Aside from the cost savings that come from voice-over-IP (VoIP), one of most useful advantages of the new technology is its flexibility.
While traditional business phones are tethered to a desk, VoIP enables a much more flexible approach where calls can follow workers no matter where they are. The promise realized is that workers don’t have to think about their phone. They just call. From wherever they are.
Cellular phones deliver on some of that promise, but with cellular reception issues it is not as robust as VoIP; there’s still the need to focus on the phone—and then there is the issue of having the address book synced, etc.
VoIP doesn’t suffer from these challenges, however. It is fast and efficient, simple but flexible. Plug in an IP phone to the Internet and suddenly there’s an office, whether the worker is at home, in a hotel, or at one of several office locations. When on the go, VoIP can usually be accessed via cellular phone.
There’s continuity, and this saves time and hassle.
Companies such as Bitrix24 are getting half of the equation right. The company has just updated its enterprise social network, and one of the new features is the ability to make calls right from the Web browser.
The technology behind the Bitrix24 Web calling feature is VoxImplant, a solution by Zingaya that lets websites and smartphone apps integrate VoIP calling into their products. It is powered by WebRTC, a new technology that promises to make Web calling easier and more automatic.
Web calling such as Bitrix24 only goes half the distance, however. While it certainly is nice to make a call from a Web browser with a click of a button, the full power of VoIP is only truly realized if the same calling system is able to the primary system everywhere. One address book, one phone number, one system.
This certainly can be accomplished with VoIP, but it isn’t a given in the race to offer calling functionality in every product.
Businesses need to keep this in mind when they think about their calling needs. Cell phones are important, of course. And Web calling is useful. But if the business can’t take the same phone service from cell to IP phone to wherever they are working, it is not a single calling solution.
And a single calling solution is where VoIP takes a lot of its power.
Edited by Alisen Downey