Maximizing SMB IT Budgets with Advanced IP Communications Technology
If you’re a key IT decision maker in your organization, you likely want to maximize your IT budget by cutting costs and lowering expenses. If your company’s communication system operates on a network, one technology trend that can help you achieve this goal is making the shift to an IP-based telephony solution.
Compared to legacy phone systems, IP based systems provide smooth conversations in high-definition audio, easy operation with low power consumption, and reduced monthly telecom expenses. The following are a few strategies your organization should consider to make the most of IP communications technology and gain a greater return on your telephony investments.
In an increasingly data-driven and digital world, VoIP offers businesses the ability to integrate voice and data traffic onto one physical network, which is especially useful if your company has multiple offices in different locations and wants to avoid having to managing expensive, disparate private branch exchanges (PBX). Since VoIP works through the internet instead of the public switch telephone network (PSTN), it offers vast improvements in voice and data communication, as well as rich service features that include instant messaging, streaming, file transfer, fax over IP, video conferencing and online gaming.
If you’re planning on shifting to a digital solution, you should first invest in upgrading your company’s telephony hardware. SIP phones are a great place to begin and come in two form factors: hard or soft. “Hard” phones resemble traditional telephone hardware, either corded or cordless, except they function by transmitting data digitally over IP. Conversely, “soft” phones are software based and allow a computer to function as a phone via a headset, microphone and/or sound card. Deploying SIP phones will give your business the necessary tools to leverage a fuller, richer communication solution, with the ability to scale easily and add additional lines in the future cost effectively.
If your business utilizes a private branch exchange for multiple lines, you could also consider upgrading your private branch exchange to a SIP-enabled network communication server or IP PBX. An IP PBX includes advanced communication features such as integrated unified messaging with voicemail, email and fax, but also traditional PSTN-line integration so you can leverage existing investments in legacy phone systems and won’t need to change carriers. The server can be tailored to fit your business requirements, regardless of how small or large your business may be. Calls between branches, whether nationwide or localized, cost less and offer better quality and reliability. As an added feature, an IP PBX allows smart phone, tablet and mobile device integration with the network so you can stay connected regardless of location. This could prove especially helpful if your technology is integrated with security cameras over a network and can be used with a SIP phone toward access control.
Once your business has upgraded its telephony hardware, an added savings measure is to opt for SIP Trunking. A SIP trunk is a virtual, VoIP phone line that uses a broadband connection to transmit data and can save your business nearly half the cost of traditional telephone lines each month. With SIP Trunking, your business can forego the bundles of physical wires once needed to connect to the PSTN by utilizing a SIP Trunking service provider on the Internet.
In the event of a disaster, a SIP Trunking service allows for fast recovery using the IP network’s distributed architecture. If your business already owns a phone system but wishes to reduce monthly phone expenses, then SIP Trunking is your best option. The key benefit of SIP Trunking is the flexibility to add multiple lines to your organization, without the limited functionality and additional costs associated with phone companies and hardware.
With all of these technologies deployed, your business will begin to realize the benefits of IP communications technology. The convergence of data, voice and video onto a single network will enable progressive business gains and ensure your business has options beyond traditional telephony solutions. Many businesses that have shifted to IP-based communications systems are realizing significant savings in management, maintenance and ongoing costs. If you’re considering a digital telephony solution in the future, harnessing the power of VoIP, with SIP phones and an IP PBX, is the best way to begin.