Wednesday, January 18, 2006

VoIP, Now a Proven Alternative

Telephones have been plugging in for over 100 years. Today, thanks to new technology and the way people are thinking of telecommunications, people are literally pulling the plug on their telephones.

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and this technology is taking the world by storm. More American homes are including computers with High Speed Internet connections, and with high tech homes, exposure to all of the options available to home users are changing the way people think about communication.

VoIP offers many benefits to both home residential users and businesses worldwide. In America, people are opting to go with VoIP due to the beneficial savings on local and long distance phone charges. Other reasons people prefer VoIP is that many of the calling features that are included for free with VoIP services are offered for a fee with standard telephone services.

VoIP originally was given away for free over the Internet. Programs such as Dialpad, Skype, Gizmo Project and other Instant Messaging services would allow users to make free long distance calls over the Internet. Now that user demand as increased for this service, free VoIP programs are harder to find. However, many Instant Messaging programs are enabling VoIP and allow users to download the program for free, make phone calls (anywhere in the world) and talk as long as they like.

Instant Messaging programs that are offering VoIP include Yahoo Messenger, AOL, MSN, and ICQ. Google has just recently released their first VoIP enabled instant messenger, GoogleTalk (Gmail account required to use).

Other than these free VoIP services, many VoIP providers will charge a monthly fee for the use of VoIP. It is recommended to research various VoIP providers before selecting the plan that has the amount of minutes you need, (many offer unlimited local and long distance calling) various calling features: such as Voice Mail, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, and Three Way Calling, and whether or not they provide a phone adapter of a VoIP enabled phone.

VoIP providers are wide and varied. Each will offer a different set of services and products for a different rate. However, you are certain to find a VoIP provider that will best meet your needs and budget.

It isn't hard to use VoIP- simply using VoIP with and Instant Messaging service proves that. In fact, as long as you have a High Speed Internet connection, Microphone, Speakers, and an up to date computer, you are in business.

A phone adapter will connect to your Internet connection (typically by an Ethernet plug) and there will be a phone jack that will allow you to plug in one of your standard telephones. With this phone adapter, your new VoIP service is fully functional with your telephone.

You may also opt for a VoIP designed phone. These phones can come with many features built in such as multi lines, mute, hold, programmable display buttons, and speakerphones.

Businesses are also choosing to pull the plug. Employers are quickly recognizing the benefits that VoIP has to offer not only their productivity but also the benefits available to their employees and customers as well.

VoIP offers a cost effective solution to many telecommunications applications, provide flexibility for employees, and increases customer service response by nearly 50%. It is much more inexpensive for an office building to wireless and rely upon the High Speed Internet connection that they have previously installed in their buildings. Mobile employees can stay connected and save on call charges by using VoIP, and customers can have their needs more efficiently met by using VoIP integrated systems.

Call centers are also making the switch to VoIP and pulling the plug on standard telephone networks. While many companies are choosing to outsource their work to countries where they can hire inexpensive labor, VoIP makes that possible. Not only is VoIP a perfect solution for overseas outsourcing, it is also paving the way for home workers as well.

Customer service applications are greatly enhanced by VoIP. Companies can have Integrated Voice Response systems that will handle calls and efficiently transfer them to the appropriate department. All of this can be done while still enabling real time interaction with E-mail, Audio, and Web Control features. VoIP has proven that it's a viable alternative to standard PSTN telephone networks.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

New WiFi VoIP Phones Are Coming

Looks like going VoIP will now be going wireless.

If the announcements from the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas are any indicator, WiFi VoIP phones are the next big trend.

Several manufacturers including Panasonic, Uniden and Motorola have announced cordless VoIP phones that have built-in adapters preset to popular VoIP services like Vonage and Skype. The phones will not only work on your home or office wireless network, but at wireless hotspots found in airports, hotels, coffee shops, malls and other locations.

Vonage previously has bundled service with several phone systems including the VTech IP 8100-2 (pictured above) which has received excellent reviews.

Currently about 5 million users have VoIP and that number will increase to approximately 20 million over the next 2 years according to analysts.

Great news for those of us using VoIP. Keep innovating!

Happy VoIPing