When businesses search for ways to save money or optimize their operations, they seldom think of overhauling their phone system. Companies don’t expect a hundred-year-old technology to have the potential for increased efficiency or competitive advantage. But Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a technology invented in 1994 and widely available since 2004, has been proven to save companies over 50% on their phone bill. For larger enterprises, VoIP also centralizes sprawling internal phone networks and integrates with company-wide records management and performance monitoring systems like CRMs.
As the name suggests, Voice over Internet Protocol allows people to have phone conversations over the Internet. VoIP also enables Internet-based faxing and texting. To call someone using VoIP, you need one of these three easily-obtainable devices or programs: 1) a specialized VoIP phone; 2) an analog telephone with a VoIP-compatible adapter; 3) VoIP software on a computer with a microphone, sound card, and speakers.
This fascinating article from HowStuffWorks.com describes exactly how VoIP improves on traditional phoning methods. The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) works by circuit switching, a method that establishes a continuous flow of information between two connections. Circuit switching doesn’t compress data and wastefully transmits even the silent portions of a conversation. Each minute of conversation delivered by PSTN equals 1 MB. Conversely, VoIP works by packet switching. In this method, connections exchange only relevant or audible data in small clumps or “packets,” reducing the size of the data of a conversation to about .5 MB per minute. VoIP packets can also choose the quickest or most convenient route among available networks, while by definition PSTN circuits retain their defined and occasionally slow or out-of-service routes.
The United States Social Security Administration, in one of the highest-profile VoIP deployments, initiated in 2008 a conversion of the 1,526 separate PSTN systems of each of its field offices into a consolidated 60,000-user capacity VoIP system. Not surprisingly, the SSA’s Telephone Systems Replacement Project will cost $300 million and take 10 years to implement. By 2009, the third of the system that had already been implemented had received 1.6 million calls. So far the system has lowered costs, increased managerial oversight of phone-based services, and standardized the type and quality of services offered to citizens.
SMBs that want to share the SSA’s benefits from an implementation of VoIP will of course not have to wait 10 years or pay $300 million. onthenetPhone’s VoIP services can be deployed within days; require the payment of only a low and flat monthly fee; and can be integrated with IronOrbit’s other cost-efficient and business-optimizing cloud-based solutions and services. Features of onthenetPhone include unlimited local, nationwide, and long-distance calling; voicemail and voicemail-to-email; menu systems; conference calls; on-hold music; echo cancellation; and time-based routing. As with all of our services, we supplement our VoIP deployments with 24x7x365 technical support from our knowledgeable, personable, and highly-experienced staff. With onthenetPhone, you can call anyone, anywhere, at any time, for as long or as many times as you like—all for a low, flat, monthly fee.