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December 22, 2011

Is It Time For VoIP? Six Ways To Know

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Barry Gerhardt, president and founder of Barry Communications of Worcester, is a man who knows when it’s time to consider VoIP. Believe us, friends, if any of these six symptoms Gerhardt identifies describe you, it’s time you took a closer look at VoIP, as you’ve obviously been out of the loop for a few years too long.

“You think VoIP has something to do with very important persons.” Well, correct, kind of, in the sense that the people who came up with VoIP came up with a way to turn voice information and data into digital information that’s transmitted in the same format as information that passes over the Internet, as Gerhardt says, adding that, “VoIP includes other packet-switched networks besides the Internet.” But, well, you’d probably better dig around a bit more in VoIP.

“Company voice mail says, ‘Your call is very important to us,’ yet it’s impossible to reach a real person.” There is a recorded case of somebody believing that her call was, in fact, very important to the company even though she never could reach a live voice, but that person, Mrs. Edna F. Bloor of East Slingshot, Maine, has since been safely institutionalized. VoIP lets key contacts be reached no matter where they are.

“You think ‘unified communications’ means everyone is talking at the same time.” And they might be – but all on different devices. Unified communications means integrating voice (landline and mobile), email, instant messages and conferencing, as Gerhardt explains, adding that having all communication over one network “is more efficient and eliminates duplication of wiring and switching equipment.”

“Every facility your company owns has its own system.” Ironic, as Gerhardt says, that some phone systems won’t talk to each other. If this is the case, then it’s also surely the case that you have high maintenance and management costs and low functionality. Now with VoIP, even f your company has multiple locations, they can all be on the same system.

“The only function your phones have is a busy signal.” Yes, we know who you are. You don’t know who we are because we never buy from you anymore. VoIP is “feature-rich and user-friendly,” Gerhardt says, and users can access all features using a PC-based application.

“Your PBX (News - Alert) lease is up for renewal.” Here’s your choice: Invest more in old technology to keep monthly usage charges higher than they should be, wait for your phone system to crash and burn, or “take advantage of the new technology that’s available today and create a competitive advantage for your company,” Gerhardt says.

Your call.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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