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May 22, 2014

Can You Hear Me Now?

By TMCnet Special Guest
Justin Albaum, Director of Marketing and Communications, DBSI

I think we all probably remember the infamous Verizon (News - Alert) “can you hear me now” commercials. This is certainly not the type of question you want to find yourself asking your customers. With some newer and cheaper alternatives available, businesses are increasingly beginning to ask themselves what type of communication system they should have in place in order to suit their communication needs and be the most cost-effective. So, I thought I would address some of the pros and cons of traditional vs. newer, alternative systems.

A couple of alternatives to the more expensive yet more dependable traditional business phone systems are VoIP and mobile phones which rely on either a strong internet connection or cell signal. At first glance, the cost savings that can be achieved by adopting either of these two alternatives can be very enticing, especially for small businesses. However, before you make the decision to change your business phone system over the one of these solutions, it is important to do your due diligence and weigh the pros and cons for your business communication needs. Here are four factors to consider when deciding on the best business phone system platform for your business: cost, voice quality, security and emerging technology.

Cost of VoIP plans are much lower than traditional landline costs, and can potentially cut your monthly phone bill in half. Using cell phones exclusively can also lower your monthly costs, especially if you incorporate a BYOD policy. However, cell phones costs include monthly data and call charges, and overage charges can get quite expensive depending on your call and data plan and your usage volume. Plus, you will need insurance for instances where the phones are damaged or lost, which is quite common.

Voice quality and clarity is still much better on a landline. While it is true that VoIP and cell technology has improved a lot over the years, the quality and reliability is not even close to the sound quality and reliability of a traditional business phone system. With VoIP, it is common to experience choppy sound, background noise and dropped calls. Plus, when your internet is down so is your phone system. As for cell phones, well, the title above pretty much says it all. You’re bound by the quality of cell signal and this can be particularly burdensome when traveling. Calls are constantly getting dropped or broken up and distorted when going through areas with spotty or no cell coverage, and batteries die fairly quickly.

Security issues are a great concern when it comes to VoIP and cell phones. With VoIP, if someone hacks your internet, they have also hacked your phone systems and can actually use your VoIP system to make calls, driving up your usage costs. Also, they can run malicious software that ties up all of your lines, crippling your business phone system. With cell phones, the greatest security threat is obviously losing your phone or having it stolen, giving access to potentially confidential and sensitive information. Fortunately, neither of these concerns are present with a traditional business phone system.

Emerging technology constantly improves business phone systems and the way businesses communicate. Great strides have been made to close the quality and security gap that exists between VoIP and cell phones, and traditional business phone systems. The fact is, more and more businesses are adopting a VoIP system over any alternative because of the cost savings. One day, the technology may catch up to or even surpass that of traditional business phone systems. Keep in mind that traditional business phone system technology is also constantly emerging and great strides have been made with unified communications and IP software. Prices are also coming down in order to better compete with the cheaper alternatives such as VoIP.

In short, there is one particularly important question you need to ask yourself before deciding on what type of business phone system best suits your business, keeping in mind the four factors discussed above - What is more important for my business phone system needs, quality and security or cost?

Justin Albaum is the Director of Marketing and Communications for DBSI, a premier business communication solutions company. Justin’s primary responsibilities include planning, developing and implementing DBSI's marketing, communications and public relations strategies and tactics, as well as developing and managing DBSI's brand messaging and all marketing and communications collateral.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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