Business VoIP Featured Article

21 Different Ways to Use VoIP

October 29, 2008

By Michelle Robart, Business VoIP Editor

People are finally starting to catch on that using VoIP can cut the costs of cell phone bills, landlines and Web conferencing, and these benefits are just the beginning. From giving your dating life a boost to helping you earn extra money from a side job, VoIP gives you the ability to explore all kinds of new ways to communicate.

According to (News - Alert) there are 30 different ways to use VoIP; some of which people may not even be aware of. Below are just some of the useful ways VoIP-News experts say VoIP technology comes in handy.

Learn something new. Teachers are now using VoIP to communicate with students around the world while giving local students access to study aids. Many VoIP systems offer recording services, so educators can record their lectures or host study sessions in real time, making it possible for students to keep up with class even if they don’t attend in person.

Find your true love. If you have a Facebook (News - Alert) account, hold an eHarmony profile or log on to any other online dating and social media site, what's stopping you from reaching out to others through VoIP? Services like Skype (News - Alert) let you search for old friends or perfect strangers. You can connect with a love interest over video chat, go on virtual dates with the IM (instant messaging) service, and block unwanted all without having to give out your real phone number.

Conference from anywhere. State-of-the-art Web-conferencing software can get expensive, but VoIP allows business professionals, freelancers and family members to connect with others all over the world.

Do business in bed. Roll out of bed, freshen up, throw on a tie or put on some earrings, and no one will know that you woke up five minutes before your big meeting. If you're feeling especially lazy, just sign on to the phone service — no one will know you're still in your pajamas. VoIP may also help you quit your job and start your own business from home, or convince your boss to let you telecommute.

Get back at telemarketers. This blogger avoids telemarketers by tricking them into believing that the VoIP line has been disconnected. Install the Zapeller app, and telemarketers will receive a dead dial tone that simulates a disconnected number.

Talk on the phone at work. If you love to make personal calls at work, but know that your company records all outgoing numbers on your office phone, install a VoIP service through your computer. This will allow you to hide behind your screen and talk as much as you want. If someone opens the door suddenly, you don't have to worry about being caught with a cell phone in your hand.

Save money. VoIP calls can cost significantly less than those made from a landline, especially if they're long-distance. But some services, like Skype, are completely free if you call another user. Other savings include no roaming charges and increased employee productivity. Nextiva offers a very affordable business VoIP service, NextivaConnect, for only $8.95 per month. Created for the road warrior, NextivaConnect is a centralized solution that answers all your calls and routes them to any phone of your choice; home, cell, and/or office.

Create podcasts. Record phone calls to use for an interview for your online radio program or blog. You can also record study sessions conducted over the phone to help you review for a test on your way to class.

Adopt an alternate number. Setting up a secondary landline or cell phone account can be expensive. If you want to have an alternate number just for special friends or certain clients, you can save money by opening up a VoIP account.

Place three-way calls. Business professionals, friends and family can get in on the action through VoIP with three-way calling features.

Play fun games. You can use VoIP to integrate games like Xbox Live into your system. Games played through VoIP are also said to be faster, and players can talk with each other over their VoIP connections rather than typing in text. Some game groups even require a VoIP connection to join their team.

Start your own business. Growing your own business can be much easier and more affordable when you use VoIP. Business owners can connect with vendors, clients and even outsourced employees in other countries without spending tons of money and time on hosting meetings, searching for contacts and phone numbers, faxing documents or sending large files.

Become a freelancer. Thanks to the Internet, many people are becoming self-employed professionals. Freelancers can use VoIP to manage all of their work, clients, meetings and contacts on one platform, rather than keeping track of lots of different services and applications.

Start tutoring. Share your educational talents and make some extra cash by tutoring via VoIP. Tutors are turning to VoIP because it cuts down on commuting time and saves gas; allows for more flexibility to find a working schedule; and opens up the supply and demand of students and tutors around the world.

Take out vishers. VoIP can be vulnerable to some security issues, especially vishing, or the "criminal practice of using social engineering and Voice over IP (VoIP) to gain access to private personal and financial information from the public for the purpose of financial reward," according to Wikipedia. You can avoid these situations by enhancing your privacy settings and blocking repeat spammers.

Multitask your career. Take full advantage of VoIP's phone conferencing and chat services to help your career. While you're at home participating in one meeting, you can do research for another project or connect with clients on IM.

Link up your Bluetooth with VoIP. If you hate being tied to a computer every time you want to make a call, you can use Bluetooth's mobile capability with your VoIP service.

Promote products or services. Use a VoIP connection to send files, record videos and broadcast VoIP conversations to all your friends, classmates and co-workers.

Collaborate in real-time. Another must-have VoIP feature for freelancers and business owners is real time collaboration, which goes beyond instant chats and video conferencing. Desktop collaboration add-ons can make it even easier to use VoIP for business.

Keep records of conversations and business deals. Protect yourself by keeping a record of all of your communications. Even though there is no paper trail, you can record all of your sensitive conversations, file transfers and business deals so that you're always covered.

Forward calls to your office or cell phone. If you're away from your desk when your VoIP phone rings, you don't have to worry about missed calls. Services like Find-Me-Follow-Me syncs up all your phone lines and even your fax line so that you can receive calls, messages, e-mails and faxes immediately.

Michelle Robart is a contributing editor for virtual-pbx. To read more of Michelle's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

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