Tech Talk: What’s so hot about VoIP?
Monday, Jun 4, 2012
Why has the desktop phone shifted from a digital keyset to a VoIP keyset?
Fundamentally, it is because VoIP technology leads to improved employee productivity, lower operating costs and better customer service. Like an iPhone, VoIP systems are all about the apps – or rather the business applications. When you integrate your business phone system with your PC and data network, new capabilities are bound to emerge.
I don’t have room to list all of the exciting new features possible in a VoIP phone system, so instead I’m going to focus in on four areas that are really making an impact on my personal day-to-day workflow.
Imagine placing a call by clicking on a phone number in an e-mail message, web page, or your contact database. Or, imagine visually seeing an incoming call show up on your screen with the caller ID information. In my office I can answer the call, route it straight to voicemail or transfer it to a co-worker with a simple click of my mouse. It might sound like a small thing, but add a wireless headset into the mix and you get an incredibly productive work environment.
Presence management: That PC integration also lets me manage and share my status or availability with my coworkers. When I am actively using my PC, the system shows them on their PC that I am available for a phone call or chat session. By integrating with my Outlook calendar it can also tell people when I’m in a meeting and when I expect to be available again. Last, I can create call handling rules based upon my status. So when I’m in a meeting, calls automatically roll to voicemail.
Cellular integration: By installing an app on my iPhone, my cell phone literally becomes a native extension on my office phone system. I can answer, transfer, or place calls through the office phone system from my cell phone. This is a great solution for the sales person who never wants to miss a call. Of course, I can also use my call handling rules to only receive those sorts of calls during regular business hours if I wanted to.
Advanced conferencing: My VoIP phone system also includes an audio conference bridge, video conferencing system, and PC collaboration tools. I can schedule and host a multi-party conference call on my system and give everyone a dial in number to join the call. I can also e-mail the participants a link that allows them to see my Windows desktop and/or my webcam so that we can view a presentation or collaborate on a document. In addition, I can also initiate a video conference with my clients in Nashville or Tulsa, OK, and save the time and cost of a trip to their site.
This just touches on a few of the tools I use every day. I didn’t have time to get into e-Fax, automatic call recording, call reporting, hot desking, remote phones, and the many other applications that might fit your business. Believe it or not, but we are still in the early stages of VoIP enabled applications with new functionality arriving about every 6 months!
Don Viar is managing partner at Epic Technologies based in Cookeville. Viar can be contacted at (931) 526-3742 and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Epic Technologies, visit www.epictn.com.