VoIP Office Phones Guide: Everything You Need to Know
Are you in the market for VoIP Office Phones? If so, welcome to the latest technology that has been saving many businesses substantial amounts, especially with long-distance and international calls. VoIP office phones, also known as voice over Internet protocol, use high-speed Internet to communicate internally and with others outside the business. VoIP office phones act as a unified communication tool that is compatible with third-party apps as well. Depending on the VoIP office phones you need, your service provider, and your own other requirements, you may need to get special VoIP phones that connect through the Internet, not your old phone company lines.
Phone System for VoIP Office Phone
One of the main things to focus on when looking for the office phones you need is to find the VoIP office phone system compatible with the VoIP office phone you are going to choose. The VoIP office phone systems could be landline-based phone systems, On-Premise VoIP Phone Systems, or Cloud Based VoIP systems. Each has its own pros and cons.
Types of VoIP Office Phone
Depending on the office phones you need, you can select your VoIP office phone from various types. These include
- Desktop VoIP office Phones
- Wireless VoIP office phone
- VoIP conference phones
- Bluetooth Headsets
VoIP Office Phone features
These include the following
- Caller ID
- Call Transfer
- Call Forward
- Call Hold
- Call Log
- HD Audio
- Custom ringtone
- Automated Attendant
- Do Not Disturb
These are only a few of the many features that VoIP office phones support.
Key issues concerning the VoIP Office Phone
When reviewing VoIP phones and features for the office phones you need, be aware of the following issues concerning the VoIP office phones:
A VoIP Office Phone can cost more than $100 and the more features you need, the more you pay. Most VoIP office phones have LCD screens with the most expensive ones offering video capability. For example, the Cisco Small Business Pro SPA 508G, costs about $170 and has similar functions comparable to a regular phone, with a simple display, and functions like re-dial, and mute key. At the higher end, you may consider the Polycom VVX 1500 - IP video phone, which sells for almost $1,000 and offers a touch-screen capability along with lots of functionalities. If you’re considering a wireless VoIP office phone, you can expect to pay an average of $200-$300 each.
Most VoIP office phones come with a manufacturer warranty of a year, but double-check on it. For example, Cisco Small Business Pro has a five (5) year hardware warranty. In certain cases, the warranty may have been extended for free, or it may cost you more. Depending on where you purchase your VoIP office phones, the vendor may offer additional warranties. Be sure you understand how the warranty works– if you need to bring the phone in or if they can be repaired at your place of business. VoIP office phones are not cheap and you should protect your investment by getting proper warranties -- some may include replacement of phones, which can be valuable.
Many VoIP office phone systems incorporate a configuration assistance feature. This helps in the configuration and implementation of VoIP office phones. Cisco Small Business Pro ESW 500 series has a Cisco Configuration Assistant (CCA). The CCA can help you in setting up the VoIP Office phone network for no additional cost.
- Business Continuity Plan
Ensure that your VoIP office phone provider has a business continuity plan in place to deal with any unanticipated situation. The downtime time should be minimum and crisis management should be quick.
- Scalability of VoIP Office Phones
Any good VoIP office phone is going to have a high level of scalability. You should be able to get add-on features or add new extensions in as little lead time as possible, with just a few clicks. This is especially important for growing businesses to be able to access these features in a simple and easy manner.
- Number of Lines
The VoIP office phone system you chose must be according to the office phones you need. For example, if you have 5 phone lines in your business, you will need a VoIP office phone system that can accommodate this many lines. The Cisco Small Business Pro SPA 508G supports 8 lines, while the more expensive, Polycom VVX 1500 - IP video phone accommodates only 6 lines. Don’t forget employees in the field or on Wi-Fi when considering the number of lines. Make sure the VoIP office phone allows for extra lines when needed. Generally, you need about 90kbs of bandwidth to add a new line.
- IT Department
Many small businesses have an in-house information technology (IT) person or a contractor, who helps the business on a part-time basis. Make sure this person knows of the office phone you need and is involved in your purchasing process. IT people know about behind-the-scenes technology and can give you good advice on which phone system would work best with the existing network. A person working with IT may know about companies and brands with good reputations in the marketplace and can stir you in the right direction.
Generally VoIP office phones today are really secure but still, some security concerns exist. Make sure the VoIP office phone provider meets the security requirements. For example, Cisco Small Business Pro SPA8800 uses state-of-the-art technology to ensure the level of security is maintained.
VoIP office phone technology is here to stay, and you may as well be part of it, benefiting your firm with great savings and efficiencies. You have a wide variety of choices in the marketplace for the office phones you need, and to review lots of technical information that may not be familiar to you. Take your time when deciding what VoIP office phone will be a good fit for your firm and consider your long-term needs, not just the immediate situation. Happy shopping!