The most common reason for considering VoIP is the cost savings afforded by making calls over broadband. However, as well as being able to make free calls between VoIP users, many services also offer savings over standard fixed-line to local, national, international and mobile numbers.
Significant savings can be made on legacy ISDN circuit and landline rentals. These are variable, but can quickly add up depending on the size of the organisation. In addition savings can also be made on the capital cost of a physical PBX. VoIP also provides complete cost control on the amount spent each month, with packages that give unlimited calls to local and national numbers for a fixed monthly cost and capped rates mobile breakout and international destinations.
Software that allows you to use a "softphone" on a local PC, allows staff to have the ability to work from anywhere. VoIP calls are directed via a telephone number, and not to a fixed location, so the location is irrelevant to business partners and customers. As incoming phone calls can be automatically routed to where you are connected to the internet, staff can make and receive calls using the same number wherever they are located.
Enhanced business operations
As well as features such as three-way calling, call forwarding, voicemail and caller ID, VoIP services also offer a number of advanced features (Unified Comms tools) including:
- video calls and video conferencing
- integrated collaboration tools like instant messaging and presence
There are no specific NHS standards for voice and IP telephony services.
If an organisation procures a hosted VoIP solution, the rules around security, handling and storing of data and the correct IG controls, such as off-shoring, should be considered when planning and negotiating service requirements with suppliers.