SIP phones or VoIP (voice-over-internet-protocol) phones use the open standard SIP for setting up and managing phone calls. The voice on a SIP or IP phone is transmitted over an IP-based network with the help of an open standard called as RTP.
It looks like a regular phone, but the hardware is built using IP-aware components to connect with an IT network using Wi-Fi or regular Ethernet cables.
A SIP phone also has an integrated mini hub through which it can share the network connection with a laptop or desktop.
This way, it waves off the need of an additional network point. Along with managing phone calls for a rich user experience, SIP phones also include other common features, such as, call hold, speaker phone, call transfer, caller ID, etc.
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If you are looking for different types of VoIP phones for your business, here are the prominent categories available:
Wireless VoIP phones have built-in DECT transceiver or Wi-Fi, which connects to an access point. Wireless phones allow users to move around in the office while on a call, if required.
Softphones are basically software applications installed on a computer to allow users make and receive calls via the device. The installation cost for softphones is relatively cheap and it is also easy to use. Remote workers often use smartphones owing to the ease of installation and operation.
IP conferencing phones are used by large enterprises for conferencing via call with multiple participants. It works like the usual analogue phone, but is used for teleconferencing.
The demand for Voice-over-IP (VoIP) services has increased manifold in the business arena these days. VoIP services reduce operational expenses and offer added value to organizations. Here’re a few market trends providing boost to VoIP services globally:
Integration with Apps
VoIp can now integrate with marketing tools and social media applications. This way, VoIP can be used for monitoring purposes and for enterprise device management. Workforce apps and service integrations can also help employees and organizations in meeting their productivity goals.
OIT on Networks
In the coming years, more and more “things” are expected to be connected to the internet. For instance, your smartphone can be connected to the air conditioners via internet at home. Similarly, VoIP phones can be used in office setup for reserving desk space, setting up the monitor, sharing the phone number with another desk space, and so on.
To prevent any chances of attack on VoIP, VoIP service providers are now implementing comprehensive security solutions. Such security solutions provide complete protection against any cyber threat.
With over one billion VoIP users globally, the problem of network strain has emerged. To deal with this challenge, companies are using hosted VoIP services and partnering with VoIP service providers, who have the infrastructure to deal with the network strain. The trend towards mobile VoIP is also on the rise, owing to various VoIP-based apps being designed.
Features of SIP IP/VoIP phones vary depending upon the manufacturers and their functionalities. Most of the IP phones from reputed brands carry these important features:
Graphical LCD Display Screen
LCD display screen is important for displaying caller details. The display is mostly monochrome, but colored displays are also available for video conferencing.
Ports for Device and Network Connection
A VoIP phone needs to have multiple ports to connect with internet, Ethernet LAN, other network devices, and even other phones.
Support for Multiple Languages
Most SIP IP phones allow users to change language settings and ensure hassle-free communication across the globe. IP phones support multiple languages and locales to be suitable for businesses in every corner of the world.
The voice data and other multimedia data passing through an IP phone need to be encrypted to ensure network security.
Call Routing and Forwarding
This feature allows users to connect at home, office and other locations across different communication devices. This feature is quite important to support remote access.
Automated Call Distribution
The automated call distribution feature is quite important in a call center setup for directing a call to the best available agent.
Interactive Voice Recognition
The interactive voice recognition feature helps in call routing and automated directory access. By just speaking a name or the extension number, the caller can navigate through the contact directly.
Conference Call Feature
Most VoIP phones provide the instant conferencing feature via unified communications technology. This feature helps businesses connect and collaborate with clients, employees and vendors anytime.
A VoIP phone is designed specifically for use in a VoIP system, and it works by converting the audio into digital format to be transmitted over the internet. By following this process, VoIP phones offer these advantages to businesses:
Flexibility and Mobility
SIP IP phone is hosted over the internet to provide flexibility and mobility to users. Companies can access their cloud-hosted SIP IP phones from anywhere and make and receive VoIP calls, using the internet connection.
Adding more phone numbers to your SIP IP phone should not be an issue. Most VoIP phones provide scalability benefits to add or delete extensions as per the requirement.
Video-enabled SIP IP phones allow users to make video calls, as the SIP voice is easily transferred as Internet Protocol.
VoIP phones help businesses in extending their presence across different locations in a virtual manner by getting a local number. People of a particular location can call on the local number that can be forwarded to an agent at the central location.
Transmission of different communication tools, such as, voice, video and data can be possible through SIP IP phones. Such phones combine advanced communication features to provide unified communication solutions.
Reduced Calling Costs
Long distance calls can be made and received easily using SIP IP phones. Calling costs are reduced significantly with VoIP phones, and the additional features of this type of phone can be availed without any additional cost.
With VoIP phone systems becoming increasingly popular, businesses are ready to invest significantly into them. But before making the final investment, businesses need to consider these important features:
To use VoIP phone systems efficiently, you need to have an adequate internet connection. You need to have enough bandwidth to ensure calls with clarity every time. If required, you can upgrade your internet bandwidth.
Potential to Integrate with Other Business Tools
VoIP phone systems have the potential to integrate with other businesses but with limited capabilities. Some provide narrow integrations, while others can integrate even with sophisticated business tools like CRM. Look for those VoIP phone systems that provide a reliable support as per your business requirements.
Your Current Hardware
The transition from traditional phone system to VoIP phone system may require you to purchase new equipment. Hardware and software from the traditional phone system may not support the VoIP system.
Overall Cost of Integration
Some VoIP phone vendors provide all calling features in one go, while others ask you to pick and choose between different features. The overall cost may increase per feature, so you need to select only those elements that are essential for your business. Also, the cost of replacing traditional phone system equipment and the expense of increasing the internet bandwidth should also be considered.
To avail the benefits of VoIP phone systems without encountering much hitches, you need to look for a system that provides a wide range of features and functionality. It is important to invest in a system that offer outstanding benefits to your business.