The VoIP vs Landline debate – 5 Factors Business Should Consider
Posted By: SEAMUS DUNNE
WHILE many businesses have made the leap away from traditional phone systems to VoIP business phone systems, the technology is sufficiently new to perplex the uninitiated who may be unaware of the relative merits and drawbacks of each side in the VoIP vs landline debate.
The sheer numbers of business users transferring to VoIP for their telephony requirements is staggering, and may be sufficient to compel this entrepreneurs and owners who are still using a traditional landline phone for business, to making a leap into a voice IP phone service and gear their business for the internet age of voice communication.
However, the traditional landline phone has been with us for an awfully long time, and is unlikely to disappear overnight, unless there is particularly compelling evidence for its enforced obsolescence.
There is little doubt that VoIP systems for business phone communication are revolutionary in their sleek efficiency, and in the number of additional functions that are enabled through VoIP, which will be music to the ears of small business owners who must always remain vigilant about the burden of overheads on their budgets.
First it’s necessary to clear up a little bit of the jargon around VoIP and telephony in general.
VoIP vs Landline – What is VoIP?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol… which, boiling it down to the bare essentials, means that the technology in the handsets use the Internet to exchange voice data that was traditionally relayed via the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). One of the immediate benefits of VoIP vs traditional telephony is that the user can relay not just voice but other forms of information and data, including video, image and text.
Basically, VoIP turns the Internet into the telephone exchange, breaking down the caller‘s communication data—whether voice, video, image, text—and reassembling it again at the recipient’s end.
In the case of the traditional landline phone for business, what was involved was firstly Circuit Switching (a physical connection between phone users, via copper wire and then fibre-optic cable) and then Packet-Switching, a relatively sophisticated method that involved live transmission of only the actual talking and conversation in a phone call, not the silence.
In this very brief overview of both systems, it should be relatively easy to understand the key factors in the VoIP vs landline debate that you should be aware of when considering a change to VoIP systems for business.
5 key Factors in the VoIP vs Landline Debate
1. Call Charges
This aspect of the debate makes VoIP business phone systems a big winner over the traditional landline phone for business. VoIP services are significantly cheaper than traditional standard phone services, with voice services often free. Many providers price their services on a subscription basis, meaning a greater degree of consistency and facilitating an owner in forecasting annual budgets.
2. Outlay & Maintenance
For best results in VoIP systems, it’s recommended that you use new VoIP handsets, although it is possible in some instances to upgrade traditional landline phones by using an adapter. Another big bonus, with a managed Voice IP phone service is that that it does not require server hardware on-premises—simply a high-speed broadband connection.
The many hats that can be worn by VoIP systems for business make these modern systems a multi-taking heavyweight addition to the infrastructure of any small business, who will be afforded features that were, at one time, solely reserves for the corporate sphere. As mentioned, VoIP is a layered data communicator, sending and receiving voice, text, image, video, in the blink of an eye.
Once connected to the Internet, VoIP handsets have email-like IDs, enabling the managing and organising of contact lists, and sharing contacts over multiple accounts. They have voicemails (which can be sent to your email as text messages), in addition to video calling, call-forwarding, conferencing, e-fax, and integration with third party applications such as CRM.
Being connected to the Internet not only allows the users of the most modern phones to have more freedom of movement in their offices, but outside the office as well. A traditional landline phone service obviously does not allow the same degree of fluidity. In addition, it will be easier to ‘take’ with you if you move to a new premises, and can, more easily than traditional services, facilitate upsizing or downsizing, depending on your business’s circumstances.
Voice Quality is perhaps the single factor in the VoIP vs landline debate that is most influential in ensuring the continued survival of the landline phone for business. VoIP phone systems, for all of their numerous bells and whistles features, flexibility, portability and low costs, depend entirely on Internet connection. If your business is not suited in an area with strong, high-speed broadband connection, VoIP is not going to work properly for you. The last thing you need is customers, and your own team members, disgruntled by the disruptions from a weak or erratic connection.
Conclusion – VoIP vs landline – which is best?
As hinted in the entry in relation to voice quality and connection, the answer to the question of the best phone systems depends on your business growth priorities. IP Telephony is part of a general convergence of computers, telephones and television/video into an integrated information environment.
If you have your eye on international markets, VoIP would appear to be the answer, as it is the way of the future. VoIP may not tick all the boxes right now, but as ever more businesses make the switch, one suspects that it will not be long before even the deal-breaker issue of voice quality is settled.