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What is a VoIP number? A VoIP number is a real phone number that is assigned to a user instead of to a specific phone. This creates the possibility to call others with that phone number using multiple devices, such as a computer, cellphone, work phone, ipad, etc. With a VoIP telephone number, you can also check your voicemails from any of these devices in order to use the number and continue work on the go. If you would like to keep the existing phone number you already have, the VoIP provider will typically give you the option to port your existing phone number to the VoIP number. Some providers may charge you a small fee for this service. How does the VoIP number work? Getting a phone number through VoIP, means that the providers will use the internet instead of traditional phone providers. Your VoIP number can also be used for other forms of communication, such as text messaging. What are the best VoIP companies? Here at BestCompany, we have hundreds of real customer reviews for dozens of VoIP companies. We have used a ranking algorithm to determine which of the companies rank the highest. Top VoIP providers How do I get VoIP? VoIP benefits with quotes from real users and experts Cost “VoIP is far cheaper! One of our clients had 200 numbers for their business and their traditional phone bill was over $2,000 a month. With VoIP, they still have those 200 numbers, plus 20 more, and their current monthly bill is $300. This is less than 25 percent of the cost for the same services and more.” — Kale Bullen, CEO of the VoIP Company Wiree “The benefits of having VoIP are noticeable. First and foremost, we receive unlimited calling to the United States and Canada. For our international locations and clients, international calls are charged at a very low per-minute rate, which has reduced expenses.” — Mac Fadra, VoIP user and CEO of MAXiM Hair Restoration "You will save a HUGE, VAST amount of money. Long distance calls are often free, all kinds of functions and features that the land-line telcos charge for are free with VOIP. You also get functions and features for free that many telephone companies don't even offer, at any price." — Mike Arman, VoIP phone user of over 15 years Mobility “With a VoIP you can effectively be anywhere with cell signal and receive calls. This is especially useful for business when you are travelling and critically in the situation we find ourselves in today with most offices closed due to coronavirus.“ — Ahmed Mir, VoIP user and founder of Nature & Bloom “VoIP numbers are easy to configure and you can use the number anywhere in the world by simply logging into your account. For instance, I use a VoIP number on Skype, and can use it regardless of where I go.” — Muhammad Hamze Shahid, an online privacy/security analysts at BestVPN.co “VoIP allows you to have a number for one purpose and another for a separate purpose so that you can easily filter and increase productivity and flexibility.” — Justin Grau, VoIP user and founder of BizDig “VoIP calls can be placed from any connected mobile phone, handset, laptop, or desktop, making it the more versatile option than the regular phone.” — Unyime Etim, tech blogger at Cruch Phone "VoIP is cloud-based, which means all our team members don't require new phone systems and can perform their job functions from their workstation computer. For those team members that have more fluid roles and might be on the move more often, there are mobile app options for most of these platforms that essentially work like WhatsApp or Telegram for text, but with calls. They simply require an internet connection." — Fadra Increased functionality "Most VoIP softwares contain more advanced features than the traditional phone like auto attendants, call forwarding, Interactive Voice Response, call recording, and speech-to-email functionality, etc.” — Etim “Our dialer allows us to track the performance of our agents, as well as the quality of our leads. This means we can constantly optimize who to call and when to call them.” — Ata, VoIP user and growth manager at L3 Funding “With VOIP you can do hot transfers, ringless voicemail drops, choose a local number even when you're calling overseas, auto recording, and can even use triple dialers if you are calling lots of numbers at the same time. The possibilities are (almost) endless!” — Karla Singson, VoIP user, and Country Manager at Scalewind Scalable “VoIP numbers are easily scalable, which makes it easier to conduct conference calls with multiple users.” — Shahid Little physical infrastructure required “Traditionally, each phone number needed a different pair of wires to connect the phone line to the onsite PABX (private analogue branch exchange). With VoIP, however, businesses can choose between an onsite digital PBX or a hosted PBX. Hosted PBX allows for the phone system to operate through the cloud whereas a digital PBX still has onsite infrastructure but with greater capabilities.” — Bullen “You save on the cost of investment to install and maintain expensive equipment for traditional phone lines.” — David Morneau, VoIP user and founder of In Beat Integration "Cloud synchronization is an important aspect of VoIP. Landlines aren't connected to the internet so they can't interact with the internet. This is extremely important in today's connected world. A Voip/Cloud phone system can sync with anything you can imagine on the web. For example, you can automatically sync call data and contact data from and to any source or CRM. Data is extremely important to businesses and most of that data was lost or offline with landlines. Now your data can sync across all of your existing web services." — Brian Peterson, VP of Engineering at Dialpad “We can integrate it seamlessly with our marketing team so we can see where each call comes from what marketing channels and better understand ROI.” — Todd Spodek, VoIP user and managing partner at Spodek Law Group “VoIP integrates extremely well with CRMs and other other business systems your employees use for customer management.” — Adem Selita, VoIP user and CEO at the Debt Relief Company
What is non-fixed VoIP and what is fixed VoIP? Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that allows you to make phone calls over the internet. Many different companies offer VoIP, but the type of VoIP offered differs across companies. Generally speaking, there are two different types of VoIP: fixed and non-fixed voip. Here are some of the important differences you should know: Identification necessary for sign up The biggest difference between fixed voip and non-fixed VoIP is that fixed VoIP requires that you tie a certain address to the number, similar to a regular phone provider. Non-fixed VoIP is a type of VoIP that is commonly used by providers, such as Sype and Google Voice. Kenney Trinh, the editor of a gadget review publication, says, “Non-Fixed VoIP allows calling worldwide numbers with a lot of anonymity. You don't need to enter your address, all you have to do is sign up like signing up to any online service without a lot of personal information. Your address isn't tied to your account.” Phone number assignment Another difference is the number that you are assigned and the number that you call from. Chelsea Brown, the CEO of Digital Mom Talk, clarified that, “A fixed VoIP phone number doesn't change whenever you make a phone call. It stays the same and is ideal for companies that need to keep the same phone number. When your number isn't fixed, you can change it as you please. This is ideal when individuals need burner phone numbers.” The price paid For fixed VoIP, it is generally provided by a specific VoIP provider, and you have to pay these companies a yearly or monthly fee. Non-fixed VoIP, however, are commonly issued by providers that offer them for free. This gives you the ability to talk to virtually anyone in the world, free of charge. The bottom line Generally speaking, fixed VoIP phone numbers are more well respected because they are less likely to be used by scammers. However, this doesn't mean that reputable companies do not use non-fixed VoIP. If your company needs to have a number that originates from a different location than where you are located or if you need to switch your number often, non-fixed VoIP is a good choice. It is also a good choice for those who have less money to spend on the numbers and are not too worried about having a completely legitimate phone number. Fixed VoIP however, is more for companies that are looking for a permanent phone number that they can use to contact customers. They are legitimate and are a great subsitute for a normal land line.
Guest Post by Dasheek Dennis Millions of people use VoIP for voice and video communication for professional and personal use. VoIP will exist as long as the internet continues to thrive. As of 2018, at least one billion people are using VoIP as their voice/video/phone service. Because its use has become ubiquitous, it is important to understand the legal implications regarding technology, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP’s influence in the technological world VoIP is cheaper and more flexible than its cellular counterpart — the smartphone. As opposed to using sometimes spotty cell service and towers to connect voice to voice, VoIP uses the internet. Its capabilities are far greater and wider as well. It can support an endless number of lines, translate voicemail to text, as well as being superior in mobility. People can access each other from various devices by simply connecting to the internet. While companies like Comcast, Vonage, and Cisco have been providing businesses with VoIP services for years, Skype, Whatsapp, Messenger, Google Voice, and Discord have been delivering inexpensive VoIP capabilities on a personal level. VoIP and internet service providers will continue to grow at a rapid pace. VoIP isn’t exactly modern, as it’s been around since the late nineties. When it comes to regulatory standards, VoIP is loosely regulated by the FCC. Numerous bills have been passed involving VoIP when it comes to taxes and security, but very few have become laws. There is an ongoing debate about how VoIP is to be viewed. Because VoIP makes use of the internet by breaking down data, turning them into packets, and transferring them over IP, it has been difficult for the FCC to classify it as a telephone service. So what is it: internet communication or telephone? The FCC exempts VoIP as telecommunication since it transfers information through the internet, and attempts to regulate it with similar standards. Legal issues Ultimately, how should we, as users and providers, consider the legal implications when dealing with VoIP? Here are some regulations and legal implications we should consider: VoIP can still be subpoenaed VoIP transmissions can be recorded and those recordings can be organized, stored, and recovered when needed. In the case where it would be needed by a court system, they can and will be subpoenaed VoIP calls can be traced, tapped, and hacked Security is always a concern with regard to VoIP. Because VoIP translates data over the internet, there is always the potential for intruders to intercept communication through malware and viruses. Your VoIP network is, at the end of the day, an IP network; it is susceptible to some of the same threats as your standard IP network. VoIP must comply with communication assistance for law enforcement The FCC requires some VoIP providers to comply with federal wiretaps in order to provide law enforcement with the ability to intercept communication between two parties without their knowledge. Regulations vary depending on state and country Although VoIP is illegal in some countries (Guyana, Libya, Oman, North Korea just to name a few), it is obviously legal in the US. Yet each state varies in regulations. In some states, VoIP providers are required to register as telecommunication providers, which makes them prone to the same regulations, taxes, and surcharges as a telecommunication service. Providers must comply with LNP Local Number Portability (LNP) allows users to keep their telephone or mobile number when switching from one service provider to another. According to the FCC’s VoIP regulations, providers must allow VoIP customers to retain the ability to port-in or out a number to an interconnected VoIP service. Accessible service to accommodate those with disabilities The FCC has made it mandatory for users over VoIP services to be able to use telecommunications relay services (TRS). This service enables people with hearing and speech disabilities to place and receive phone calls. Interconnected VoIP is 911 obligated 911 does work with VoIP, but operates differently than your standard telephone network. Consumers have the right to configure VoIP connected device locations whenever and wherever they see fit. The FFC requires VoIP providers to provide customers with 911 service as a standard, required feature. Final takeaway VoIP is becoming increasingly popular and may one day become the standard means of communication. Many businesses have abandoned landline, wired telephone services and have embraces VoIP. Though VoIP is a little shy of 30 years old, it is surprisingly loosely regulated and there is still much debate from Congress and the FCC in regards to VoIP regulatory factors. If you’re starting a business or using VoIP, seriously consider these legal implications. Dasheek Dennis writes for FreeAdvice.com. He has experience in digital marketing, copywriting, and video game design. He has also assisted numerous non-profits with content creation and grant writing.
How would you like to increase efficiency, engage employees, and provide better customer service across your entire business? Well, these are just a few of the benefits of using VoIP technology instead of landlines for your business’s phone network. With benefits like these, you’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost to introduce VoIP in every one of your locations. But the beauty of VoIP is that it can significantly reduce your overall telecommunication costs. Interested? Let’s take a look at the top six reasons for switching from landlines to VoIP for your business phone service. Reduce your business costs Increase uniformity for a stronger brand Improve customer service Increase efficiency across the business Secure your company's communications Improve remote workforce inclusivity 1. Reduce your business costs Saving money is the number one reason to use VoIP in your business. The price per call is lower, particularly for international calls, and billing is often much simpler than it is for landline services. Businesses just like yours are reducing their phone service costs by as much as 50 percent by switching to VoIP. "Gartner predicts that, "... by 2021, 90 percent of IT leaders will not purchase any new premises-based UC infrastructure." This [figure] was 50 percent … in 2018." — BusinessWire Setting up and maintaining landlines is around 60 percent more expensive than installing and running VoIP (Nextiva), and handset costs are lower for VoIP phones than for standard telephones. On top of all this, VoIP networks reduce the amount of bandwidth you use by filling the space left by silent calls (roughly 50 percent of all VoIP calls) with data to improve efficiency. VoIP systems need fewer lines than a landline service, which require more lines as the estimated number of calls goes up. With VoIP, you can consolidate your lines and simply add more in the future if the demand grows. 2. Increase uniformity for a stronger brand Working styles have transformed in the last two decades. The internet and mobile networks mean more people now work outside of an office. With a VoIP system, everyone gets to use an office number. Remote workers no longer have to use their mobile or home phone to call customers, which improves privacy, increases contactability, and reduces expense claims. All calls appear to be from the local exchange of the virtual number, making communications seamless for your customers. You can attach any number of extensions to your one business number, which means the entire business uses one phone system to put calls through. An efficient, fast, and secure phone network like this makes bottlenecks a thing of the past, giving you happier customers and a huge competitive edge. 3. Improve customer service VoIP systems enhance your customer service in a number of ways. First, they let you put calls through to multiple devices at once. That’s especially useful if the person you’re trying to reach is away from their desk, or if there’s more than one person who can help you or (even better) a waiting customer. Second, VoIP users (whether office-based or remote) can set their availability and provide automated assistance with canned responses, such as a message that explains the opening hours for their office. Additionally, they can set up the system to try multiple extensions before putting the customer through to voicemail. Third, call quality can be significantly higher on VoIP. This is because the frequency range for VoIP extends to 7000 Hz, compared with a maximum of 3400 Hz for landlines. The higher range improves voice clarity and intelligibility (GL). And finally, fourth, VoIP networks are actually more reliable than landlines. The idea that your business would be stranded if the internet was unavailable is a myth. While it is true that VoIP relies on an internet connection, it is also possible to redirect calls from a location that becomes unavailable. Sending them to a mobile device or another site instead can reduce the inconvenience of connection loss during, for example, stormy weather. 4. Increase efficiency across the business VoIP systems can improve efficiency in several ways but perhaps the best of these is that you can send VoIP calls to an email address for later action or filing. Digium estimates that using unified communications in this way can save an employee up to 40 minutes per day. Add that to the 30 minutes a day saved by being able to find an employee with the first call, and you’ve got a significant time and cost-saving. What’s more, calls can be recorded. Playing back a recorded call can allow for greater accuracy as well as improved employee monitoring and protection. 5. Secure your company's communications Cloud-based VoIP solutions give your IT team greater control over in- and outbound calls. Call logging and traffic monitoring can be used to assess staff productivity and find peaks and troughs, which can be particularly useful for customer service employee scheduling. All good quality VoIP service providers have firewalls and intrusion prevention systems in place, but advanced features that depend on your provider and tariff can include: ring-fencing geo locations limiting call routes limiting access implementing credit thresholds You can also combine your VoIP technology with a VPN (a virtual private network) to encrypt connections and further protect the communications of your employees. 6. Improve remote workforce inclusivity There has been a rapid increase in 'bring your own device' (BYOD) in recent years creating a large mobile workforce of hot-deskers. These employees often work at remote locations or from home, and it makes sense for them to work from a portable device that they are familiar with. And when they are in the office, according to Gartner, BYOD workers bring an average of 1.7 devices with them. The risk with BYOD business methods is that the employee does not feel as much a part of the company. They’ve got no permanent office, desk, computer, or colleagues nearby - and that can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. VoIP can help reduce these feelings. Web conferencing is a great way to do this, and it’s incredibly simple over VoIP. As well as the well-being benefits of increased contact with the office, BYOD workers also benefit from: instant messaging virtual meetings sending documents sending faxes to email getting voicemail into their email inbox Remote employees can access company directories and voicemail, just as they would in your office. For employees who spend time out of the office at appointments, the ability to video or audio conference with the office is a bonus. They don't have to travel back to the office after a meeting and they can consult with the team from wherever they happen to be, which reduces travel time and expense claims. Is your multi-location business ready to reap the benefits of VoIP? There are compelling reasons to make the change from landline to VoIP. That average 50% cost-saving alone is difficult to ignore. However, as you can see, there are more advantages to VoIP than a simple cost reduction. Perhaps most importantly, your business will appear as one cohesive brand to your customers, and that can only be an advantage in today’s market. With VoIP services becoming more reliable, more secure, and more cost-effective every year, it’s surely only a matter of time before you make the switch. Sam O'Brien is the Senior Website Optimisation & User Experience Manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a global UCaaS systems provider. Sam has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams. He has written for websites such as BambooHR and Vault. You can contact him here.