It’s amazing to think that 30-40 years ago, businesses relied mainly on a traditional phone service with a long distance option and the postal service to conduct all affairs. As I sit at my desk now, within reach of a multi-line phone and my computer, I wonder how I would be able to get my work done should any of my equipment break down. The recent addition of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology stands to make my job easier and hopefully allow me to better communicate with clients. VOIP modernizes the office while also bringing a sense of simplicity that helps improve my productivity.
Where I once had a network cable and a phone cable running down from my desk, a single VOIP cable now converges both. This transition leave all telecommunications at my station running over a single wire and creating a simplified administration. Before VOIP the network cable ran to a network switch while the voice cable was connected to a PBX. The new system gives me one cable to my desk from a network switch, which goes into a phone system. With most systems like this, the phone station is typically a Linux-based computer.
Therefore, the network switch is also the phone system, the voice mail, and the network in the improved office. The “phone,” therefore, can extend to anywhere I have an Internet connection, depending on the connectivity available to me. If I wished, and if the company installing the IT system gave us the option, I could have a “soft phone” that plugs into my laptop and allows me to take the “phone” with me when I leave the office. For people who travel for work, or take it home with them, this is definitely a big selling point.
What’s more, everything has centralized administration. This system can control the whole telecommunications environment from one pane of glass. Wireless is supported by these systems as well.
Another plus to VOIP technology is the voice mail to e-mail feature, which is essential if your office needs to contact you in case of emergency. As you receive new voice messages, your e-mail is alerted. Depending on the system you use, you can click on the e-mail to hear the message, or else have the message transcribed.
In terms of business telecommunications, we have definitely come a long way. Voice Over Internet Protocol technology allows me improved communications with clients and potential clients and brings me closer to my industry.
Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on Hampton Roads VOIP consulting and Virginia Beach VOIP consulting.