WITH the rapid advancement in technology, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) needs to be a serious consideration when investing in office telephony. This technology allows users to reduce telephone costs, usually by over 50%.
In this technologically advanced business era, we can safely assume you have bumped into the term VoIP. You may understand it having something to do with the internet and telephony systems. It can also be associated further with organisational cost control and flexible device capabilities for employees although most potential buyers shun the “too technical” terms. We have seen it fit to simplify VoIP and its capabilities, benefits, coupled with a practical set-up illustration.
VoIP is a disruptive technology that has rapidly gained traction against the traditional telephone. VoIP is also known as internet telephony.
Internet telephony involves sending of voice, fax and SMS using the internet as the transport mechanism. Internet telephony differs from traditional telephony which uses PSTN (landlines) and GSM (cellular). Landlines and cellphones use dedicated amounts of bandwidth to complete calls. TelOne, in our instance, is the PSTN operator and Econet, NetOne and Telecel are the three licenced GSM operators. Telco, Africom, PowerTel and ZOL are some of the licenced VoIP operators in Zimbabwe. This means these companies can offer voice services using the internet.
So why VoIP?
The fact that you can carry voice calls over any IP networks implies drastic ability and capacity to cut calling costs. Computer applications like Skype, among others, use the same principle.
VoIP removes the distance element when making calls. Limited long-distance calls are coming to an inevitable end. This is obviously the case as seen when using cellphones that charge you the same amount for calls to any part of Zimbabwe, regardless of where you are calling from. VoIP is already doing that. You can call someone in the United Kingdom as if you were in the UK. Even better still, you can make free calls to those on the same VoIP network with you anywhere in the world with a decent internet connection.
In this context, VoIP is used on private networks which may have a connection to the global telephony network. This is a direct threat to traditional telephone providers and an evitable scenario as the world gets connected via satellite, fibre optics, wireless, copper, making it truly a global village.
Call handling management
You will have complete control over how calls go in and out of the system. Route calls to different teams. Provide automated menus. Deal with calls for staff who are busy or unavailable. Forward out-of-hours calls to voicemail and mobiles. Whatever behaviour of call handling your customers need, you will be able to provide it.
Mobility and portability
Incoming calls can ring at the same time for both employee mobile and desk phone and easier accessibility to e-mails via any softphone device becomes a breeze for on-the-move field employees like sales representatives. Bandwidth assignment capabilities come into play also by ensuring that high quality voice packets are transmitted.
VoIP gateways can be easily installed to ensure voice calls are transformed to internet protocol packets, hence eliminating the need to completely remove already existing private automatic branch exchange (PABX) infrastructure.
Say you own a manufacturing company called Standard Global Communications based in Harare and you have offices in Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo, Victoria Falls and you have a warehouse in Beitbridge.
Using VoIP, you can interconnect all office locations, hence making calls from head office in Harare to Bulawayo or any other office, literally free of charge. You can interconnect all these offices to the IP network, preferably using fibre optics which will not only bring VoIP, but also internet and video conferencing.
Once deployed, your VoIP system, made up of an IP-PABX, IP phones, routers and switches, can slash the cost of making calls drastically. Your sales agent in Harare simply dials an extension to get hold of a stores clerk at the border in Beitbridge or other branch!
The good news is that Zimbabwe now has a robust fibre optic infrastructure. The fibre optic carries data at the speed of light. Secondly, fibre has higher carrying capacity than both wireless and copper technologies. This guarantees faster internet speeds and more reliable connectivity. At the centre of your VoIP deployment is a PABX, which is basically a call routing systems. Migrate to VoIP and save thousands of dollars on business calls!
This article is published by Standard Global Communications (SGC). The company has been deploying telecoms and electronic security solutions in Zimbabwe for over 20 years. SGC offers free consultation, designs, deploys and provides after-sales support. Our flexible and scalable solutions help reduce telephone costs, while increasing operational efficiency at an affordable cost. For inquiries or more information, questions and comments on this article, please call +263 242 790 791-5, Cell +263 772 875 577, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or visit www.standardglobal.co.zw if you wish to download this article.