As we discussed in our white paper, “Unified Communications and Mobility,” VoIP is at the heart of how mobility is impacted in corporate America.
Businesses and the vendors who support them are turning away from facility specific Digital PBX (private branch exchange) phone systems and toward VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony, which enables calls to travel over data lines or the internet as data packets. VoIP services are typically offered as Hosted PBX (cloud-based business phone system) or as a SIP trunk which allows calls from an IP phone system to be made and taken over the internet rather than the traditional ‘Ma Bell” telephone network.
The rapid adoption of VoIP has resulted in what the industry commonly refers to as, “Business Mobility.” Business mobility put simply describes the trend of more and more employees conducting business outside the normal office environment. These employees are using a variety of devices like smartphones and tablets to connect to the cloud and perform work-related tasks.
Additionally, because VoIP is IP-based, other products are able to be integrated, creating what’s known as a “unified communications” solution.
VoIP Enables Mobility
Unlike its digital counterpart, VoIP is a great enabler of business mobility. Much of it has to do with the fact that IP-based voice services work like a computer, not a traditional phone system. Because of this, a robust set of features allow users to manage their call routing in such a way that callers never really know where their contact is physically located.
Behind the scenes, there’s equally as much flexibility. In the old days, the phone company would sell a business a phone line. That phone line would have a phone number attached to it. The phone at the other end of the line (or extension) answered, or the caller left a voicemail.
In today’s landscape, VoIP and SIP providers house phone numbers on servers independent of the physical line. VoIP administrators can rout a call coming over a certain phone number any variety of ways. They can route the call to an extension, a group of extensions, an external number, or a different SIP trunk all together.
Real World Example
Sally, a sales rep at a plumbing supply distributor, stops in the office for her morning sales meeting. While at her desk compiling that week’s sales numbers, she receives two calls from clients looking for status on a recent order. She answers both calls on her desk phone and then logs in to her phone system’s web portal. She clicks a button, marking her presence as “in a meeting.” She has the call routing programmed to send all of her calls to the sales assistant when Sally is in a meeting or on vacation. When she’s simply busy or away, the calls route to her voicemail, and when she’s mobile or working from her home office, the incoming calls route to her cell phone.
While at her home office later that day, Sally receives a call on her cell phone from her company’s business phone system. She answers the call as though she’s sitting at the same desk in her office she sat that morning. The caller in both scenarios simply dialed Sally’s extension. They have no idea if she’s at her desk, on a plane, or in a Starbucks.
This is business mobility in action, and it’s happening in thousands of companies across the country. Sally isn’t unique in what she’s doing. VoIP is what’s enabling her productivity away from the office.
Her company is also looking at implementing a unified communications solution where Sally would log on to one web interface or mobile app and be able to email, chat, call, conference, and video conference from the same place.
To learn more about business mobility and unified communications, download our free white paper.