The world of business is truly global. And this demands a global approach to communications. This new reality is why more companies than ever before are turning to VoIP phones to stay connected with customers, staff, and suppliers anywhere in the world.
Not surprisingly, 90 percent of IT leaders project that they will cease purchasing on-premise communication systems altogether by the end of 2021. Knowing this trend, here is an overview of what you need to know before making the leap to VoIP.
Overview of VoIP Phone Brands
At their most basic, VoIP phone systems convert an audio signal to digital data. A traditional analogue phone can act as a VoIP home phone, for instance, when connected to a VoIP adapter, or you can purchase phones of all types designed to send and receive digital data over the internet.
As you might expect, there are numerous brands of VoIP phones available, so here is a quick list of the key players and what they offer. In alphabetical order, the most common brands are:
Avaya offers a full range of desktop phones, conference phones, and accessories like wireless headsets. Available across the UK from a variety of authorised channel partners.
BroadSoft is a subsidiary of Cisco that focuses more on the VoIP infrastructure than the hardware side of communications. Their primary offering includes the UC-One suite of business phones.
Cisco is an integrated Internet of Things (IoT) provider, offering its 7800 and 8800 series VoIP phones in various styles and with a full catalogue of available features.
Gigaset focuses on the wireless VoIP phone with over 20 models available and a full range of features and functionality. They also offer one traditional desk phone for people looking for a more traditional VoIP business phone.
Grandstream offers a complete catalogue of options, from basic to carrier-grade VoIP phones, a branded softphone application, wireless models, and extension modules for routing and controlling VoIP systems.
IBM is a familiar name worldwide with its IoT solutions and offers full-service, unified VoIP systems that can handle any size of communication needs.
Pexip for Microsoft specialises in VoIP video conferencing technology for organisations of all sizes. Not surprisingly, it integrates smoothly with other Microsoft products and applications.
Polycom carries a full range of VoIP options, with a particular focus on the super-functional VoIP business phone and media desk phones with large colour touchscreens.
Snom offers a variety of VoIP desk phones, a full catalogue of accessories, and several video-conferencing packages.
Yealink offers an impressive range of VoIP options for video conferencing, high-quality voice communication, and accessories, including a catalogue of USB peripherals and expansion modules.
For this reason, VoIPTech’s Wave works with Yealink devices to provide you with the best VoIP solutions for your business.
Types of VoIP Phone Systems Available
As with any communication package, the variety of choices available can be mind-boggling. But in the end, all options fall into 1 of 7 categories, each with its unique set of pros and cons:
- Desktop VoIP phones are like a regular desk phone, with a microphone and earpiece for calls. Most will also have a small information display screen. The more expensive versions provide more ports, colour touchscreens, and the capability for HD audio quality.
- USB VoIP phones look like cordless phones that come with a USB connector. You simply plug it into the USB port on your PC or laptop, and you have a plug-and-play VoIP phone.
- Cordless VoIP phones are either a standalone system or an accessory handset to an integrated VoIP system. They come with the familiar base station that recharges the phone battery when not in use.
- VoIP softphones are not physical phones but are software programs that allow you to make IP telephone calls on a general-purpose computer rather than needing dedicated hardware. Skype is a familiar softphone, for instance, that can be downloaded on everything, from a desktop or tablet to a smartphone. The appeal of softphones is undeniable, with the market projected to top 3 billion users by 2021.
- VoIP video phones offer the benefit of face-to-face communication by bundling the best features of VoIP phone systems with a high-definition camera and multimedia functionality that elevates your system to the next level.
- VoIP conference phones provide integrated multi-line capabilities with touchscreen controls. These also have the option for one or more portable microphones to allow your meetings to reach across a boardroom and around the world.
- VoIP adapters, also known as ATA (Analogue Telephone Adapter), is one of the most basic VoIP devices available. Plug it into your high-speed internet modem or hub, plug in your analogue phone, set up an account with a VoIP phone provider, and you can begin calling and receiving calls.
Things to Consider When Choosing a VoIP Phone
VoIP communication offers flexibility, cost savings, and can grow easily to meet your business needs. So, knowing the pros and cons of each option available can save time and money as you look to make the shift.
Here is a brief guide to make your decision a bit easier.
Pros and cons of VoIP phone types
VoIP phone systems come in a variety of types, so choosing what is best for your needs can be a bit tricky.
Desktop VoIP Phones use dedicated hardware, meaning their audio quality is more about the network you are on, the available bandwidth, and the Quality of Service (QoS) settings. That said, most desk phone options do boost call clarity considerably.
But this gain in crispness comes at the price of portability and, to some extent, cost. While basic models can cost as little as £30, more extravagant models can climb into the £100 range and higher.
USB VoIP phones are simple to install and use, do not require a headset or microphone and feel basically like your average cellphone.
The cons are that you are always totally dependent on your laptop or PC, which means that your quality of calls is influenced by the quality of internet connection and bandwidth available. And unlike a VoIP softphone, this option has an initial cost.
A VoIP cordless phone, also known as a wireless VoIP phone, look like typical mobile phones with base stations. They allow for portability, along with multi-call capability and numerous features.
The downside comes in call quality and having to deal with battery life on those occasions when the handset is removed from its base station for extended hours.
The obvious pro of softphones is portability. Simply install the program on whatever device you take with you every day and call clients, check-in at the office, or keep in touch with home from anywhere. Most basic packages are also free or at a minimal cost, so the initial investment is lower than VoIP phone or VoIP landline.
Although VoIP softphones allow for maximum portability, they do suffer in terms of audio quality consistency. Because they only work with whatever device is available, they do not have the benefit from stable, dedicated hardware, which means that your call quality can vary widely.
Basic softphone packages are just that, meaning you might have to pay extra for features such as video calling or conference call capabilities.
VoIP video phones offer all the benefits of traditional high-end video communications with the same challenges: call quality depends heavily on internet connectivity and bandwidth, and the cost per unit of even a good (not great) VoIP video phone might prove a barrier to smaller business clients.
VoIP conference phones allow you to bring everyone together regardless of where they are in the country or the world, as long as they have internet connectivity.
Call quality can suffer as the quality of service falls off, and there is always that familiar problem of lag time and talk over protocols that need to be addressed in any conference call environment.
VoIP adapters have numerous benefits. You get independent VoIP lines without the need for a PC or laptop. You also get above-average call quality, given that you are running directly through high-speed internet, and most ATAs come with several free features like caller ID, call waiting, and voicemail.
The cons are that setting it up is more complicated (unless the ATA comes preconfigured) and the usual reliance on bandwidth and internet quality.
But what is the right phone type for your business?
One of the most important goals when exploring options for a VoIP phone system is that your final choice is designed to help your business grow and also be able to grow with your business. Some key things to consider include:
- Flexibility ensures that you can use any of your VoIP softphone in any location, as well as having the freedom to choose your VoIP number—whether it is local, international, or non-geographic—and allowing for seamless integration of a mix of devices (desktop, tablet, and mobile).
- Setup should be super quick and easy, with each device designed to work right out of the box. This reduces downtime and offers substantial savings, up to 90 percent for companies in the always-vulnerable startup phase.
- Safe and secure VoIP phone systems ensure that all your settings, data, and configuration details are backed in the cloud to protect data integrity and business continuity.
- Simple-to-manage systems from anywhere through a simple, user-friendly control panel.
Affordability and the perfect balance of basic functionality and features for your specific needs and purposes are key considerations to make when choosing the right VoIP service provider for your business.
Selecting a VoIP Service Provider
The final and most important step in completing your transition from analogue to cost-effective digital communications is to choose a reliable VoIP service provider.
Here is a simple guide to the key players in the UK market and what they offer in terms of package systems:
When choosing a VoIP provider for your business, look beyond who offers the most affordable packages and instead focus on who provides the best value. Most importantly, select a provider who understands and accommodates your unique business needs.
Making the Move Is Easier than You Think
VoIPTech Solutions is an expert in designing VoIP phone systems for every type of user.
Whether you are looking for a VoIP phone for your business, VoIP cordless phone, or VoIP home phone, we have a unified Wave technology solution to fit every need and every budget.
Our purpose-built softphone is a bonus, allowing you to make and receive calls from anywhere in the world. Purchase a monthly Wave subscription paired with your state-of-the-art Yealink VoIP phones and your business is guaranteed the finest of hassle-free global communication services anywhere.