VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP is a technology that delivers voice over the Internet. It is also called IP Telephony, Internet Telephony, and Internet Calling. VoIP can be an affordable alternative to using a regular telephone line. Some VoIP services allow local, long-distance, or even international phone calls.
VoIP technology converts your voice into a digital signal that travels across the internet. Before reaching the destination, VoIP translates this signal into a regular phone signal. This makes it possible for a VoIP user to contact a regular telephone user.
Several software elements make up a VoIP solution. Most VoIP products include user interface software. This software lets users manage system hardware and relays messages to the screen. All VoIP software requires standard networking components to operate. These include a TCP/IP network stack, DHCP client software, and the Domain Name System (DNS). You’ll also need a VoIP signaling protocol stack. The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a popular open standard. H.323 is a good alternative for video conferencing.
Common Use Cases for VoIP
If you are looking to slash costs, switching to VoIP can be a a great way to save. VoIP service providers have lower operating costs than traditional phone companies do. This allows VoIP providers to charge less for the same service. Are you tired of having separate costs for phones and data? VoIP can help you drop the extra bill.
If you are always on the go, VoIP applications let you make calls from anywhere as long as you have a high-speed internet connection. Just open up your mobile VoIP app or connect your laptop and you can make and receive calls.
If your business isn’t open 24/7 and you don’t want to be receiving calls at all hours, don’t worry. Most VoIP services allow individual users to set up ‘working hours’ during which they’ll receive call notifications. VoIP numbers can also be set up to work on different devices, such as your cell phone or landline. This feature makes it easier to receive important calls outside of the office. You can also have your voice and text messages sent to your inbox.
A VoIP service can make it easier to scale your business. You do not need to set up a telephone infrastructure with VoIP. Administrators can also manage business VoIP lines by adding, removing, or transferring lines.
Need to keep track of your call data? VoIP software can turn your phone call data into useful information. By summarizing your call data, VoIP products can help you generate useful insights about your business.
Whether or not VoIP can help you solve your business problem depends on the product package offered. Many service providers offer different sets of features and it is a good idea to look through each of them to get a better idea of who they’re designed for.
10 Key VoIP Capabilities
#1 Auto Attendant
What is an auto attendant? An automated operator greets incoming callers and routes calls to specific agents or extensions based on the needs of the caller. Auto Attendants can perform simple tasks, such as playing a message or hold music. More advanced auto attendants can be used to set up an interactive-voice-response (IVR) menu system. That will allow callers to select whichever menu option best applies to them and directs their call accordingly.
#2 Do Not Disturb
You can pause incoming calls to a line with this feature. It is important to be able to prevent calls from distracting you and your client during a meeting. A DnD feature helps maintain professionalism in your meetings.
#3 Voicemail-to-Email Transcription
Your business may not be open 24 hours a day. Voicemail to Email Transcription saves a copy of those long voicemails to your inbox, so you don’t need to scramble to write down all the specifics of a call. Having your voicemail in text form means you can quickly search your inbox to find the file you need.
#4 Call Forwarding
Call forwarding puts an end to phone tag if you are in and out of the office. VoIP services can forward calls on your line to alternate numbers before going to voicemail. This ensures that wherever you are, you are likely to receive the call.
#5 Hold Music
A good piece of music will reduce the boredom and anxiety of waiting on hold. Promotional messages are another way to represent your company while a caller is waiting. Customers can spend more time on hold than on the phone call itself. Giving your clients an enjoyable experience is an opportunity to retain them.
#6 Call Detail Records
When you have access to the right information, it is easy to analyze call data. A call detail record contains key details about how you use your phone system. This data gives you the power to track agent performance and customer satisfaction.
#7 Caller ID
Caller ID gives you the power to screen calls before answering the phone. You will have access to the caller’s name and telephone number. You can block anonymous calls, identify repeat callers, and make efficient callbacks.
#8 Audio Conferencing
A mismanaged conference call can be frustrating. A meeting management feature is available for some VoIP systems to manage audio. The meeting manager allows you to hold meetings with hundreds of internet-connected participants. Managers handle invitations, muting, file sharing, and more.
#9 Call Recording
If you track customer satisfaction, you may want to document phone calls for later analysis. Recording helps you maintain compliance if your industry regulates phone calls.
#10 Emergency Call Support
Don’t forget about emergencies! While fixed VoIP lines are attached to a physical address, non-fixed VoIP numbers are not bound to one place the way landlines are. This makes it hard for 911 services to track calls. Your VoIP solution should offer software that supports calls to emergency services.
Things To Consider When Looking For A New VoIP Software
Standalone VoIP solutions are ideal for small businesses and teams. The simplicity of these services provides a cheap and easy to use mobile voice solution. Standalone VoIP allows for a variety of add-on features while giving users the freedom to be mobile. You also have the option to scale up to UCaaS if you buy from a vendor who offers a complete unified communications software suite.
UCaaS solutions are best suited for enterprises and large teams. They’re well-suited for organizations using many online communication methods (e.g. voice, video conferencing, online messaging, etc). They are defined by the set of services and type of user experience they provide. They support features related to voice, meeting solutions, document sharing, and instant messaging. UCaaS enables companies to manage all their communication needs within one platform. The result is a unified user experience across all devices.
Struggling to figure out which one is right for you? Check out this article that details whether or not VoIP or UCaaS would be the best fit for your business.
Looking For More Information on VoIP Software?
If you’re looking for more information about specific products, or VoIP software in general, our VoIP category page has information about both. Our Buyer’s Guide to VoIP Providers also has detailed information on 7 leading VoIP products.