Should I get an IP or Hosted phone system?
So you’re wondering whether you should get a VOIP telephone system. You say you’re also considering cloud-based? You’re wondering if either one is the right choice for you? Well, you’ve come to the right place. You see RCI sells those and traditional digital so we have no bias and no reason to sell you one over another. So, let’s talk. Let’s figure out if IP is right for you.
If you’re not entirely familiar with the terminology in this article, I’d like to refer you to our earlier VOIP FAQ blog post which geso into more detail about definitions and FAQs.. That will tell you all about the definitions necessary to make sense of the rest of this.
The first question you need to ask yourself is “What is my motivation for a change?” Are your phones worn out? Do you not like your current provider? Do you want lots of new features? Do you want to save money? Do you just enjoy acronyms and want more of them in your life?
VOIP can potentially help you with all of those depending on your situation. If you want something new, VOIP is one of many choices available to you. There are still digital systems with great new features too so it depends on the features you want. Saving money can be achieved with VOIP most of the time. Generally, if you are getting your lines individually from a phone company, VOIP is cheaper. Depending on the size of your system, a cloud-based VOIP system might be even better. It allows you to put less money down up front and pay a monthly fee to replace your phone bill. And yes, VOIP will help meet your acronym fix.
So why doesn’t everyone have VOIP?
Well, some people have concerns about quality and security. Some customers don’t live in places that offer high speed internet – absolutely essential to a VOIP system.
When it comes to security, the truth is there is always a risk. I can only speak for ESI when I say that it puts a lot of effort into making sure that their system is as a secure as possible. With a smaller vendor, you run more risk but as we’ve learned from the myriad hacks in the news, no matter how big a company is, nothing is fool-proof.
Quality and high-speed internet go hand in hand. If you don’t have the latter, you can’t have the former. Unfortunately, without high speed internet you really shouldn’t get VOIP. If you have high-speed, than you can be set up with a good system but the sound over the internet may still occasionally experience disruptions. It’s not as good as a phone line quality-wise but typically better than a cell phone. On the other hand, with so many phone companies sending their calls over the internet for at least a portion of their trip, it gets harder to draw clear quality distinctions.
The situations where I would not recommend VOIP or cloud are when customers don’t have a good high-speed internet connection or when they have a building with old cabling and don’t want to spend the money to have it recabled.
The opposite side of the coin are the customers who I would strongly recommend VOIP to. These are customers with a new or growing business and customers with multiple locations.
The benefits of VOIP (specifically Cloud-based VOIP) to a growing or new business is the low up front cost and the ability to add phones easily. Another benefit is that if the business moves, it’s easy to take the phones with you. New businesses also tend to have workers working from home more and are more likely to have new buildings with new cabling.
The benefit of VOIP to companies with multiple locations is the ability to share SIP trunks. Instead of 10 locations with 3 lines each for a total of 30 lines, the locations can pool their phone lines and have 20 lines altogether. Rarely do customers use their full capacity. Generally the lines are planned for a busiest case scenario and it is unlikely that all locations will be having a busiest-case scenario at once.
So should you get VOIP? It’s up to you. What do you value most from your phones? Regardless of what you choose, talk to a trustworthy company to help you with your decision, address your concerns and provide implementation. Make sure they meet your minimum service requirements. See VOIP FAQ. Might I recommend RCI?