VOIP (or “Voice over Internet Protocol”) is a well-used buzzword, but many small businesses are left asking some basic questions: What EXACTLY is VOIP, and what impact can it make on my business?
What is VOIP?
VOIP, as we mentioned earlier, is short for “Voice over Internet Protocol”. Put simply, it’s a telephone system that goes over the Internet, rather than traditional phone lines (a public switched telephone network or PSTN).
VOIP made its first big breakthroughs in 2004, as High Speed Internet became more prevalent. Today, it is used in a number of different applications, from IP Phones (which are like regular phones, but work through the Internet rather than traditional phone lines), Software VoIP (programs like Skype which allow real-time calls over the Internet) and Mobile and Integrated VoIP (which allows mobile phones to make calls outside of the regular mobile network).
VOIP’s next step:
Now that VOIP has become a presence in the business world, companies are moving to consolidate business services under the banner of VOIP. For instance, telecommunications company ShoreTel offers solutions designed to bring together many aspects of small business communication on one platform, such as:
- Phone systems
- Conferencing systems
- Calendar systems
- Enterprise applications
- And much more
Check back next week for part two of our article!