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August 12, 2008

VoIP for Baby Boomers and Generation Y

By Michelle Robart, TMCnet Editor

Source: VoIP-News.com (News - Alert)
People between the ages of 50 and 64 make up approximately 71 percent of Internet users. E-mail allows them stay in touch with friends and family; online photo sharing sites, like Photobucket (News - Alert), allow them to share and view photos of growing family members; they also use the Internet to research medical conditions and reach out to others through online support forums. A significant percentage of people in this age group are also broadband subscribers, making them great candidates for voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phone service.
However, VoIP has been largely the domain of businesses and young, early adopters. Besides lack of exposure to VoIP, there are a number of mistaken VoIP preconceptions that contribute to the older demographic's reluctance to replace familiar copper wire phone systems with voice over IP.
VoIP may not seem like the telephony choice for the Baby Boomer generation, but with the technology and network infrastructure advancements, VoIP is a smart move for retirees on fixed incomes who want to stay close to friends and family without spending their savings. Read on to learn more about the benefits of VoIP and how it is fast becoming the technology to have in the home, as well as in the office.  
Q: What are some of the main benefits from switching to a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) system?
A: Everyday companies can save up to 60 percent on telecom costs by moving to VoIP. 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. Also, thanks to VoIP, you might be able to quit your job and start your own business from home, or at least convince your boss to let you telecommute. For more information on the benefits of VoIP, read the article, 30 Ways to Use VoIP That You've Never Heard Of.
Q: How do companies save on telecom costs by switching to VoIP?
A: It's no secret that VoIP calls can cost significantly less than those made from a landline, especially if they're long-distance. But some services, like Skype (News - Alert), are completely free if you call another user. Other savings include no roaming charges and increased employee productivity.
Q: How is VoIP used by teachers today in the modern day classroom?
A: VoIP is making a name for itself in the education industry. Teachers now use it as a tool to reach 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 lead study sessions in real time, making it possible for students to keep up with class even if they can't attend in person.
Q: How does VoIP trick telemarketers into believing the line has been disconnected?
A: VoIP users can avoid 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.
Q: How can Skype be used as a regular phone?
A: For those who still think that going mobile means using a cordless phone, Skype has a solution for you too. The mcePhone for Skype lets you use a traditional phone with your Skype account to make calls, see your call history on your TV, receive voice mails when your computer is offline and send text messages from your TV.
Q: How can you use a cell phone to make Skype calls?
A: Use your cell phone to make Skype calls with iSkoot (News - Alert). You can still take advantage of the free or discounted calls with Skype, but you don't need to be sitting at your computer to make them.
Q: What is VoIP QoS and why is it an important consideration for businesses moving to Internet telephony?
A: For most business customers, the term signifies getting the best possible VoIP service quality at the lowest possible cost. For service providers, QOS often means the exact opposite: delivering minimally acceptable VoIP quality at the highest price the market will bear.
Since few enterprises wish to subject their employees and clients to poor phone call quality (or QOS), it's critical to pay close attention to service quality issues when designing a VoIP system.
Q: What do you foresee in the future for VoIP?
A: All the recent improvements in VoIP services have led to substantial growth in the VoIP market.  Trends show an increase in service providers, and an increase in the services that are being made available has followed.  VoIP is beginning to include calls to and from mobile phones as well, which is expected to significantly increase VoIP usage.  
Skype, the company that put VoIP on the map in 2005, is one of the first to try to make the technology mobile. Right now, calls can be received at no cost, however out-going calls must be made using cell phone minutes to connect to Skype which then charges at its own rate for the call.  But this defeats VoIP’s main benefit of free calling.  Because of increased demand in VoIP technology there has been a slight increase in prices, but the improvements and added services definitely balance out the increases in cost.  If estimates are correct VoIP is poised to make traditional telephony communication a thing of the past.

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

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