VoIP (Voice over IP), as many people already know, allows one to make and receive calls over the Internet. People and SMBs alike are interested in this technology to save money on long-distance phone calls as well as to replace an analog or legacy phone system.
The adoption of VoIP has become an alternative to landlines and cell phones not only for its cost-saving benefits on equipment and service plans, but also because it provides greater flexibility and functionality that might have been unavailable before. It can make communication more efficient, employees more productive and companies able to grow their business by leveraging on their customer relationship management (CRM).
The benefits of VoIP are many, especially for those in a mobile workforce where IP telephony offers solutions for voice and video communication anytime, anywhere.
Those interested in VoIP, regardless of their reason, have three options available to them: managed-VoIP services, hosted-VoIP services and on-premise VoIP systems.
1. Managed VoIP services – outsourced services where a third-party provider provides the equipment and software. Companies have the benefits of an on-premise VoIP solution, less having the need to “manage” the network IP-telephony application and platform.
2. Data-center-hosted VoIP services – also allows a company to utilize VoIP without needing to acquire the necessary hardware and software. However, unlike with managed VoIP, companies have to rely on a service provider’s hosted-PBX (Private Branch Exchange) equipment at the data center that is off-premises.
The third-party manages, controls, filters and routes calls to VoIP handsets or customer’s location via a public switched telephone network (PSTN) to an on-site IP router.
Compared to managed-VoIP services that have a fairly high cost of ownership, hosted VoIP is a cheaper solution as there is a sharing of the cost of the high-end infrastructure.
3. On-premise VoIP system – requires a company to purchase its own VoIP PBX system, equipment and software rather than to rely on services from a VoIP communication service provider.
While both the hosted and managed VoIP services offer faster system deployment and lower up-front costs, there are reoccurring fees, so a one-time investment of an on-premise VoIP system may outweigh long-term costs. In contrast, the total cost of ownership becomes higher when needing to upgrade the software or perform maintenance in house; therefore, it may not be as cost-effective or suitable for some. Compared to hosted and managed VoIP services, instead, there are no technology hassles and headaches to worry about.
After reading about the three VoIP solutions, hopefully, one can decide which VoIP solution works best. Whether one’s choice is managed or hosted VoIP or an owned IP PBX system is the preference, VoIP migration can enhance the company’s functionality.