Mind Explorer Technology provide VOIP solutions to clients, VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, is a basic communication medium for Audio Video Conferencing.
Software Phones vs. Hardware Phones
Learn about the main differences between these two types of phones and hear how VoIP for small business can boost flexibility. VoIP for small business bundles phone, data, and video into one unified service so you can do more with less.
But even with this realization, you have a multitude of choices. Larger businesses need to select between on-premises Private Branch Exchange (PBX) hardware and hosted solutions, weighing their potential benefits (i.e., advanced functionality and total customizability) against associated costs. Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) need to make that same choice, but also weigh their current needs and budget against what they expect those needs to become in the future. For many, the cost of a traditional PBX system may not only be beyond the reach of their current operating budget but may also not make much long-term sense.
Furthermore, when you're starting or running a small business, you need to be devoting the majority of your time and efforts into your core business in order to succeed. Wasting time on purchasing, implementing, and managing infrastructure can be extremely costly, both in capital outlay and time removed from building the business.
Modern Features of Business Phone Systems
The four VoIP solutions we did test cover a wide range of features and options. Some, such as Finality Hosted PBX and Ring Central Office, are geared towards larger businesses, and offer high-end enterprise features, but they offer rates that fit into SMB budgets. Others, such as Citrix Grasshopper, are very much geared towards the smaller end of the SMB market and provide the basics of a modern phone system-without the need for any on-premises equipment or even fixed phone lines and, though limited in features, are extremely cost-effective.
Central Office and Finality Hosted PBX will generally require some on-premises hardware such as specific desk and cordless VoIP phones preconfigured to work with the hosted PBX service. These phones connect to the provider over the Internet and function exactly as you would imagine a business phone should, but the phone system running those phones is located in the cloud rather than the Telco closet in the basement. Self-service management and configuration of these systems generally occurs through a Web-based portal, and features such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, call queuing, hold music or audio, extension assignments, and similar business capabilities are all managed there.
The Right Internet Connection
Most of these VoIP solutions will require stable and consistent Internet connectivity at every location where the wired phones are to be used. In many cases, standard business-class Internet service with suitable bandwidth will suffice, though the use of Quality of Service (QoS) configuration on a business-class Internet router may be necessary to prioritize voice traffic over other Internet traffic in order to maintain good call quality. Some hosted PBX providers offer assistance with this type of configuration on existing customer hardware, assuming that hardware can support QoS configuration. Other providers will sell a specific piece of network hardware with the proper QoS configuration for the business to install that will ensure that call quality is prioritized.
possible. Some hosted PBX providers do offer dedicated circuits that can be installed to directly connect the business to the provider but those are generally quite costly. Fortunately, there are other ways to use hosted PBX solutions without requiring Internet-connected phones.
Look for Extended Functionality
Some hosted PBX providers, such as Fonality, also offer extended services such as call center features that can be used to design intricate and complex call routing and call management scenarios for important queues such as sales and support with extensive queue and time-to-answer service level agreement (SLA) monitoring and reporting capabilities. Some also offer voicemail transcription, fax services, and other communication integrations such as the ability to integrate a customer relationship management (CRM) application with the PBX to enable one-click outbound calling and retrieval of customer records or other information when a call comes into the system.
FEATURED IN THIS ROUNDUP
Fonality Hosted PBX
Fonality is a feature-rich, business-class voice over IP (VoIP) solution with extensive call routing, IVR, and call center features, with a very capable unified communications (UC) application. Its one-on-one assisted setup and included desk phones are major bonuses as well.
RingCentral Office (for Business)
RingCentral Office (for Business) is a solid business-class voice over IP (VoIP) solution for a company of just about any size. If you need a phone solution with robust features and service level agreements (SLAs), RingCentral Office (for Business) hits the high notes.
Citrix Grasshopper is a great business-class voice over IP (VoIP) solution for very small businesses that need a basic phone system fast.
Microsoft Skype for Business Online
If you're already involved with Office 365, then Microsoft Skype for Business Online might make sense for you. But those looking for a vendor-neutral business-class voice over IP (VoIP) solution will likely need to look elsewhere