Business VoIP on the GoBy:Michael Ventimiglia (G+)
Strides in telephony have allowed businesses greater mobile connectivity with their office(s); however, keeping this constant contact with the office has often required a variety of gadgets. While some of these devices may be lightweight and easy to use, other are just plain and heavy clunkers. That being said, many users have had to deal with the portability and usage issues associated with these gadgets. Now, however, Business VoIP service looks to bring an end to all this. With a variety of functions and services in tow, Business VoIP allows users to stay connected to the office at all times while using the devices of their choosing.
One of the primary advantages of Business VoIP lies in the service's adaptability. Users are able to get work done on the go, regardless of whether they're home, in the office, or somewhere in between. Additionally, business VoIP is fit with extensive function and feature; however, in looking to utilize the mobile function of the service the key is using one of two related solutions, the mobile app and the online portal. With the mobile app, you can use many of your office tools on your tablet or smartphone; with the online portal, you can turn any computer into your office computer, and even use it to make phone calls.
In terms of cost with apps, the top business VoIP providers all include a mobile app free of charge. In terms of function, mobile apps generally work by using your cell phone’s data plan or a local Wi-Fi-- similar to how a VoIP phone uses your internet rather than telephone lines. Apps typically turn your phone into a miniature office. Usually, they have most of the same features as office VoIP phones; therefore, you can access your call logs, read your messages, even read incoming faxes. When using the mobile app, you can even make outgoing calls with your company’s number on the outgoing caller ID. You can also have your office calls forwarded to your cell, or have your cell phone calls go directly to voice mail. In terms of workability, many providers will offer their apps for a variety of mobile phones' operating systems including iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows. Users should check compatibility with their provider.
Separate from apps are online (or web) portals. Though function ultimately varies based on provider, users can expect basic operability from online portals--including setup, notification, support, etc. Generally, the web portal works to allow users to better navigate their VoIP service. A business VoIP provider’s web portal is designed to give you the same experience as being at your desk. In order to access it, simply go to your provider’s web page and sign in. The interface will look similar to your office computer or phone, but with one important feature: the softphone. A softphone is software that allows you to make calls with your computer. Using a computer microphone and speakers or a headset, you can make calls over your provider’s network, and in most cases you can have a videoconference using your computer’s web cam. Some VoIP providers even have a feature that will ring your phone number, and then ring another number once you are connected. That way, you can talk on a “hard phone” —such as a hotel phone or grandma’s phone—and keep both the professional appearance and low price of VoIP.
Aside from the two features above, business VoIP service also allows users greater connectivity with their office(s) using the devices they already have. This is called “bring your own device” (BYOD); however, users should be aware that some providers set restrictions with BYOD devices while others do not. BYOD has a number of pros and cons; therefore, it may not be for everyone--specifically less experienced users. With this in mind, most business VoIP providers offer a variety of mobile options--all of which have similar functionality. While mobile VoIP capabilities continue to grow, users need to define their service needs and expectations prior to choosing a provider. In doing so, they will be able to better select an eligible service.