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Business VoIP Or Landline?
Organizations for enterprise phone communication systems are faced with the choice of selecting between traditional landlines or modern VoIP service. Some companies have to decide between the two when their current PBX system reaches its end of life.
Sometimes a growing business that has so far managed with a couple of landlines, will feel the need to expand and upgrade to an enterprise class phone system. Yet other companies may be trying to decide if VoIP is worth upgrading even if their current equipment is functioning well.
Regardless of the exact circumstances, most businesses want to choose the best possible alternative that is both inexpensive and offers both the necessary and ‘nice to have’ features in one package.
So is it better to go for VoIP or landline?
The Pros of Landline Phones
Selecting the traditional PBX can seem like a no-brainer option for some businesses for a variety of reasons. Employees are familiar with the technology and there is no need to train them on new software or hardware.
Even if the PBX system has to be upgraded, the company can continue to use the same desk phones without much change. It means there will not be too many extra costs in terms of training employees or buying new office phones.
In addition, landline phones are reliable and often just work. Landlines continue to function even if there is no power or in the middle of a disaster/emergency. They do not rely on batteries and are powered by the phone cable itself. On top of that, landlines are still the best method of contacting 911 in case of general emergencies such as fire.
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Nevertheless many organizations find that they cannot rely on landlines in today’s modern, digital business environment. Landlines do not offer flexibility and are generally incompatible with modern data networks.
This means that the enterprise phone system has to be managed completely separately from the company data network. It can lead to increased costs over the long-term when it comes to hiring employees capable of running the system, as fewer people have the requisite expertise nowadays.
The Pros and Cons of VoIP
In direct contrast to landline phones, VoIP technology has its roots in the IT community rather than the traditional telecom industry. It is a modern method of transferring voice calls over data networks that is both inexpensive and very efficient in terms of bandwidth.
Organizations using VoIP find that their call costs decrease dramatically, especially if they regularly make a large number of international calls. If a company has several offices scattered throughout the country or even the world, inter-office calls between employees effectively become free. Such tremendous cost savings are a powerful benefit of switching to VoIP.
Thanks to hosted VoIP services, getting started with VoIP may not be expensive at all. In fact by doing away with any and all capital investments, it allows firms to reliably forecast their monthly and annual expenses related to phone communications.
Since voice calls use the same networks as other data – documents, images, video etc. – there is no need to maintain two separate and distinct networks. The IT department can manage the VoIP system, reducing the need for additional personnel.
Even the business model for VoIP service providers is completely different. Organizations are not forced to sign multi-year contracts – whether for service or ongoing maintenance.
They can sign up for a monthly subscription model or pay annually for a reasonable discount. In addition, VoIP providers offer scalability i.e. the organization can easily add resources (numbers, lines, devices) as and when required instead of having to wait days or months for provisioning new lines.
The same holds true in reverse as well, sometimes an organization goes through lean times and they can simply reduce the number of users.
In addition to ease-of-use and flexibility, VoIP offers many advanced features that are simply not available on landline such as visual voicemail, interoperability with enterprise software like Salesforce, advanced call routing options etc.
Organizations that offer flexible work options to their employees such as telecommuting or part-time work will find that VoIP will accommodate their needs better.
Though incompatibility with 911 services used to be a formidable obstacle, VoIP vendors now offer the equivalent E911 capabilities. Businesses are also realizing the need for power and adding the VoIP equipment to their existing backup systems.
VoIP or Landline?
For organizations that still have functioning equipment, switching over to VoIP may be cost prohibitive if they already have a multiyear contract with their phone operator.
Even if it is possible to revoke the maintenance contract, it may be simpler to just wait until it ends eventually. Not all VoIP vendors offer faxing capabilities and organizations that still rely on fax extensively may want to continue with landlines, at least for sometime.
But at the end of the day, VoIP offers many more advantages to the average business at a fraction of the cost when compared to landlines. It is time for organizations to upgrade the communication systems to match their digital footprint in other areas.