VoIP Benefits over PSTNPosted on: 2016-04-04 | Categories: VoIP Services
Industry experts have long prophesied that VoIP will replace PSTN in both consumer and enterprise segments. VoIP adoption has grown steadily and is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Even as some businesses continue to debate the wisdom of moving to VoIP versus staying on the PSTN, the time is fast approaching when the choice may be taken out of their hands.
Most major telecom operators in countries like the US, UK and other industrialized nations are already preparing to move their entire network over to VoIP technology. By 2020, it is likely that the backbone of major carriers will utilize VoIP rather than circuit switching technology which means that businesses will no longer be able to purchase PSTN lines even if they wanted to.
The benefits of VoIP over PSTN are very real but for someone who is unfamiliar with the technology, the advantageous may appear dubious at best. It is even more of a dilemma for businesses whose existing infrastructure is working and is estimated to last for several more years.
PSTN works, so why switch?
There are many businesses who continue to use their existing PSTN phones as they always have. It still works reliably – even during times of emergencies when there is no power. All the employees already know how to make and receive calls and to use some of the advanced enterprise features available on business lines.
For such a company, upgrading to VoIP may appear to be more trouble than it’s worth. No matter how quick the transition is, it will involve some disruption of workflows. Any new technology would require considerable investment and purchasing licenses, hardware and other equipment. To top it all off, employees would need training to use the new system and productivity is likely to drop before going up again – if it ever does.
The reality of upgrading to VoIP
The bleak picture painted above is what many businesses continue to think is involved in a transition to VoIP. But the actual reality is completely different. The upgrade to VoIP requires less time and money than practically any other enterprise technology. Depending on the size of the business, it can take as little as a few hours to get started!
With hosted VoIP being the more dominant business model, there is very little initial investment required apart from the need to purchase VoIP phones and maybe upgrade some network equipment (all of which can be done for a few hundreds of dollars). Since the actual process of making a call is no different via VoIP, users do not have to be retrained. Once the system has been set up, anyone can simply pick up the phone and call as usual.
Yes, it does take some time for employees to become familiar with the more advanced functionality such as find me follow me, automatic voicemail transcription and digital faxing. But all this can be learned as they go along and most vendors offer seminars, databases, manuals and user guides to help. Within no time you may notice that productivity and collaboration has skyrocketed.
VoIP benefits over PSTN
The most concrete benefit of VoIP that is immediately visible is the cost savings. The savings come from many areas – inexpensive monthly/annual plans, extremely low international calling rates, free calls between employees, no maintenance contracts, no need to budget for periodic upgrades to PBX equipment etc. Apart from that, employees who previously used to take care of the phone system can be assigned to other work that is more valuable to the business.
Scale up or down
Another advantage of VoIP is scalability. What exactly does that mean? It means that any business only has to pay for the resources that they use – not of anymore and not a penny less. Most organizations are used to paying the same amount regardless of actual network usage or volume of calls. If the business grows, they have to pay more but they don’t receive any discount if they make fewer calls.
With VoIP, that is no longer the case. If your company needs more lines or numbers, they can be provisioned immediately through the web dashboard. Conversely, resources can be removed from your calling plan ensuring you don’t have to pay for lines and numbers that are not being used. Scaling up or down takes only a few hours, allowing businesses to match demand with supply more accurately.
Manage a single IP network
Even if a company does not switch to VoIP, they still need a data network and Internet for email, messaging, document sharing and collaboration purposes. This means they have to maintain two different networks for communication at all times – both PSTN and IP. It means twice as many contracts, vendors, upgrade cycles and equipment. VoIP brings voice communication over to the IP network enabling consolidation and convergence. If something goes wrong, there is only one network to troubleshoot. There is just one bill to manage and fewer vendors to deal with.
Free value-added features
Quite a few features that are charged for by traditional phone operators are available for free on VoIP. Yet other features are simply impossible on PSTN – the older technology does not support that use. For instance many vendors offer automatic and real-time audio transcription, unlimited data backup for voicemail and other features that eliminate much of the hassle for clients.
The question of upgrading to VoIP is increasingly revolving around when, rather than if. Companies that are upgrading to VoIP now can do so at their own pace at present rather than being forced into a decision by changes in the external environment.