1 VoIP for the Smll Business Reducing your telecommunictions costs Reserch firm IDC 1 hs estimted tht VoIP system cn reduce telephony-relted expenses by 30%. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) hs become vible solution for even the smllest of compnies s brodbnd internet ccess hs become ffordble nd much more widespred. VoIP offers low cost lterntive to expensive trditionl phone services, nd is rpidly becoming the communictions system of choice to reduce telecommunictions costs. Hosted VoIP services re lso gining populrity mong smller compnies since these services do not require ny investment in hrdwre. Your Rising Telecommunictions Costs TechAdvisory.org SME Reports sponsored by As smll business owner, you re under constnt pressure to control your costs. You my hve employees who work from home or who re mobile, such s slespeople, who mke high number of long-distnce clls. As your business grows, your monthly phone bill likewise increses, so you need to look for new but effective wys to minimize your telecommunictions costs. COMPU-101 proctively hndles everything complete in-house IT deprtment would hndle, for frction of the cost of hiring even one full-time employee. We mintin your network nd keep your technology running smoothly for price you cn relly fford, which keeps both your IT budget nd your business under control. If you re redy to end network downtime nd computer problems once nd for ll, we hve the solution. Until recently, smll businesses hd no other rel lterntive to Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). However, tody technology clled Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) hs become vible solution for even smll compnies since brodbnd internet ccess hs become more ffordble nd populr mong smll businesses. VoIP is revolutionry technology tht provides inexpensive voice communictions nd cn reduce your telecommunictions costs. Reserch firm IDC 1 hs estimted tht VoIP system cn reduce telephony-relted expenses by 30%. 1 IDC White Pper (2006), VoIP: Delivering the Competitive Advntge, 1
2 VoIP for the Smll Business Wht is VoIP?...The good news is tht there re plenty of innovtive VoIP compnies redy to help. They rnge from voice-over-brodbnd nd SIP-trunking providers to vendors of IP PBXes tht work with such SIP trunks. Though they typiclly ren t bignme providers with huge support orgniztions, the sophisticted services they offer t lest im to mke the smll businesses tht use them seem bigger. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), lso clled IP telephony, is the technology tht llows you to mke voice clls vi the internet insted of trditionl phone lines. You cn mke clls using dil up connection or brodbnd connection (however, brodbnd connection is necessry for superior voice qulity). PUBLIC TELEPHONE NETWORK (PSTN) Internet Office IP Phone Internet Connection Office Office Robert Poe VoIP News Types of VoIP Services Free VoIP services There re mny free VoIP services tht llow you to mke free computerto-computer clls. These services re minly designed for individul use, nd include such services s Yhoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, nd Google Tlk. They provide you with instnt messging tools nd lso llow simple videoconferencing. Skype is one of the most populr VoIP service providers, nd most of its services re free. Skype llows you to mke free Skype-to-Skype clls, video clls, nd conference clls, nd lso provides n instnt messenger tool. These free services work well for stying in touch with fmily nd friends, but my not provide you with the voice qulity nd relibility needed for your professionl ongoing business needs. 2
3 VoIP for the Smll Business Business VoIP services These services re specificlly intended for business use, offering the qulity of services required by professionls, nd consequently re not free. Compnies offering business VoIP services include Pcket8, Spekesy, Voclocity, Covd, nd Vonge, one of the top leders in internet telephony. Vonge offers smll business VoIP plns nd chrges low, flt monthly fee for llowing you to mke ntionl nd interntionl clls. Skype lso hs pln for business users which llows you to mke unlimited phone clls (to lndline or cell phone) within the U.S.A nd to Cnd for very low flt monthly fee. There re mny such options in VoIP service providers offering flt monthly fee from which to choose the best one to suit your requirements. How cn VoIP Sve You Money? VoIP offers mny benefits nd useful fetures over trditionl telephony. The most significnt benefit is tht it sves your business money by reducing your phone bills, through network convergence, nd by providing you with mny useful fetures t no dditionl chrges. Lower costs VoIP phone services re cheper thn trditionl telephone services. If your business is mking frequent long distnce clls, then VoIP cn drmticlly reduce your phone bills s mny VoIP service providers will llow you to mke unlimited long distnce clls t very low flt monthly fee. For instnce, if your stff is using conventionl telephone services to mke sles clls, your monthly telephone bill is probbly hundreds of dollrs per month. In contrst, if you choose to use VoIP phone service such s Vonge for your business, you get unlimited locl nd long distnce business clling within the United Sttes nd Cnd for flt monthly fee of $49.99 per line. Interntionl clls re chrged t very nominl rte. If you re clling nother Vonge number then the cll is free, even if it is n interntionl cll. 3
4 VoIP for the Smll Business...VoIP phone services re cheper thn trditionl telephone services. If your business is mking frequent long distnce clls, then VoIP cn drmticlly reduce your phone bills s mny VoIP service providers will llow you to mke unlimited long distnce clls t very low flt monthly fee. No dditionl chrges for specil fetures Almost ll of the VoIP service providers offer mny useful fetures free of cost, s these services re bundled with VoIP service. For instnce, with Vonge VoIP, services such s dedicted fx line, voicemil, cller disply, cll diversion, cll witing, nd 3-wy conferencing re free. Svings on dds, moves, nd chnges As your business grows, mny new employees my be dded to your compny, nd over time some of your existing employees my leve the compny. With trditionl phone system, dding new phone line or chnging n existing line is n expensive nd very time consuming job, often requiring the services of n expert who chrges per service cll. VoIP is very suitble for your growing business needs s dds, moves, nd chnges re very esy to perform yourself vi Web-bsed control pnel. VoIP increses your employees productivity VoIP provides you with severl lrge, enterprise-level communictions cpbilities, such s uto-ttendnt (nswering system) nd find/follow fetures. Until now, these cpbilities were very expensive nd were only possible through Privte Brnch Exchnge (PBX) telephony systems. However, with tody s VoIP solution, your smll business cn hve ccess to these dvnced cpbilities. For instnce, your compny cn hve ccess to find/follow feture tht permits rerouting of clls utomticlly to employees wherever they re locted. With this fcility your employees cn choose to hve clls follow them from trditionl desk phone to their cell phone or even to their e-mil boxes. No need for seprte networks With VoIP, you do not need to mintin seprte networks for voice nd dt. You cn converge both networks into single network, mking the overll mngement quite simple. 4
5 VoIP for the Smll Business Hosted VoIP vs. Premises-Bsed Key Benefits of Hosted VoIP You hve two options vilble to you: you cn mnge your VoIP system in-house, or you cn opt for hosted VoIP services. In premisesbsed model, ll hrdwre relted to the IP phone system will reside t your compny s site. You will purchse, instll, nd mintin ll the equipment, nd you will need in-house expertise to operte the system. Premises-bsed systems re complex to instll nd mintin. In ddition, you must invest money in equipment. In contrst to premises-bsed system, hosted VoIP solutions involve no upfront costs. All the equipment is mnged off-premises by service provider, nd there is no physicl hrdwre onsite to mintin. The service provider mintins nd supports the equipment, nd you get the services for flt monthly fee. Smll compnies re quickly dopting the hosted Voice over IP (VoIP) model s it is the more relible nd cost effective solution. You get services t flt monthly expenses bsed on the number of lines nd fetures. A leding consulting firm, AMI Prtners2, which forecsts trends mong smll nd medium businesses, predicted tht hosted VoIP spending will grow t compounded nnul growth rte (CAGR) of 56.9% between 2005 nd 2010, nd most of this growth will come from the smll business segment (compnies with up to 99 employees), which will grow t spectculr 69% on cumultive bsis for the next 5 yers. Conclusions nd Recommendtions Until recently, smller compnies hve hd no rel lterntive to expensive conventionl phone systems. Now, s brodbnd internet ccess hs become ffordble even for smll businesses, VoIP is becoming cost-effective, feture-rich lterntive to trditionl phone systems. Smll compnies re quickly dopting hosted VoIP solutions to lower their telecommuniction costs. 5
6 VoIP for the Smll Business Recommendtions Network ssessment is essentil to implement VoIP solutions effectively. Your network vendor cn do this for you. Microsoft lso offers VoIP products for smll business, such s Office Communictor nd Microsoft Response Point. A hosted VoIP solution is the best lterntive for you if you do not wnt to invest in equipment nd you do not hve dedicted IT stff to mnge the service in-house. VoIP phone services re ffected by power outges. Select your hosted VoIP service provider crefully. Ask them bout the bckup system in cse of power outge, nd whether they provide emergency cll service (Enhnced 911 service or E 911). Also sk vendors bout the fetures they offer, then select the vendor who provides you with the fetures tht best meet your requirements. Try to find vendor who provides roll to fetures. In cse you experience power filure in your office, your clls will utomticlly be forwrded to nother specified cell or lndline number. The service provider who offers the VoIP services on per-set bsis my prove to be more suitble s you will hve predictble monthly expenses. COMPU-101 Miling Address 8171 Yonge Street Suite 306 Thornhill, ON L3T 2C6 Phone: Fx: Emil: Web: 6
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