Since its beginning, mobile communication technology underwent many phases of evolution before it became what it is now. In a short span of time, it has expanded to a variety of features and went through different forms and sizes. Mobility increased productivity and flexibility in the workplace, and it opened more doors for opportunities in making business even without a physical office or staff support. Mobile communications became a market industry itself, with already a lot of established and emerging mobile handsets and application developers. Mobile communications is a robust industry that continues to innovate and move forward in this fast paced world.
Mobile Communications and VoIP
In the past, mobile communications were integrated in the Public Switched Telephone Network, or PSTN. It was developed as part of the wireless communication network that enabled voice signals to travel in “air” through microwave frequencies. Later on, it was made to integrate with the wired communications facilities also known as the legacy systems, and become a cross platform enabled communications technology, through the developments made by network providers. Mobile communication is also a subset of cellular telephony. At times, they have been used interchangeably.
In a market study by OpenMarket, among the different forms of mobile communications (text messaging, email, voice phone calls and voicemail, and the social media), text messaging, or SMS (Short Messaging Service) is the most popular among the Millenials, or those aged 18-35 years old. Around 85% in this age group prefer to make transactions with businesses through SMS. In addition, 71% of those who are already parents still prefer texting.
The entry of the internet protocol, or IP, paved a way for another “information highway” to be established, as an alternative to the elements within a PSTN. The internet, or an expansive network for data that are almost limitless and boundary-less in terms of its size and reach, have become the new cultivating ground for further technologies for homes, and most especially, for business use. The internet also boasts of speed in delivering multiple data to its users, making it the best candidate for a gateway, and enable a more efficient means to transmit signals for communication purposes. The earliest signal to transmit in this protocol is text and images (websites), but a one-way means of communication only. Then came the VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, which enabled voice to be communicated, 2 or more ways, across this gateway.
How a Mobile VoIP Help Your Business
Before, the VoIP systems can be utilized using computer to computer means. But as the mobile technology developed variations in devices that can access the internet, so as the VoIP also expanded its integration with these. Before anything else, let’s take a look at the benefits of business VoIP software:
1. Lower set up and calling costs
Since it is internet based, the cost of setting up the entire network system will only cost you to purchase the software only. If the office doesn’t have an existing, or a slower internet connection, will be such time that the business will have to shell extra for. Since you are dealing with a dynamic and data rich technology, there is a need for a faster internet access that is crucial for an unflawed and uninterrupted service rendered by the VoIP communication systems.
The biggest advantage one can get from a business VoIP tool is the significant reduction in call costs, especially in international calling. The average cost reduction savings that a business can get after migrating to business VoIP tools ranges between 50-75%. Whereas in phone calling expenses, it can reach up to 90% in reducing expenses for making international calls, and 40% for local calls. The figures are huge, especially after recovering the initial ROI for set up and implementation. Having a business VoIP software really translates to cost efficiency for long term use.
2. Improved communication efficiency
Since in VoIP we are talking about digital signals and packet switching, these make incredible differences in voice transmission and reception. This is particularly brought a huge impact on the communication efficiency of using a VoIP software in the business setting.
3. Increased productivity
Because of the multi-tasking capability of a business VoIP software involving other tasks that can be simultaneously done while being engaged in a call, there is increased productivity among the employees in doing other tasks, especially the core ones.
4. Unified communication
Business VoIP softwares have expanded its communication features alongside the integration of the TCP, or Transmission Control Protocol with the IP. It enabled other data to be transmitted and received using the same software like voice, image, video, music, or text. This makes a simplified and more manageable system for business communications.
5. Value added features
A top business VoIP software boasts of value added features that would normally have been purchased separately from the basic telephone service. This promotes great savings for the business who find these features useful in their day to day transactions. This includes 3-way calling, call diverting, call routing, voicemail-to-email transcription, caller ID, etc.
6. Integration capability
A business VoIP software is a cross platform technology, which means it can be accessed from different devices like the computer and mobile handsets. It is also compatible to be integrated with other web based and offline communication systems such as instant messaging, social media network, email, voicemail, and even with wired communications such as the legacy system.
Today, these benefits can also be enjoyed with the mobile version of business VoIP softwares. Because of this, online businesses have sprung and thrived in the usual big and established players dominated marketplace. They reap the same benefits and features, without taking a huge toll on their ample capital and resources. Let’s take a look at 5 mobile business VoIP softwares that are popular today:
3CX is an open-standard and software based Private Branch Exchange (PBX), or private telephone system, which utilizes the VoIP technology to effectively implement a unified communication system within a business. This unified communication system also includes web conferencing, fax and voicemail conversions to email and text message. It is compatible with most IP phones, SIP trunks and gateways. Pricing is relative to the number of transactions made, not with the number of extension lines. It can also enable cross platform integration in Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
2. Cisco Unified Communication
Cisco believes in the impact of a unified communications network in a business. This system is becoming increasingly popular nowadays because of its benefits of increased productivity and efficiency among employees in the business organization in performing their tasks, especially the core ones. This effectively reduces overall costs in the long run. Cisco, through a unified communication system, combines voice, video and data to be shared within an exclusive network of a business. Like 3CX, it is also an open architecture based system, which supports the highest standards of protocols and interfaces in the industry today, making it one innovative communications solution for business needs.
3. Google Hangouts
Google Hangout’s features might seem look familiar for avid Google application users, because in fact, it replaced three of its other “sibling” communications applications namely Google Talk, Google + Messenger and Hangouts. Google claimed this to be its future telephony product, but still faced with drawbacks when it comes to cross platform performances.
The current version of Google Hangouts for Android doesn’t support voice calls, but in iOS this is possible. In Android, it is actually a messaging app rather a unified communications app that utilizes VoIP technology, minus the “voice” feature. But the absence of unified communications systems in a single software was compensated by integrating other applications that specialize in one form of data. As of version 2.3 (Sept. 2014), Google already included free calls among Hangout users, and charges accordingly if will be used to call internationally or to a landline number, except in the USA and Canada, wherein everything is free of charge. Google Hangouts received quite a number of citations being the best in its level, like this one here.
Viber is established in December 2010 to compete with Skype, which is another software of its kind. Its initial release is for iPhone users, and months after, also released the version for Android. Subsequently a year after, a version for Windows Phone and Blackberry was also released. Initially, the voice call feature was only made available for iOS and Android users, but several years later was already in full implementation. Viber is a software based instant messaging app and VoIP app made for smartphones, which also utilizes the unified communications systems of sharing voice, video, text and images in a single operating system. Viber is also capable of making calls within its Viber network as well as to landlines and unregistered Viber user mobile phones via the Viber Out, and charged accordingly via Credits. Unlike with 3CX and Cisco Unified Communications that is used in PBXs, Viber utilizes a public access network, which means it its system is made available for all. Viber is free to download via the Google PlayStore, iOS App Store and other app centers of other platforms.
Skype is another instant messaging, voice call, video chat, video conferencing and data transmission medium software that utilizes the VoIP technology and the internet. It was developed in August of 2003, and since then had a huge following, until today. Skype is a dynamic, cross platform software which can be accessed both in desktop computers and mobile devices. Thus, its system is called a hybrid peer-to-peer and client-server. This makes Skype a versatile and dynamic VoIP software which can be utilized both for personal, or business use. In business, this is especially cost saving because of the free nature of the app, but there are still impending issues considering security, privacy, exclusivity and professionalism in using a free and public app for business purposes.
Technology based business tools are becoming increasingly popular these days, and utilizing one or more in your business may either translate cost savings or liabilities, depending on the implementation and vendor you will trust. However, these subjective issues can be readied on beforehand by setting aside a modest time to do your research and exhaustive comparisons of what are available.
Ready to jump into the huge bandwagon of business VoIP tool users? Check out who’s-who on the list of the Top business VoIP Softwares in the market today.
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