Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is becoming critical in the modern business world and increasingly, businesses and individuals are making the switch to VoIP. Desktop VoIP phones and traditional phones may appear identical, but the simplest VoIP phone may be viewed as a computer. It offers a more dynamic approach to business communication than traditional analogue telephone lines.
Unlike using analogue signals, with the proper applications, VoIP phones use the Internet to send digital packets and can interact with computer systems. This enables businesses to implement a unified communication system which simplifies seamless, single platform contact and collaboration. A unified communication system allows businesses to manage traditional phones, soft phones, and smart phones on one platform.
The challenges of VoIP
A 2019 Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey found that companies using VoIP can save 45 percent a month over traditional phone services and nearly 50,000 hours in productivity per year. Although VoIP may be tantamount to increased efficiency, challenges include system capacity and broadband availability, packet loss, network latency, jitter, echo, security, and a growing demand for unified and seamless communication. Unified communication (UC) offers solutions to the need for integrated business communication platforms.
With the advancement of information and communications technologies, traditional forms of communication have converged into what is now known as Unified Communications. Unified communications systems are undoubtedly transforming the way businesses of all sizes function. In the ‘new normal’ workplace with the proliferation of trends such as the gig economy, work from home (WFH), and bring your own device (BYOD), such a unified platform is critical to the continued success of most businesses UC engenders seamless incorporation of real-time communications like VoIP with asynchronous communication like email and SMS.
UC delivers an interconnected system of enterprise devices and software solutions and includes a suite of technologies that provide a unified user experience as communication is directed seamlessly through the UC platform. Features may include the following:
- Voice PBX.
- Contact centre technology.
- Web, audio, and video conferencing.
- Real-time messaging for collaboration.
- Broadcasting and webinars.
- Voicemail and call recording.
- File and screen sharing.
- Presence and schedule management.
Businesses everywhere need a reliable environment where they can merge all their communication functions into one central space. The seamless transmission of digital data from device to device means greater flexibility which enables employees to accept and make phone calls from locations other than workstations.
User-facing tools of a UC system simplifies virtual meeting spaces with interactive whiteboards for collaboration, and synchronous presence systems, multiple text-based tools such as social media, chat, and email, and voice-based applications like telephony and voicemail.
Time and technology have changed the consumer telephony landscape, and the digital age spawned sophisticated consumers who are accustomed to heightened interactivity and instant gratification. UC platforms provide a broader range of ways in which to communicate with these customers. The reliance on phone conversations or email threads hampers interactivity and proper engagement. UC streamlines a workforce and enables quicker response-times, enhancing performance and customer experiences. In addition to increased engagement, UC facilitates the personalisation of communication experiences for both customers and employees through customised dashboards and interfaces.
Presence technology allows employees to determine who is available on what device without leaving their desks. Telephony systems contain contacts of all employees and clients, thus reducing time wasted on searching for phone numbers or email addresses. They can also use screen pops to capture caller information and verify customers faster.
Unified Communications and the VoIP industry
Unified communication (UC) is enhancing the cost and time efficiencies created by VoIP. However, when combined with unintegrated channels, savings are outweighed by the cost of employees’ time, lost leads, and dissatisfied customers. UC, devices are synchronised, and communication becomes a seamless effort. VoIP reduces the cost of customer contact and improves call speed in consumer-facing enterprises.
With a UC approach to customer service, employees can address issues and questions wherever they occur and reduce call handling time through more efficient techniques.
UC is not replacing VoIP; it is changing it by adding more features and possibilities than could have been anticipated years ago.