Voice Over IP (VoIP) Demystified
Like all technology, business telephone systems have evolved radically over the 20 years. Especially in the last two years! Now, many phone systems run through internet and server-based protocols that connect a company’s entire communications operation to the Internet. Many businesses have significantly reduced their reliance on traditional business phones by using these new high tech options that enable employees to work anywhere, from almost any device, just as if they were in the office.
The advancements in telecommunications come primarily on the back of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) which replaces phone wires with data connections and translates the analog signal into a digital format that can be sent anywhere in the world without going through the phone company or even traditional phone lines.
Flexibility with a Smaller Investment
VoIP’s accessibility and low cost have offered solutions of all kinds to businesses, and it has reduced the expense that comes with continually updating phone hardware and maintaining large numbers of analog phone lines. Before, each employee had to have an individual phone line that would connect to a landline extension in order to have calls routed to them from a receptionist or interactive voice response system. Now, the extension numbers can be sent to any location regardless whether the number is connected to a landline, a mobile phone or pc-based softphone.
How VoIP Works
VoIP’s functionality comes from the technological evolution of phone usage. VoIP connections use Broadband Internet’s ability to transmit large amounts of data quickly. Conversation during a VoIP phone call is translated into a digital sound file that gets momentarily recorded and compressed. These “packets” of data are then transmitted over the Internet to the recipient’s end where they are decompressed and listened to. The response then goes through the same process of recording, compression, transmission, decompression and delivery.
Rather than recording every bit of input, VoIP connections only absorb enough to preserve the integrity of the content. They do not waste temporary storage on dead air or white noise. The importance of that function is that it reduces the amount of information to be transmitted and helps ensure that there is no latency due to the file size of the packets.
In essence, VoIP works by transmitting sound “packets” between two ends, but only actively sending information when there is something of value to be sent. File size is reduced by selecting smaller amounts of data as well as compressing the data that is used during transmission. The smaller file sizes preserve the integrity of the sound and allow VoIP connections to remain as active and cohesive as an analog line. The connections often offer similar or substantially more features for a much lower price than a traditional phone line for local calls.
No More Long Distance
VoIP’s Internet-based functionality means that long-distance services often don’t cost anything additional for users, and many companies include international long distance into the calling plans that they offer. The cost to businesses for making calls has gone down substantially as multinational companies no longer have to foot the bill for interoffice calls and conferences from across the world.
An often unknown element of landline calls, however, is that most phone companies transfer the analog calls to long distance servers that are run through VoIP programs. This greatly cuts down on their costs and reduces the amount of infrastructure necessary to get calls across the country, ocean or world.
Telecommuting Made Easy
VoIP has opened up possibilities for flexibility in business and telecommuting. Before, accessing a work phone line meant sitting behind a desk, answering calls and listening to voicemails. IP phones are accessible anywhere in the world. Calls can be directed to a home office phone and operate as if they are another node on the network. Voicemails and messages can often be forwarded right to a smart phone or email address.
The IP Evolution
VoIP is not new. It has been an idea, a technology and a concept that has taken nearly two decades to realize its full potential. It has come and gone and returned with new excitement as other technological advancements have thrust it giant steps forward in its evolution as a reliable, accepted, and oftentimes, preferred communications platform.
Companies like Zultys are revolutionizing the idea of the “office space” by utilizing VoIP technology in both premises, virtual and hosted telecommunications systems that offer powerful capabilities, enabling your employees to truly work anywhere!