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Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is a Cloud service that uses the Internet to make calls. VoIP software first appeared in 1995 after the advent of the Internet brought an opportunity for the communications sector to innovate beyond analogue transmission. VoIP Phone communications worked well provided both the caller and receiver used the same software.The sound quality was poor, and there were periods of silence and lost connections, but they had to start somewhere.

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The idea of achieving superior sound quality at a lower cost was too appealing, so equipment manufacturers and telecommunications specialists started adding IP (Internet Protocol) capabilities to their switches in 1998 and eventually developed software that allowed them to add VoIP adaptors to phones.

Fast forward to 2017: Cloud services today

Internet connectivity has vastly improved since the 90s. According to a paper done by Internet Society, “in Africa, despite a slow start, Internet use is now rapidly accelerating, and its transformative effects are increasingly accessible”. If we continue to improve our Internet connectivity and strive to ensure everyone in South Africa has access to the Internet, then we can expand network coverage so that small businesses have access to unlimited resources and knowledge, and can use Cloud services to increase their brand presence and grow exponentially.

How VoIP helps you do just that

Everyone emphasises the fact that switching to VoIP will lower your monthly call bill, but we also want to highlight that using VoIP will improve your business in the following ways:

  • VoIP helps extend your business beyond the four walls of your main office. Employees that don’t work in the head office will still be connected to the company’s communication system. If someone phones the Cape Town office seeking an employee that works in the Durban office, all they have to do is redirect the call to their extension

  • Since you’re using Cloud services to make calls, you won’t have to worry about maintaining landline hardware

  • VoIP binds your communications system because it consolidates many locations into a single concentrated network, adding to the manageability and productivity of your business. Speaking of productivity, teams not in the same physical location can collaborate better over the phone thanks to call conferencing

  • VoIP includes other features such as basic IVR (interactive voice response), ring groups, voicemail to email and call waiting, all of which are thoroughly explained in our VoIP infographic

By making use of VoIP for your business, you’ll experience a decrease in network operating costs regarding maintenance because your voice and data will be on the same network. This setup gives you the opportunity to manage your network capacity effectively. The same control used to monitor your data use can be extended to your voice usage.

If you’re considering swapping your ageing legacy phone for a VoIP system, then you’re one step closer to creating a Cloud-based virtual office and with it, the benefits of saving a considerable amount of money on operating and maintenance costs.