A Comprehensive Guide to the Pros & Cons of VoIP
Telephony is changing, but it’s for the better. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is becoming more widely adopted in both large and small businesses, with the power to make calls through an internet connection seen as a massive step in the evolution of business communications.
It’s a rapidly expanding market estimated to be worth more than $100 billion worldwide by 2026. With the PSTN Switch Off in the UK edging closer and closer (it’ll be gone by 2025), moving away from the copper wire network is a necessary step for any business.
As with any major decision, business leaders need to know the advantages and disadvantages of investing in a VoIP phone system. Bringing in a whole new communication infrastructure will have a massive impact on the business and how employees work and collaborate with one another.
Regardless of your business size, knowing the pros and cons of VoIP will be pivotal when deciding on how much of a difference the latest innovation in telephony can make.
The Advantages of VoIP
VoIP is a cost-effective way to communicate
It turns out that relying on an internet connection to make voice calls is far more cost-effective than landlines. Costs can be reduced by as much as 90%, which can be pivotal for startups and smaller businesses that have to contend with budget restrictions.
These savings can be direct, such as having no on-premises hardware that requires maintenance, and indirect, including the money saved from people commuting to work since businesses can rely on video calls.
Indeed, international calls are cheaper to make and receive, meaning work can go global without the dread of facing a hefty phone bill.
Effective hybrid working models VoIP phone systems are also cloud-based, allowing businesses to collaborate from anywhere.
With 44% of workers opting for either home or hybrid working, there is a greater need to satisfy the expectations and needs of those who opt to work remotely. Employees have greater accessibility and flexibility with VoIP, as their VoIP numbers can be used from anywhere through softphones and other mobile devices. When it comes to resources, all that’s needed is a strong internet connection.
Future-proof comms with an adaptable and scalable solution
Regarding resources, VoIP systems are versatile and scalable when businesses start to grow. Adding and removing users doesn’t require significant hardware changes since there isn’t any hardware to begin with! Spikes in demand can be met with ease, and expansion doesn’t cause a massive drain on resources or overall productivity. Businesses are future-proofed and prepared for any significant changes in the field of telecommunications, primarily the PSTN Switch Off. Built-in redundancy and disaster recovery capabilities also give an added layer of business continuity in the case of unforeseen events. Investing in VoIP means telephony is modern and doesn’t risk becoming redundant, safeguarding the interests of the business at large.
Advanced, user-friendly features VoIP also has plenty of advanced functionalities that put it at the forefront of communication technology.
Call management and the ability to hold high-quality video conference calls, to name a few, give customers and employees an enhanced experience when communicating. Platforms are user-friendly and don’t require long and tedious training sessions to understand how each application works fully. The more time saved on getting up to speed, the more productive and efficient employees can be!
Implementing a brand-new communication system always brings in security concerns, especially when businesses must stay in line with laws and regulations regarding data privacy, including HIPAA and GDPR. However, as IP technology has evolved and improved, advancements such as encryption, improved identity management, and Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) mean that VoIP is just as secure as traditional landlines. Live notifications and reporting also add that extra level of security for businesses, both large and small.
Collaborating and multitasking have always been challenging.
With a VoIP phone system at hand, businesses are set to succeed in the digital-first future that is on the horizon. Sending files while enjoying a high-quality call opens up a whole new way to collaborate and multitask, especially when platforms are brought together to allow information to be found and shared more easily. Streamlined processes, which are strengthened by advanced decision-making, provide a more substantial base to build a better relationship with customers and establish a whole new level of trust.
So, that’s what VoIP can bring to a business. There’s a lot that VoIP can offer businesses of various sizes, and it is undoubtedly an exciting time to be thinking about migrating to a VoIP phone system. However, when presenting the advantages of VoIP, it is appropriate to raise the downsides of VoIP to understand what this latest step in telephony entails.
The disadvantages of VoIP
Reliance on an Internet Connection
A digital-first future brings plenty of exciting steps forward. However, even though VoIP helps free employees from being tethered to their desk phones, an internet connection is still needed for it to work. VoIP cannot function and unleash its full potential and power without a reliable network with the appropriate bandwidth. A significant disruption in connectivity that takes a considerable amount of time to fix leads to further havoc for business continuity, leading to frustrated staff and disgruntled customers who can’t get in touch. Considering more than 60% of customers take their business elsewhere after a poor experience, keeping customers on your side is more important than ever.
Latency and jitter
Low-quality internet can also translate into low-quality calls, with the prospect of latency and jitter hanging over VoIP phone systems. Latency is defined as the ‘lag time’ between when the data packets are sent and when they arrive, meaning that a jammed ‘internet highway’ causes call quality to drop significantly. A misassembled sequence of data packets creates jitter, resulting in calls that cannot be deciphered or interpreted. Again, the reliance on a stable internet connection can cause some drawbacks for VoIP, especially when quality comes into question. It’s best to aim for a latency of 200ms or below to ensure that employees aren’t subject to this delay in data transfer.
Shortcomings during an emergency
Mobility is a strong advantage for VoIP, but when someone needs to make an emergency call, problems can arise. Landline calls made it simple for emergency services to trace the source of a call. Still, it’s difficult to pinpoint the call’s origin since VoIP calls come from an IP address, and these VoIP numbers aren’t associated with a particular broadcasting tower.
Moreover, a power outage renders VoIP inoperable, which is never ideal in an emergency, so businesses without a backup power supply cannot make any call. Copper-wired phones, meanwhile, would still be able to function.
Handling external security threats
We’ve already mentioned the positive aspects of VoIP security, but the reliability of a constant online connection does open security risks. Vishing, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), and call tampering are all various methods that hackers and other hostile parties can deploy to steal critical business information. Security concerns should always be taken seriously, even if the bonus of end-to-end encryption and other security measures gives VoIP an added layer of security. Just like with any piece of software, there are disadvantages to keep.
In summary, VoIP presents significant advantages for businesses of all sizes, offering cost savings, flexibility, scalability, advanced features, and enhanced security. However, it also comes with challenges, including reliance on a stable internet connection, potential call quality issues, emergency handling concerns, and security threats.
When considering VoIP adoption, it’s essential for business leaders to evaluate their specific needs and invest in a robust network infrastructure to support this technology. Finding the right VoIP solution tailored to your business can drive success and growth, fostering closer collaboration and an enhanced customer experience.
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