A Crash Course in VoIP for Small Business Owners

A Crash Course in VoIP for Small Business Owners

Starting a business on the Isle of Man is easier than ever. It’s thanks to programmes such as the Government’s commitment to encouraging local business growth, one being the Department for Enterprise’s Micro Business Scheme.

There is a climate of entrepreneurship on the Island with statistics showing that 2,145 new companies were registered in 2017.

Any business, new or established, requires reliable technology to work productively. But, if you are new to the game, you might feel overwhelmed with the options and unsure of where to start – or what you need.

One technology that businesses of all sizes and in all sectors are adopting now is VoIP (Voice over IP).

The way we see it, those of us working in the communications industry have a responsibility to explain your VoIP options to you. In this article, we are going to give you a crash-course in VoIP – explaining exactly what it is and how it can benefit your business.

What Is VoIP and What’s So Great About It?

In short, VoIP is internet telephony. Like WhatsApp and Skype calls, a VoIP phone makes and receives calls via the internet rather than the analogue Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) – or the traditional telephone network.

Why is this desirable?

Well, for many reasons, including:

  • Reduced call costs (especially if a business frequently makes international calls).
  • Ability to record calls (essential for small businesses in particular sectors, particularly legal  and financial).
  • Simple and singular communications services (one solution for voice, email, SMS, chat and other communication      methods).
  • Reduced infrastructure and maintenance costs
  • Access to a host of enterprise features including all features of a traditional PBX, but also collaboration tools, softphones, reporting and analytics and instant disaster recovery.
  • Increased business flexibility Employees can make and receive calls anywhere at any time using a simple mobile/PC application (softphone), providing a suitable internet connection is available; the business has unlimited room for growth by improving the number of in/outbound lines.

But there’s another reason. The world is changing, and the PSTN is an old network. Even though it was a major innovation in its early days, much of the work it does is done more efficiently over the internet.

Today there are two global communications networks – the PSTN and the internet. This is not efficient, and so telecoms operators are moving toward one system. That system is the internet.

In fact, in the UK, BT has announced that it will be closing the PSTN by 2025 and will switch to a single IP network.

As with anything, there were teething with internet telephony in its earlier years – poor audio quality, calls cutting out, jittering, etc.  These are now a rarity due to the advances made in global connectivity; Internet speeds around the world have increased dramatically since the invention of VoIP, and they will continue to do so. This means that internet telephony is now a more than viable option for businesses.

However, consumer VoIP services such as WhatsApp and personal Skype aren’t really suitable for business use. So, what is?

Hosted Phone Systems

A VOIP based hosted phone system is a PBX that is delivered via the cloud i.e. over a network of remote servers used to store, manage and process data.

This means that, instead of investing in the costly on-site equipment required to build and operate your own telephony system, another company hosts it remotely as a service – either via the PSTN or over the internet (or using a combination of both).

Your provider will be responsible for handling call routing (also known as switching) and for maintaining all hardware and software. This minimises internal workloads and frees up staff to focus on priority projects.

Cloud phone systems are ideal for businesses that want to avoid high cost installation and maintenance contacts, build flexibility into their business and give their staff the freedom to work remotely.

Hosted phone systems also give businesses access to a wide range of features, including collaboration tools, softphones, mobile clients, wireless services, contact centre, plus all the standard features of an onsite telephone system or PBX – call forwarding, voice mail, speed dialling, call recording, conference calling, call reporting and more.

Migrating: It’s Really Not That Bad (We Promise)

We understand your concerns about migrating to a VoIP system. Wi-Manx aims to prioritise our customers’ needs, working to ensure that very minimal disruption occurs during the installation process. We offer fast installation times, quick migration turnaround periods and a truly consultative approach.  Existing Manx PSTN numbers can convert from any provider to a Wi-Manx VoIP number within as little time as 48 hours.

Unfortunately, the communications industry isn’t always the easiest to navigate, and can appear complex and difficult to understand. That’s why, working with you, we will ensure that you get a solution that works for your business, that it’s delivered quickly and efficiently and that you receive expert support once you’re up and running.

It’s important that you have confidence that your hosted phone solution is robust, resilient and gets results. That’s why our technical support teams and dedicated account managers offer guaranteed industry-leading SLAs and fault management. This means that, in the unlikely event that you experience a problem, it’s fixed quickly and efficiently – allowing your business to carry on operating at its best.