When choosing your company’s new phone system, one of the first things you will have to consider is the type of system you require, in particular whether you want a VoIP or a traditional system - and with communications being such a vital aspect of any business, it’s important that you choose your system wisely.
In order to help you make the right decision, we have broken down the basics of both traditional and VoIP systems.
Traditional Phone Systems
Traditional phone systems are the backbone of businesses in the UK and will be for many years to come. These are the systems that are used every day in most businesses across the world and are often called ‘landline systems’ or ‘PABX systems’. The voice lines on this type of system are hardwired to the local exchange through miles of copper or fibre cables. These systems and lines are the most reliable available.
Features of Traditional Phone Systems
Traditional phone systems offer a massive list of features and ‘bolt-on’ services. Some salient features are:
- CRM integration
- Call Centre working
- Call recording
- Hot desking
- Conference calling
- Multi-site working
Advantages of Using a Traditional Phone Systems
Traditional phone systems are robust and reliable. Due to landline-based systems being connected to the phone network through wiring, they are unlikely to experience downtime.
Users have access to more features on a traditional phone system than on any other type of system. There are even more ‘bolt-ons’ available such as door phone integration and Tannoy systems.
Furthermore, landlines are the system that most people are familiar with and are comfortable using - a secure, time-tested option.
Disadvantages of Using Traditional Phone Systems
To set up and install, a traditional phone system can sometimes appear to be expensive. This usually isn’t the case especially when the solution is rented over a number of years rather than bought outright. However, traditional phone systems do have a limited shelf life which is usually around 15 to 20 years.
Another potential downside is that they can be hard to scale up as any additional lines will need to be physically installed, meaning that businesses going through growth and change need to have an efficient and reputable telecoms provider to support this flexibility. A good provider will talk you through how best to use your phone systems to grow your business so have that conversation.
VoIP / Hosted Phone Systems
A VoIP, or hosted phone system, is one that runs through a data network (either a WAN, LAN or, more commonly, the Internet). This type of system is much newer than a traditional system and is often preferred by newer, smaller businesses.
Features of VoIP / Hosted Phone Systems
The features available to you through a VoIP / hosted system include some of the ones offered by a traditional system, but with the added availability of features such as:
- Closer integration with tablets and other mobile devices.
- Video conferencing
- Pay-per-seat flexibility
- Inexpensive call queues
Advantages of Using VoIP / Hosted Phone Systems
VoIP/Hosted services are the future.
VoIP systems are beneficial for smaller companies that may have a lower budget, as they offer a wide variety of features, but at a price that can appear lower than with a traditional system.
VoIP / hosted systems provide low capital outlay ownership and a good raft of facilities that can be added to over time. Additional services and users can be added quickly and with minimal engineering resource.
Furthermore, using a VoIP system provides mobile options, meaning that any remote workers can still access the company’s phone system.
Disadvantages of Using VoIP / Hosted Phone Systems
VoIP / hosted solutions rely 100% on a reliable, stable Internet connection. Without this prerequisite, the service will be a disaster.
The risk of downtime with a VoIP / hosted system is higher than if you were to use a traditional system. If a reliable phone system is key to a business, it might be better to consider a traditional system and eliminate the risk of downtime with VoIP / hosted.
VoIP / hosted solutions need bandwidth to work and this can often have a knock on effect with the Internet connection to your site. ‘Sharing’ a connection may mean slower data speeds (Internet access) and also poor quality telephone calls. VoIP / hosted solutions might also require Power Over Ethernet (POE) switches to make the handsets work. POE switches are not cheap and the potential cost needs to be factored in when comparing prices with a traditional system.
VoIP / hosted solutions are rented on a per-seat basis forever. In most cases the rental term is the length of time that one uses the service. With a traditional system there is usually a terminus date at which the ownership of the equipment is passed to the user(s).
Choosing the Right Phone System
Deciding which type of system is right for your business can be difficult and, at times, overwhelming. Your telecoms partner will work closely with you to identify the features that will be most beneficial to your company and give you peace of mind in knowing that you have made the right choice.
If you are interested in discussing the options available to you further, then do not hesitate to get in touch.