Small business and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP)

Almost 10 years ago I told the audience of my small business radio program that when broadband Internet connections – in those days we called them “the big pipes” – were diffused in the marketplace, the world will change. And so it has. Today, broadband Internet is everywhere, and it accounts for more than 75% of all Internet connections, including more than half of U.S. households.

But the news is not just how we connect – DSL from the phone companies, cable modems, 3G from the wireless companies, etc. – but also the connectivity applications that are a productive reality today and exciting possibilities for tomorrow. And these applications are creating paradigm shifts that are changing the world.

One very interesting 21st century technology is Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP). In its simplest form, you make a regular phone call with a classic phone set, but instead of using the 19th century technology of twisted copper phone lines, you connect over an Internet connection and conversion application offered by providers such as Vonage, Magic Jack, etc. Now take this to the next level by converging your contact management application, a microphone/headset and VoIP, and you’re making voice calls to customers by clicking a mouse instead of dialing and holding a handset. And of course, the quantum leap is not having any kind of phone set on your desk – all calls are routed through your computer and broadband connection. That would be a paradigm hat trick, wouldn’t it? A competitive shift, a cultural shift and an ergonomic shift.

Even though we already have computer-based Internet voice connections with Instant Messaging applications and, of course, there’s Skype, which I use a lot, VoIP is really just now coming into its own. In the very near future watch for the complete shifting of all of our telephony paradigms to take place right in front of our eyes. And for small businesses this will be an exciting time because these shifts will create opportunities for lowering costs and increasing capabilities.

Someone who is an expert on the topic of VoIP and related applications is Leslie Ferry, V.P. of Broadsoft. Recently she joined me on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, to discuss what we can get out of VoIP today and what we can expect in the future. I think you’ll learn a lot from our conversation. And leave a comment about your thoughts on VoIP.

2 Responses to “Small business and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP)”

  1. 2
    Billy Goldstein Says:

    Wow! What a blog. You have a real knack for making a blog readable and easy on the eyes. Some sites look like train wrecks, but not yours - it’s a pleasure to read. I find Voice over IP very interesting. I have learned a lot in implementing a small VoIP network at home, and am thinking of starting VoIP business in my area. There are a number of small businesses in my region that would benefit from it greatly.

  2. 1
    Leslie Says:

    Jim, it was such a pleasure to be on your show. As a small business advocate, BroadSoft is committed to helping educate small businesses about their communication options, one of which is a Hosted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service.

    In the past, in order to take advantage of advanced calling features such as call forwarding and extension dialing, a company would need to purchase an expensive “box” (PBX) that they then owned and which required an IT administrator to manage. This “on-premise” system was both complex and expensive to deploy, especially for a small business that may not have the IT expertise needed as a core competency. Needless to say, most small businesses did not make this capital investment, however there is an alternative.

    Many telephone companies today offer what is referred to in the telecom industry as “hosted VoIP” and the adoption of this service is rapidly growing among small businesses. Think of the hosted VoIP service as a way to outsource your business communication needs. A hosted VoIP service allows a small business to reap all the costs savings, capabilities and benefits of a dedicated PBX, without the burden of the cost to acquire, implement and maintain a complex communication infrastructure on their own.

    Getting professional, feature-rich voice services – once only available for Fortune 100 enterprises – are now a reality for small businesses. I encourage your readers to inquire about a hosted VoIP solution with their local telephone service provider.

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