If you’re looking into a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone system for your business as the alternative to your landline, then you may have come across various unfamiliar words, terms, acronyms and plenty of jargon during your search.
Unless you're an expert or have some experience in this department, then these terms can be rather overwhelming, it’s important to note that if you want to be able to make an informed decision on whether VoIP is right for you. It will be wise to familiarise yourself with at least a few of these terms. Thankfully, many of them are fairly straightforward and easy to remember.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Firstly, VoIP enables us to send and receive voice communications over the Internet. VoIP phones do not transmit calls through dedicated lines like traditional landline phones, this immediately makes VoIP much cheaper to own and run. Your voice conversation is sent over your broadband connection, and that's it, no extra pieces or parts to worry about.
Softphone usually refers to a piece of software on an internet-enabled device; your mobile phone, tablet or computer, that allows you to make and receive calls over the internet via your VoIP network. Provided you have a speaker and a microphone, this should work on any device connected to the Internet.
Bandwidth refers to data which is being carried over an internet connection, usually over a certain amount of time. Depending on your service, this is a major factor when it comes to the quality of your VoIP calls. Insufficient bandwidth may result in break-ups and dropped calls, which can happen during 'peak' hours when the bandwidth has to be shared around more users.
Unified Communications (UC) refers to the integration of your businesses communication tools into one product or service. This includes video, instant messaging, email, voice and fax for example. The aim of UC is to ensure the user has access to all the important tools they need, no matter what device they’re using. This means you will see streamlined communications and an increase in productivity overall.
Follow me (also known as 'Find Me') is an important element of internet telephony; it helps employees ensure they don’t miss important calls by passing the call onto another device in a sequential order upon missing the call. For example; If someone calls your office phone, and you're currently away from your desk, the call will be forwarded to your mobile phone and so on in a designated order. It means you should never miss a call again, no matter where you are.
Whilst learning these technical terms won't make you a VoIP expert overnight, you are now able to make some sort of educated decision on whether you think VoIP is right for you and your business. If you understand these terms you are well on your way to getting the most out of your VoIP service and ensuring you're getting the best value for money.