VoIP Phone systems are increasing become more popular for business as a way to obtain a feature-rich phone system at very reasonable cost. VoIP is short for Voice over Internet Protocol and is simply a phone system that sends voice packets over computer networking. This allows a phone system to use computer wiring, for one thing. It also allows remote users,whether those users are at a remote branch office or users who are Virtual Private Networked (VPN’d), into the corporate network from home to send and receive calls just as if they were at the office.
The Benefits of Open Source VoIP Phone Systems are numerous including great features, excellent sound quality and cost savings.
An “Open Sourced” technology application is a software movement which provides software written by a community of programmers to be used without cost. What this means to you is that there is no upfront cost for the phone system nor are their ongoing licensing fees. The software is shared and therefore available to everyone.
The VoIP phone system that we implement (notice we don’t “sell” it because the software is free) is FreePBX/Asterisk. This software is used by tens of millions of users around the world in everything from very small companies to the largest corporations. The only cost a company incurs is their cost to have internet service, phone lines, hardware and installation charges. There is no charge per user, licensing or any fees for added features.
The features rival the most expensive systems (like Cisco or Avaya) including such functionality as:
- Voicemail to Email (where voicemail messages are sent as an attachment in an email message).
- Call Follow-Me (calls which aren’t answered on a desk phone can be answered on a cell phone).
- Inbound Faxing.
- Conference Bridges, ie Conference Calls.
- PC-based Call Management (PC software which allows users to see who is on the phone and to transfer calls).
- Call Queuing.
- And much more.
The sound quality of these phone systems is fantastic – especially when used with a traditional PRI (a phone line from a Telephone company). But you can also use a SIP trunk (either a dedicated circuit or over the Internet) as an alternative.
Because these phone systems are actually just software running on computer hardware, it gives us the opportunity to virtualize this hardware if you already have a Hyper-V or VMW are virtualized infrastructure.
And the cost savings go beyond just saving money on hardware and software. With faxing capabilities, you can get rid of expensive POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) lines for even more cost reductions over a traditional phone system.
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