What is VoIP (voice over internet protocol)?

Save money on business calls

VoIP is not a commonly understood term, and people often get confused when they hear it. So, what is VoIP? VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.

It is making phone calls using an internet connection rather than a mobile or landline network.

Since VoIP is more efficient than regular telephony, it consumes lesser resources and thus costs less. VoIP is useful in making long distance calls and for high-quality video conferences as well.

With adequate internet data and high-speed connections, you can make audio/video calls using VoIP without paying in terms of the distance or call durations.

Not just for the big guys

One of the many misconceptions around VoIP is that it is suitable only for big businesses or tech giants. Absolutely NOT.

VoIP offers huge benefits for any level of business, but before we discuss them, let’s understand what VoIP is in detail.

Related: 5 surprising ways you’re ruining your workday productivity

3 ways to make VoIP calls

Interested in switching to VoIP for your business? There are three ways to make VoIP calls.

  1. With a landline phone and VoIP adapter.
  2. With a computer, Wi-Fi and VoIP app.
  3. With a smartphone, Wi-Fi and VoIP app.

Whatever option you use, you’ll reduce charges for minutes and long-distance.

Equipment and applications needed to make VoIP calls

The most important thing for making VoIP calls is a high-speed internet connection. For the best experience, you should go with the fibreoptic ethernet connections that are available with internet providers.

 What is VoIP Router with Coloured Plugs
A fast internet connection is the most important requirement for VoIP calls.

There are three different ways to make VoIP calls. Each has different resource requirements:

1. With a landline phone and VoIP adapter

You need special adapters that fit into your landline phones or routers for making the VoIP calls.

2. With a computer, Wi-Fi and VoIP app

You need a PC connected with Wi-Fi along with an app for making the VoIP calls. There are several popular apps that provide a good call experience:

  • Skype
  • Google Voice
  • Facebook Messenger

Making calls from the app to another person on the app is free, but making calls from a web app to a phone number might incur a fee.

3. With a smartphone, Wi-Fi and VoIP app

You need a smartphone, Wi-Fi and an installed app on the phone to make the VoIP calls. Again, there are several apps — WhatsApp, Skype, Apple FaceTime — that make voice calling easier to another person on the same app.

If you are facing some issues with VoIP call quality, a slow connection might not always be the reason. The more number of employees you have on a call, the higher the bandwidth needs to be to handle VoIP calls.

6 major benefits of VoIP for businesses

There are many good reasons to use VoIP for business. Here are just six of them.

Cost effective

VoIP significantly reduces your telecom expenses, especially if your work requires international calling. You can have unlimited audio and video teleconferences with your clients and business partners without worrying about the hefty telecom bills.

What is VoIP Bookkeeper with Bills and Calculato
The biggest benefit of using VoIP is the cost savings for small businesses.

When you can’t put a number on the interactions between the offshore and in-house teams, VoIP relatively saves a lot of money. VoIP-enabled businesses always encourage their employees to call and resolve customer queries rather than frowning on the monthly telecom bills.

Portability

VoIP system relies on a stable and fast internet connection. As long as your PC or mobile devices are connected with the internet, you can use VoIP communication anywhere in the world.

Your clients and partners can contact you anywhere either on PC or on mobile.

 

It gives your employees the freedom to move around client offices or work from home while staying connected at the same time.

Multi-functionality

VoIP is the future of communications and offers several features to enhance the productivity of a business. With latest apps, you can get several other features apart from calls such as:

  • Chatting
  • Teleconferencing
  • Video conferencing
  • Receiving voice mail and faxes in the email inbox
  • Call forwarding
  • Sending documents/attachments

The VoIP space is heating up — expect even more features in future.

Security

VoIP has standardized encryption and is much more secure than your regular phone connection. Secure phone connections are a requirement for businesses dealing with confidential data. Professionally installed VoIP networks are highly secured.

Call recording

VoIP also offers call-recording facilities wherein you can store the call’s data in a database for future reference. The recorded calls can be analysed for quality purpose or for retrieving other important information for business intelligence.

Recorded calls can also help you in getting the answers to important questions such as:

  • At what time of the day customers are calling the most
  • What is the average duration of the calls
  • How many calls a particular agent is handling

Be sure to add “this call may be recorded” message to your greeting if you use this feature.

Automated assistance

With VoIP, you can easily set up automated messages for the customers, or you can also answer their most frequently asked questions in an automated manner. This feature is really helpful when your customers call you after hours to get some critical information about their accounts.

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VoIP in India — is it legal?

There is a lot of confusion over the usage of VoIP in India, whether it is legal or not. As per the “Recommendations on Regulatory framework for Internet Telephony” released by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on October 24, 2017, it is legal to use VoIP communications through apps on your PC or smartphone or through VoIP-adapted phones.

For businesses in India, it is completely legal to use VoIP communication services.

What you cannot do in India is set up VoIP gateways that convert the VoIP call to a plain old telephone service (POTS) or a regular phone call.

What is VoIP? A smart business choice

What is VoIP Team Fist Bump
VoIP frees you and your team to work anywhere in the world.

VoIP is the future of communications and provides several unparalleled benefits to small businesses including:

  • Cost savings
  • Portability
  • Feature-rich apps

It is absolutely legal to use VoIP for making calls, and businesses should empower their employees by setting up a professional VoIP infrastructure for running their business more efficiently.

Shweta Saxena
Shweta is a freelance content writer and strategist. She loves helping new startups and small businesses create their content marketing strategy and write their blogs. As the founder of Exploring Startups, Shweta helps startups by sharing useful tips and inspirational startup stories. She also gives writing and blogging tips on her new blog, Up The Reach. The faucet of her creativity never turns off. When she is not reading or writing, you can see her playing the piano, sketching someone or practising her favourite classical dance, Kathak. Connect with Shweta on LinkedIn or Facebook.