The Voice over IP (VoIP) subcategory deals with platforms specifically designed to provide calls over the Internet. Communication globalized the way we do business and connect with people. Being able to get in touch with friends and co-workers regardless of their location should be a priority. VoIP solutions found their way into sales management and customer satisfaction segments as they provide an efficient way of calling people without worrying about the location and additional operating costs. Read the full software guide...
Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, software solutions enable users to conduct communications via the internet in the form of data packets, as opposed to traditional business phone systems that are run off of a landline.
There are a range of software variations and uses within the VoIP software sector, such as computer-to-computer, computer-to-telephone, a dedicated VoIP phone, and a traditional phone integrating a VoIP adapter.
The key advantage to VoIP software is that it does not incur any bills beyond what you pay for internet access and the particular software solution being used for communications. As such, computer-to-computer calls are often free of charge and computer-to-telephone calls (especially regarding international connections) are significantly cheaper than their traditional landline counterparts.
To meet the wide range of demands of the modern communications landscape, various different types of VoIP software solutions exist.
This form of VoIP software is the most closely related to a traditional phone line. Integrated access VoIP software solutions are deployed as integrations to existing telephone systems within a business.
The core infrastructural benefit lies in the business being able to keep their existing telephone equipment, including their phone numbers, while still gaining the benefits that VoIP software solutions offer.
Session Initial Protocol, or SIP, solutions are capable of transferring both voice and video data across a public switched telephone network (PSTN). A trunk is a method of allowing a system to provide network access to multiple users at the same time while sharing the same set of lines, as opposed to providing each line individually. This offers more communications flexibility, especially as the existing, traditional phone systems a business owns can be integrated with a software solution to take advantage of SIP trunking via VoIP gateways.
IP PBX (Private Branch Exchange) VoIP software refers to in-house office phone systems. In such a system, all office phones are connected to a centralized router which (as with SIP Trunks) also issues trunks to the PSTN. This allows for the routing of all internal calls without needing them to be directly connected to the PSTN, significantly reducing operational costs (especially for businesses utilising numerous connections).
It is delivered in two iterations: hosted IP PBX and managed IP PBX. Managed IP PBX is the closest to SIP Trunks of the two types. However, the main difference lies in the provider managing all technology and charges for the service, while the business only needs to manage the equipment they receive.
Hosted IP PBX, on the other hand, works similarly to managed IP PBX but is even easier to get set up as the provider also manages all equipment and hosts the service using cloud-based systems.
Naturally, one of the first things you want to consider when choosing a VoIP software solution is what features does it come with. Will it serve all of your needs? What about your future needs, therefore, how well does it scale? With technology constantly improving and evolving there a range of features to look out for. Here are some of the key functionalities to keep in mind when comparing VoIP solutions:
Another important consideration to make is whether you want to outsource IT systems with a hosted cloud-based VoIP provider, as opposed to personally hosting it in-house. As broadband increasingly becomes faster, more businesses are opting for a cloud-based VoIP solution to minimize the maintenance costs of managing the infrastructure an internal phone system demands. What’s more, it allows for IT professionals to do all of the micromanaging, thus allowing you to focus more on your business and it's operations.
It is vital to ensure that your internet service provider (ISP) provides sufficient bandwidth for all of your VoIP needs. This is because bandwidth directly affects call quality. Therefore, it is worth considering whether a particular solution offers the capability to prioritize bandwidth usage so that calls are classified as being more important than other network uses—especially non-real-time network demands.
Another crucial aspect to consider when choosing a VoIP solution is what are the existing security measures that both the solution and your business have in place. Considering private, critical business data is being communicated, it is important to ensure it is all encrypted. This can be both done by the VoIP software solution, as well as having a virtual private network (VPN) to protect you. Even with a VPN, you should make sure that all wireless connections are protected at the source—the router.
Modernize Operations – Implementing a VoIP software will enhance the flexibility of your communications with a range of real-time features, including messaging, video conferencing, and collaboration. This ensures that regardless of whether internally or externally, the communications process will be streamlined.
Backup Connection – Inherently, a digital system is easier to back up than a physical one. No simple way exists to get a backup for external telephone lines if they go down, however, should you have any issue with your internet service, there are various other providers able to deliver a service. However, it is still important to have a backup plan for if the internet connection ever goes down.
Cost Efficiency – The range of plans offered by VoIP providers, especially those with multiple tiers, are usually more competitive in terms of pricing than traditional telephone providers. Furthermore, the ability to outsource hardware requirements with a cloud-based service significantly saves money on infrastructural requirements.
Scalability – A VoIP system is much easier to upgrade than a traditional phone system. This is because, without the concerns of managing and maintaining a physical infrastructure, the digital system can easily be scaled and updated.
|2-Factor Authentication||Adds an additional layer of security by requiring an extra step in the login process. Usually external devices are required for this or a text message with a verification code is sent to the user when trying to login.|
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|Audio Recording||Electronic recording of sound.|
|Auto Dialer||An autodialer automatically dials telephone numbers to either play a recorded message or connect the call to a live person.|
|Automatic Call Distribution||A telephony device that manages the answering and distribution of incoming calls.|
|Call Disposition||Track the result of calls within call center software.|
|Call Logging||Collect, evaluate and report on analytical data about telephone calls.|
|Call Monitoring||Allows managers to listen in to calls in order to improve agent performance.|
|Call Recording||Record telephone calls and other audio sources.|
|Call Scripting||A preprepared set of discussion points.|
|Call Tracking||Track which of your online and offline marketing efforts are successfully generating calls.|
|Chat||Live text chat with customers, website visitors, mobile contacts and others.|
|Click-to-Dial||Dial telephone numbers with one click.|
|Contact Management||Manage large amounts of personal or business contacts in a centralized system.|
|Contact Sharing||Share contacts across teams or platforms to give access to others or to migrate address books across different systems.|
|CRM Integration||This indicates whether integrations with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software are supported by a software application.|
|Dashboard||Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|Data Visualization||Data visualization features render a visual interpretation of data sets through the use of charts, infographics and other visual cues generally in form of a reporting dashboard.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|File Transfer||Transfer large files to colleagues, customers or other stakeholders. This is often used for files too large to transfer via email and other conventional transmission methods.|
|Hardware Integration||You can add peripheral devices such as printers, POS systems, and scanners.|
|Interactive Voice Response||Allows a computer to interact with callers, gather information and route calls.|
|Mobile App||Give users access to the application via mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices besides desktop computers.|
|Multi-User||Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.|
|Notifications||Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.|
|Report & Compliance||Attain tailored reports and checklists.|
|Scheduling||Schedule tasks, resources, appointments, payments, communications, etc.|
|SMS||Short Message Service, also known as text messages are supported with this feature.|
|Softphone||Similarly to VOIP, Softphone features allow you to make calls via the internet.|
|Video||Support for video elements and other moving picture graphics.|
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