broadband connection. As a result the international calls have become rather cheap.

Now many people might still be using their traditional phone systems for nationwide or local calls but the cost effectiveness of VoIP for international calls is very high and its being used by a lot of people and even business entities. The transition has of course been motivated by the cost benefits as well as the convenience of added features like video calling. However, the VoIP sometimes may cause abrupt disconnection due to any kind of issue in the server.  Therefore, it raises a doubt in its possibility in taking over the traditional phone system.

VoIP systems are a crucial part of any modern phone system

VoIP systems are a crucial part of any modern phone system

VoIP, like any other technology comes with its fair share of Pros and Cons but Pros. Even though the Pros outweigh the cons but the imbalance between the two is still not convincing enough to write traditional phone lines off. The Cons include the availability of the service to the masses. Being a member of an urban society it might seem a little naive to even think that who could possibly not have a broadband connection in this era? And this might be even true for the urban areas. However, unfortunately the rural areas still lack this facility. And even if they do have a broadband service its usually not up to the mark and can therefore significantly affect the functioning of a VoIP system. The problem doesn’t end here. The reliability of internet connection also remains dubious even in the urban areas sometimes because the servers often have to go down for maintenance. These kinds of situations can seriously hamper the communication.

Pros of VoIP are rather convincing as well. A major role has been played by services like Viber, skype, blackberry messenger and google voice in making VoIP a serious contender in this contest. With smartphones the availability of these apps has drastically been increased and almost every individual who owns a smartphone has access to these services. Other than this, an effort was made by an entrepreneur in 2007 in the US to help people switch from the traditional landline by introducing a product called as magicjack that worked on the VoIP based system. The effort was quite successful and many people switched. VoIP connections have proved to be rather fruitful for many people and some might have even switched but the complaints of voice clarity are still there.

Over a period of next decade, its quite possible that the VoIP will substitute traditional phone systems for good. However for that, the problems that are present at the moment will need to be addressed properly.

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Fundamental Parts of a Phone System for Businesses

A phone system for business is a multi-line telephone system which is convenient for the typical business environment of organizations. It may vary according to the size and type of business and is classified further into sub categories. Two broad categories are key telephone systems and private branch exchanges (PBX). However, many organizations might prefer using a combination of the two.

Key telephone systems go way back in time and can be easily regarded as the one of the first telephone systems designed for the purpose of business entities. The mechanism involves simple telephone sets, wiring and lamps. The good part about this system is that it doesn’t need operator or attendant to direct calls between stations. A user can control the line simply by stroking keys and the usage was signaled by the light of lamps. Further advancement in the technology brought innovation in this system, electromechanical shared-control key system and Electronic shared-control system appeared subsequently. After this, features like answering machine, caller ID and speed dialing came into being.

Private branch exchange (PBX) on the other hand is a whole exchange that serves a private organization and performs various tasks to establish network connections for the business entity. It directs the calls and other form of data among all the stations of the organization. Each connection is called as an extension and has specific designated number. After the technological advancements in PBX many new features were integrated into the system. All in all, it is just like a normal public telephone exchange but is only specific to connections and stations of one private business setup.

In the current era, the term communication is no longer limited to the calls on phone or sending messages via fax. It has taken a huge leap forward with the introduction of internet and mobile data communication. Consequently, the businesses have made this a part of their communication system as well. PBX systems are using internet protocol to carry the calls and this has effectively reduced the cost as well with availability of cheap modern hardware. Therefore, PBX centers have now taken the form of VoIP centers.

VoIP phone sets are the future

VoIP phone sets are the future

The functionality is not very different but the latter is quite cost effective. The modern times also call for multiple data handling which is performed well and better on a system based upon internet protocol. The functions that they offer are not much different. Due to an overall reliance of the world on mobile devices, smartphones and handheld devices the PBX has also extended services for the mobile phones.

Hybrid systems have also been put into use for their modern functionality and better interface in the modern times. They are common in the financial industry as their functionality is best suited according to its needs. A hybrid system employs both the key telephone system and PBX which can be used to communicate with the voice mail or back office personnel.

Why is a working phone system so important for small and medium sized businesses?

Telephone communication is an integral aspect of a business organization and plays a major role in the effectiveness and smooth operations of the processes, within and external to the organization. There are several aspects of operations functions taking place in parallel and each function needs to be integrated with the others for desired results.

For integration of one function with another within an organization, communication needs to be sound and effective, while it also needs to be easy and swift so as to provide convenience to the employees. This is equally important whether the firm is large or a small scale business. In fact, small and medium sized businesses rely more on effective and cheap communication methods to be successful and profitable in their operations.

Old fashioned phone

Old fashioned phone

A working phone system within a small or medium scale business can gel in the different departments greatly and can increase coordination throughout. With less people in the firm, communication is far easier and it is hence imperative that people are bonded and on the same page during every operation which will ensure smooth running of the organization.

A system has the ability to reduce communication costs while increasing better relay of messages. Rather than linking through fax, email or messages, calls can be far more productive, interactive and can produce better results as chances of miscommunication are greatly reduced. Through verbal communication, people can argue and clarify things instantly and it reduces the delay in communication which can speed up operations considerably.

There is another great incentive for a small or medium sized business in installing a working phone system. Since small scale businesses are better at running remotely, a phone system can greatly improve customer service and support and gain customer loyalty through encouraging services and support. Rather than communicating with customers virtually through email, it is far more productive to deal on a phone call, interact with them live and solve their issue on spot. This would greatly satisfy the customers and would entice them to come back again.

Phone systems can be installed within an organization in a manner that could reduce communication costs. By using call waiting and call forwarding, both for operations within the organization and for dealing with customers, businesses can benefit in a great manner. Some service allow long distance and in house calls to be free which reduces the bill for the organization and hence helps in maximizing the revenue at the end of each month.

For small and medium sized businesses, it is advisable to share resources as much as possible so that costs can be scaled down. A working phone system within the firm can offer a perfect way for employees to share the same network and quickly connect or transfer calls to each other which offers better results and increased productivity.

Growing companies don’t need to change the phone system, since it normally can be scaled. So it might be a bigger cost in the beginning, but it is only a one time investment.