January 17, 2022 | 6-minute read (1063 words)
The future of phone calls, according to some, is voice over internet protocol, a technology that enables you to make calls on the internet. Many analysts expect traditional landlines to become obsolete over the next 10 years.
It's debatable whether this is correct. What is known is that the telecom sector is gradually migrating toward VoIP. Many organizations have hopped on the bandwagon, and there are plenty of service providers who would love to have you as a customer.
This leaves business owners with the task of finding a dependable VoIP service that is cost-effective and suitable for their needs.
We'll walk you through the steps in this overview. Follow these to narrow down your choices and choose the best VoIP service provider.
The existing market and its prospects
It was approximately 1995 when we first heard about VoIP. For years, commercial adoption stood around 1%, but that changed when Skype debuted in 2003, making VoIP more accessible. Since then, the sector has been continually increasing.
VoIP has matured and is now transforming communication all over the world. The adoption of 5G networks, the expansion of the hybrid workplace, the advancement of VoIP features and the cost-effectiveness of VoIP are the main drivers of its growth.
VoIP's entire market value was forecast to be $69.3 billion in 2020 and it is expected to surpass $100 billion sometime between now and 2026. As more businesses consider remote work, a solution that allows distant employees to interact via smartphone applications will be required. According to analysts, this makes it more probable that most North American firms will use VoIP in some way.
Before you begin evaluating VoIP services, consider the following factors.
The first step in selecting a service is determining your requirements. So, before you start comparing services, take a moment to consider your requirements.
Does your company more commonly handle incoming or outgoing calls? What is the size of your business, and how many individuals will use the system at any given time? Will you primarily use VoIP for international or local calls?
You likely won't need all of the exciting features offered, so you'll need to figure out which elements are essential for your business and which are nice but not required. Videoconferencing? Yes, of course. Call management software? Yes, please. An extensive collection of waiting music? Most likely not.
When you've figured out what you need, combine it with these metrics to evaluate different VoIP services.
On-premises versus hosted/cloud-based
VoIP services are generally divided into two categories: hosted VoIP and on-premises VoIP. Choosing between the two is more than just a question of taste. Both sorts of services have advantages and disadvantages.
A hosted VoIP solution implies that your VoIP system is hosted in the cloud and your provider handles everything from setup to maintenance to service and equipment. There's no need to buy new gear or spend money.
It's all on you with on-premises VoIP: you're in charge of the complete system's installation, hosting and maintenance. Because you must buy all gear before implementation, the upfront investment is more significant, but monthly expenses are generally lower.
Downtime and security
Security is critical for any company, regardless of size. When you switch to VoIP for your conversations, you expose your sensitive data to a significant risk. This is especially true when using a cloud-based service.
Examine how the various providers manage authentication, encryption and data storage and who is accountable if something goes wrong. Is there a robust backup plan in place at the company? Do they provide service agreements or uptime guarantees? Downtime might result in a loss of money or, even worse, clients.
Don't forget to look into whether the supplier has a history of security issues. Look for reviews or testimonials to obtain a sense of the company's overall reputation.
Ensure that everything functions properly on your end as well. Make sure the existing IT infrastructure is up to date and secure.
Enterprise solution versus specialist
Consider what qualities you look for in a business service provider. Are you searching for a giant corporation or a smaller yet focused firm that understands you and has experience in your field?
Quality and dependability
You must select a service with sufficient capacity to avoid poor audio quality, data loss and outages. Consider a service with dedicated lines and transfer rates that are guaranteed.
The capacity to scale and adapt
The next point is scalability. As your company expands, so should your VoIP service. It should be simple to add or remove new endpoints with no downtime or additional fees.
The flexibility of VoIP over traditional landlines is one of its most significant advantages. Your communications should be more fluid and agile due to using VoIP. If that isn't the case, you should continue your search.
Customer assistance is sometimes forgotten, yet it is vital. You'll need excellent customer service if you're going to rely on VoIP for your communication needs.
Yes, VoIP is thought to be more secure than traditional telephones, but things will go wrong at some point. Your network will fail or someone will make a mistake. It's reassuring to know that your provider is looking out for you in these situations.
Most organizations migrate to VoIP for one reason: to save money. A VoIP system is a very cost-effective alternative for small and large enterprises alike.
VoIP may save up to 30% on traditional phone bills and teleconferencing costs and up to 40% on local calls and up to 90% on international calls.
But keep in mind that pricing isn't everything. Ensure that the cost does not come at the expense of security or other critical elements.
Custom apps and collaboration software
We now operate differently because of the pandemic. Perhaps this is only a blip on the radar, but there are more indicators that typical workplaces will shift to a hybrid work environment in which some workers work on-site while others work from home.
This stresses the need to use intelligent collaboration tools supported by your VoIP service. A rising remote workforce requires more device support. Most VoIP companies offer their own iOS and Android applications, but not all of them have the same features as the desktop version.
Integration of a third party
If your business already has a significant software and hardware stack, make sure it works with VoIP.