There is a lot of talk around our office for rent Toronto water cooler about the proliferation of VoIP in business, including the fact that Telsec is about to unveil a new service that incorporates VoIP technology. To begin with, let’s examine what VoIP is. The first thing we should tell you is that the acronym VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It is also referred to as IP Telephony or Internet Telephony. VoIP is a modern way of making phone calls. The difference is that making the calls is cheaper by transmitting them over the Internet. Cisco offers a great article on “What is VoIP (Voice over IP)?

VoIP has a lot of advantages over the traditional phone system – as well as its own minor drawbacks. The main reason why people are so massively turning to VoIP technology is the low cost of use. While VoIP is said to be inexpensive, there are ways of using it for free – but the free options are not always the most reliable or convenient. If you have a computer with a microphone and speakers, as well as a good Internet connection, you can communicate using VoIP services practically free using services like Skype that allow you to make call from Skype to Skype for free. The only time you have to take a subscription to Skype is when you want to be able to call regular telephones from the Skype service. There are many other ways of using VoIP technology, but that depends on how and where you will be making calls from. The way you make calls varies depending on the type VoIP service you use and the technology that each service supports.

The best part about using VoIP is that the technology can use the existing infrastructure of the Internet you already pay for, without additional costs. VoIP allows you to communicate by voice over the standard high-speed Internet infrastructure, using the IP Protocol to call from computer to computer. Skype is the most popular VoIP service that allows you to make free calls on your PC to another PC or laptop for free (as well as PC to standard land lines with a paid subscription that is based on where you want to be able to call). There are also many other computer-based VoIP services available for PC to PC calls, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

VoIP can be used for free with computers and even, in some cases, with mobile and land-line phones. When VoIP completely replaces the standard PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network or old telephone system), then it begins to have a more significant cost and value to business. The price is much cheaper than standard phone calls, but there has to be a cost to access those who are still on PSTN. The cost of domestic calls will drop, but there will be an even bigger saving on the cost of international calls. Some companies have seen their communication costs on international calls decrease by 90% by using VoIP just for long distance.

Some say that VoIP is still a relatively new technology for most people to adopt, but it has already achieved wide acceptance and use with not only early adopters, but with average consumers and businesses. True, there is still plenty to  improve, but over the past few years there have been major technological advances in VoIP and more will come in the future. VoIP still has a way to go before it replaces the POTS (Plain Old Telephone System), but thus far it has proven to be a one of the best technologies for replacing the POTS.

While VoIP has numerous advantages, it also has drawbacks. The first thing to think about is that your VoIP telephone will only be as reliable as your internet connection combined with your electric grid – whereas the old telephone system seemed to always work even when the power or Internet went down. This is unless you are using a business phone system that relies on a switching box or PBX – but more often companies are using back-up batteries to keep their phone systems working in event of a short-term power outage. There are also concerns about VoIP proliferation and the effect it will have on Internet traffic and global bandwidth and the overall quality of calls due to the extra burden on the Internet.

Another potential problem with the increasing use and adoption worldwide is that many businesses and individual home users are starting to ask if there are security considerations and regulatory controls that can or cannot be placed on VoIP and VoIP providers. VoIP calls have had significant implications on the security and privacy aspects of voice calls. This is because VoIP has made it much easier to achieve confidentiality and anonymity in voice communications, but has also imposed new challenges in providing the same call-identifying features as those that exist in traditional circuit-switched networks.

VoIP is a technology that is important for businesses to keep an eye on as it matures and becomes more commonplace. VoIP is one of those technologies that many smaller businesses may find easier to adopt than their larger counterparts. Remember the blog we wrote called  Technology can be the Equalizer for Small Businesses? This is also true with VoIP being easier to implement on a small scale than it is for larger organizations who have larger demands.

Over our next few blogs we will be talking about the technological advances in VoIP since its early uses only a few years ago. We will also be discussing how businesses can use VoIP to save money, but also use it as an effective tool in keeping a scattered team and remote users in constant contact with head office (as if they were in the same physical location). We will also explore the fact that as good as VoIP is getting, it may not be the best solution for all businesses who have Toronto office space for lease in a traditional sense, or work in an office business centre environment. There are even VoIP options that we will explore that are geared towards those who work from home and use a virtual office solution.