8 misunderstandings about VoIP

Often, companies that provide VoIP to businesses highlight only benefits while brushing over any downsides or caveats. Further adding to the confusion are the rapid changes in technology and delivery models, which mean that concerns that were true 5 years ago no longer appliy.

While VoIP for business systems are based on completely mature technology, and used by hundred of thousands of companies in developed economies, enterprise VoIP is still relatively new in Thailand, and business decision-makers and technology staff often suffer from a poor understanding about how they might benefit from a VoIP system, and what the costs and risks might be.

Here, we explore 8 common misconceptions surrounding VoIP, to help you make an informed decision.

1. VoIP is unreliable

Competent VoIP service providers understand how to control all aspects of the network that ensure the quality and reliability of the service. Progessional VoIP service providers must communicate this competency in their Service Level Agreements (SLAs), the customer service details and in other technical information such as network diagrams, redundancy provisions etc…

Naturally you need a reliable internet connection and reliable power for VoIP to work. But in the even that internet or power ever goes down, VoIP inbound calls can automatically be re-routed to your designated mobile numbers, thereby ensuring business continuity.

2. Poor sound quality

In fact, problems with sound quality can occur on any kind of phone line, especially with the widespread use of mobile phones. Many copper networks and analog exchanges in Thailand are dated and poor;y maintained. For VoIP, the underlying technologies have so developed in recent years that sound quality issues have become so small as to be nearly nonexistent.

Competent service providers will provide the right protocols, SIP trunk options and codecs to ensure HD sound quality. While bandwidth and QoS needs to be managed, in fact most VoIP calls today only require a bandwidth of 50kbps per call for HD call quality. That means a standard bandwidth internet package is often sufficient for normal businesses.

3. Installation & implementation is too difficult

Do you have an internet connection? Do you know how to plug in a phone? If the answer is yes to both questions, you shouldn’t have any problems to set up VoIP phones in your company. The more professional service providers deliver their phones pre-configured and ready to go, so once you plug the phones into the LAN ports, you should get a dial tone and be able to make calls immediately.

The ease of set-up and lack of technical complexity for the client is one of the beauties of the Telephony-as-a-Service (TaaS) delivery model.

4. Savings are misrepresented because monthly fees go up

Calculating the real return-on-investment (ROI) and Total-Cost-of-Ownership (TCO), including the real costs compared to non-VoIP telephone systems, can be a tricky task. Most VoIP managed service solutions follow an Opex model as opposed to a Capex model, i.e. you pay a monthly service fee + calling minutes instead of investing in technology, infrastructure, wiring, upgrades or in-house IT expertise.

The real savings really depends on a variety of factors such as the number of users, the numbers of office locations, how many minutes your organization calls each month, what features you need and what dollar-value you put on efficient calling, on customer experience, on not missing important calls, on happy clients, and the like.

Firstly, as a general guideline, toll-, mobile- and long-distance calls are significantly cheaper over the internet-based VoIP system. The greater your calling volume, the more you save.

Secondly, calls between extensions are branches are normally free, even across offices, cities or countries.

Thirdly, whereas with an on-premise PABX you need to have one installed for each office location, with VoIP there is no investment in technology. Adding new users or office locations won’t make additional investments necessary.

But of course there will be a monthly fee for the provision of service and features, on top of your costs for calling minutes. Considering the factors listed above will help you understand the real value and real costs better when comparing VoIP to a conventional system. Your trusted VoIP service provider should help you in this process.

5. VoIP generates value only to large enterprises

Enterprises that make a lot of calls, or with multiple office locations, will make an immediate return on investment. But many smaller businesses benefit equally: they no longer need to invest in expensive infrastructure & resources. Other small enterprises choose VoIP because of its easy scalability, flexibility and portability.

And the many powerful features and business tools in a modern VoIP solution help smaller businesses improve their brand image, drive productivity and make it easier to compete with industry giants.

Some VoIP providers even offer small business packages at more affordable rates, but with the same quality and many of the same features of their enterprise-grade packages.

6. Upgrades are too expensive

Flexibility and scalability (up as well as down) are some of the strongest advantages in a VoIP solution, and for the most part come at no additional cost or investment. And because the software and network is provided by the service provider, upgrades and improvements are included in the service fee and delivered mostly automatically, without disruption to the customer operation.

7. VoIP is less secure

Business VoIP is in fact safer than landline phones as it is less prone to security leaks than the conventional telephony. If you are a Thailand business, you must have noticed the bundles of spaghetti wires outside of buildings, going coming down the masts and going into the buildings into poorly maintained boxes…well, one of those spaghetti wires is your telephone line. Does that make you feel secure?

VoIP is transmitted over internet lines. Firstly, inside your company your internet exists behind a firewall. Outside the company, modern fiber networks used for internet usually run underground. And beyond that, most VoIP PBXs are stored in highly secure data centers or in the cloud.

Ultimately, however, the security of your VoIP is dependent upon the security of your company network. Fail to make the investment there and you may get problems.

8. VoIP isn’t that different from normal telephony

Because VoIP is based on digital data (1s and 0s), this data can be managed, routed, manipulated and distributed in every imaginable way…hence the many powerful call management features such as call forwarding, call recording, ring groups, call whispering, etc…

VoIP voice data can even be integrated seamlessly with a number of applications, features and functions not available for conventional landline telephony. Imagine making calls directly from your CRM, or seeing a history of phone calls made to an important client next to other business and contact data inside your contact management system.

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