VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is quite simply a technology that transmits voice over an IP based network such as a company’s internal LAN (Local Area Network) or the Internet. VoIP is gaining in popularity due to a number of benefits it holds over traditional forms of communication such as ISDN and is already extensively utilised by many carriers in the core and backbone networks.
Telecoms through the ages
The invention of the telephone is widely disputed but Alexander Graham Bell was the first to be awarded a patent for the electric telephone by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in March 1876. Since then, the world has gotten smaller as our ability to connect even the remotest of locations to real-time communications has increased.
For businesses, having the ability to quickly and easily speak to customers, colleagues and suppliers has proven to be a defining edge. And as the technology has evolved, new innovations have improved productivity, reduced costs and streamlined many businesses.
A lot has changed in the time since Alexander Graham Bell said “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you,” on the first analogue telephone call. We can separate telecommunications into 3 ages: Analogue, Digital and IP.
The earliest telecommunications services relied upon analogue technology which used electrical pulses to convey people’s voices from one telephone receiver to another. Originally these were connected directly to each other in pairs which made it difficult to speak to more than a few people so the exchange was created that allowed the operator to connect anyone to another person. As the technology increased in popularity, numerous exchanges were built and innovation automated the process of connecting callers to each other.
Towards the latter stages of the 20th century, Fax and data services were becoming increasingly important to business users and the network was upgraded to include technologies such as ISDN and DSL. These digital services resulted in additional features being available to the business user such as Direct Dial and data services via the telephony network.
With the invention of IP networks, the technology was developed to transmit voice and Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP was born. Initially deployed as an internal solution whereby calls were transmitted throughout an office via the data network, VoIP quickly established itself as the communication protocol of choice for businesses who no longer needed to deploy and manage separate network technologies.
As the availability of quality connectivity grew, VoIP became an increasingly popular technology for external communications too. SIP (session Initiation Protocol) trunks have largely replaced ISDN lines for new installations and Hosted Telephony started to replace on-premise telephone exchange systems.
The benefits of VoIP for Business
VoIP is the latest evolution of telecommunications and has been adopted by all the major carriers in the core network already. BT have already announced that ISDN services within the UK will cease by 2025 so everyone will need to start using a VoIP based service by this time if they want to continue to access features such as DDI numbers. There are even countries that have stopped supplying out-dated services such as ISDN in favour of VoIP. And most new telephone systems use VoIP technology on the internal LAN, even if they break out to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network – see glossary) via ISDN. So why is VoIP proving so popular with customers and carriers alike?
- Cost – VoIP provides a lower cost alternative to the traditional networks such as ISDN. Call costs for businesses systems are substantially lower and so are the monthly rental charges.
- Scalability – As VoIP doesn’t require a physical channel for each concurrent call but rather just bandwidth on an ethernet connection it is much easier and cheaper to deploy and grow as required.
- Flexibility – For multi-site organisations all internal phones can be on the same network, so calls between sites within the organisation are potentially toll free. This also means that calls can be transferred between sites as if they were in the same office even though they could be in different countries
- Portability – Gone are the days where simply moving offices meant a costly and problematic change of number or expensive call diversion. With VoIP, just like your mobile, you take the number with you.
- Resilience – Disaster recovery is fast and cost effective. Simply log on to a portal and your calls can easily be re-routed to another office, user or device.
- Enhanced Features – Video and Audio conference calling are much easier and cheaper to deploy and manage.
- Integration – As voice has become just another application on the network the ability to fully integrate with other business applications such as CRM systems become easier and more cost effective.
- Mobility as standard – Work is now what you do rather than where you go and VoIP has enabled the development of mobility tools that allow people to be connected to the company phone system wherever they are. Whether using a Desktop, laptop or mobile device if you want workforce mobility, with VoIP there’s an App for that.
VoIP really has become the standard as far as business communications is concerned and with the above feature list it’s not difficult to see why. To find out more as to how Securus can help you make the most of VoIP complete the form below and we’ll be in touch.