Gaining momentum in the South African market place, VoIP is a telecommunication technology which offers business owners a cheap and effective way in which to communicate, along with a wealth of features for added convenience and mobility.
How does it work? Instead of using the existing telephone lines in a building, a business can push all of voice, teleconferencing, and video traffic through the Internet.
In place of a traditional telephone call which maintains a persistent connection between two parties along a telephone line, VoIP breaks each employee’s voice stream into packets, compresses them, and sends them over the Internet to their destination. The VoIP service will then un-compress them, put them back into order, and reconvert them into voice for the other party to hear.
The recipient of the call doesn’t have to have a VoIP connection, it is simply routed to the telephone exchange that is closest to the recipient and the call is completed normally. This can make calls to locations around the world possible for a standard rate instead of premiums, and allows service providers to offer flat-rate monthly fees regardless of the local or long-distance service that is actually used.
The usual business-phone features are available on VoIP: voicemail, caller ID, conferencing (including videoconferencing), and call forwarding.
Since a broadband internet connection such as a cable, satellite, or DSL connection is used as the medium of transferring the call digitally over the internet, the system will require adequate bandwidth, which VoIP service providers can advise business owners on regarding the specified requirements.
VoIP technology is especially beneficial for those companies looking to expand networks into Africa because they are free to make as many long distance calls as is needed without racking up hefty phone bills which can be a huge cost consideration, especially within a business’s sales environment.
Says Rick Crouch, regional director of Atlantic Telecom Systems (KZN): “VoIP can reduce your business costs in several ways: First, it frees your business from ever having to install new phone lines. VoIP services provide equipment that hooks directly into your existing broadband network. You can even arrange for us to install the necessary hardware in your telecommuting employees’ homes.”
Another advantage is the money that can be saved with sales reps and mobile workers who telecommute. Softphones can be used so calls can be received on mobile devices. All it requires is a softphone app which can be downloaded to iPhones, Blackberry and Androids, giving workers access to all the features needed to effectively run a business.
Says Crouch: “Because VoIP software can also be loaded onto mobile devices, your employees are always connected and reachable from a “work” line, even when they’re physically away from the office. “
And there is no need for concern regarding security either, VoIP can operate through an encrypted VPN connection for increase security
According to Crouch, Atlantic Telecom Systems (KZN) takes responsibility for the complete system from and including the Telkom lines.
“You have one national number to call and Atlantic Telecom Systems (KZN) takes care of the fault, which reduces costs and downtime (since you don’t have to wait for a telco truck to show up if the service does happen to go down). That frees you up to concentrate on the business you are in business for.”
Managing business overheads are an important part of managing a company’s bottom line. Business VoIP can cut communication costs significantly at the same time gaining ground for business mobility.