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Using VoIP and Other Communication Services to Expand Your Businesses

23 January 2014. The progress made in the Information Age offers a treasure trove of digital solutions that have made administrative processes easier and more efficient than had ever been imagined.


While jetpacks and flying cars are still not as prevalent in society as once had been assumed, the ability for businesses to communicate instantly with parties all over the world isn’t just possible, it’s easily available. And it’s cheap.


Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


What is VoIP?


Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a lot less pretentious than it sounds. Using what is called packet-switched telephony, VoIP calls travel to their respective destination using an array of individual network “packets,” using the internet. Each packet takes it’s own route to a final destination, where they assemble in the correct order so that the recipient of the call can comprehend whatever is on the other end.


This process needs to take place in a specific, narrow time window. In order to get the packets where they need to be (as quickly as possible), VoIP programs use different encoding and compression technologies, to diminish the size of the individual packets, making them smaller and easier to transmit around the world.


Conversely, regular phone calls using Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) uses circuit-switched telephony. Channels are created between two different points for as long as the parties are connected. As opposed to VoIP, where data is transferred over the internet, PSTN uses old-fashioned, copper wires to carry analog data between the channels.


Why should your business take advantage?


Not surprisingly, many small businesses do not take advantage of VoIP technologies. Part of the reason why all businesses don’t use VoIP plans for all of their communications is because it almost sounds too good to be true. In a sense, it’s a matter of “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?” People are comfortable with their PSTN phone systems because that is what they are most familiar with.


With high-speed internet easily-available, and most VoIP providers requiring no additional hardware to use, VoIP is the phone system of the future. People don’t like dialing complicated international phone numbers. For companies that want to increase their market presence to new locations, setting-up a local number in that location is absolutely necessary. In the past, the way to do this was to open a new office in that location. However, VoIP allows companies to create a presence in a new location, without having to actually be there.


What does this do for business? It allows a company to incorporate international sales into their business plan, without the costs and pitfalls of setting-up a location in a foreign country. A local phone number, forwarded to a centralized location, means a company can establish legitimacy in a market that they never would have considered before. For all the callers know, they’re dialing a local company.


VoIP Alternatives


For all VoIP systems can do for a small business, there are alternatives. Services like magicJack to connect a small USB device to their computer, and essentially turn their computer into a telephone. Google Voice allows users to register a unique phone number, and then buy bundles of minutes, also turning a computer into a telephone.


However, alternatives like magicJack and Google Voice are not telecommunication administration systems, meaning they provide a phone line, but none of the perks associated with actual administration systems. While Google Voice and magicJack allow users to make phone calls, it’s a bare-bones option to purchasing the administrative services of a designated telecommunications system.


Business VoIP services cost exponentially less than traditional phone services, especially considering the demand a particular company may have in regards to additional phone numbers and extensions. Account management and call forwarding can be managed more efficiently thanks to online control panels, while still reaching an extended, spread-out target audience.


VoIP systems make call management and administration easy and efficient. In-network calls travel over a data network, making calls to employees in different states, provinces or countries free.


The quality of calls doesn’t suffer just be calls are traveling over the web to far-flung locations. The tools made available with each account mean that communication isn’t just a necessity: it becomes a tool used to build a business and increase sales, no matter the location.


Nick Rojas is an enthusiastic writer in business communications and globalization, who often contributes to the blog on 1800-number.com. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of technology and how it can improve business communications on global level.