If you’re still trying to find a VoIP solution, the following VoIP comparison of the most popular options should help to put things into a clearer perspective.
- Productivity increases.
- Increased efficiency/cost savings.
- Unparalleled features that are not available with traditional phones.
- Increased flexibility, convenience and mobility.
- VoIP provides remote operation, voicemail, call waiting, call forwarding and toll-free numbers.
- The convenience of seamless voicemail to email transcription so you can forget about taking notes.
- VoIP provides the capacity to smoothly integrate an analog door phone and the convenience and security of two-way calls with visitors. In addition, this gives you and your staff the ability to use a phone to unlock the door and allow or decline visitor access. This feature is valuable under any circumstances, and especially in situations at night with limited staff.
- Your company can select a customized Music On Hold feature.
- The call routing feature can make you look like a major VIP. The system, named Find me/Follow me, gives you the convenience of creating your personal list of reach numbers at locations where you might be found before the call goes to voicemail. You make the location decisions for the system to try whether it’s your personal cell phone, home office, or other locations. You also select the number of rings for each different location. If the system is unsuccessful in finding you and the list is exhausted, the call is sent to voicemail.
Hosted, On-Premise, or Hybrid?
When evaluating migrating to VoIP, many firms question whether they should implement a cloud-based, on-premise or a hybrid phone solution. This is a valid question and the first step in the VoIP comparison process is through assessment process including the following:
- Examine the firm’s existing infrastructure.
- Expansion plans
- Current/future business needs like the estimated time frame for the conversion, strategic objectives and budgets.
- Estimated bandwidth and structured cabling requirements.
- Identify criteria for VoIP solutions, security, disaster planning/recovery, and redundancy.
- The total number of peak time users in all locations plus temporary/seasonal workers.
- Existing network capacity, contracts, and telecom assets.
- Select a team leader and team of highly professional and intelligent employees. Each department should be represented on the team including top/middle management, accounting, marketing, sales, IT, inventory management, security, etc.
VoIP Comparison: Hybrid
A hybrid VoIP option allows firms to migrate to VoIP and still retain their existing TDM PBX, wiring, handsets and cable with the addition of a VoIP gateway where VoIP devices can be connected to existing lines and handsets. Hybrid version #2 involves some components hosted by the provider while others are on-premise.
VoIP Comparison On-Premise VoIP
With this solution, all equipment and IP phones are installed on-premise and connected to your LAN. Firms own, administer and maintain all IP PBX equipment, software, devices, and records. There is tighter update control, security, and tighter reaction time with problems and outages. Firms can develop customized applications and system specs.
The challenges with an on-premises VoIP solution, include a significant one-time capital outlay with recurring maintenance and upgrade costs on an as-needed basis. These systems may also require long periods of time for complex implementation compared to hosted solutions. With firms facing a limited IT staff, this presents problems. Other costs include additional licenses, upgrades, hardware replacements, annual maintenance costs, redundancy, downtime and power costs.
VoIP Comparison: Hosted
The majority of the equipment is owned by the data center service provider with a hosted VoIP solution. Most firms only need to have an integrated access device (IAD) on-premise. Service access is available from anywhere with an Internet connection. Customers enjoy very feasible up-front costs, along with web-based administration features, 24/7 service providers monitoring, and the ability to combine voice and data traffic on the same network for reduced network costs. The downside involves loss of control over your data, voicemail, records, etc., since they reside on the provider’s external server. With the lack of power and internet access, your local system may go down.