You may be thinking of migrating to a VoIP phone system instead of using a traditional phone bank setup, but where to start?
The plethora of options available might seem like a lot to take in, so we’ve broken down a few of them for you.
Pick the type of network solution that’s right for you (Choosing a business phone system – a buyer’s guide) and then you can start choosing what you need to make that network produce for you.
Your existing phones
You may already be in luck. There exists a device known as an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) or VoIP gateway that you can use to connect any existing phones on a VoIP network.
Obviously, with a legacy phone you won’t be able to utilize all the features available on a phone designed for VoIP. But, you can still access the network and all of its benefits. This is a great option if you want to hit the ground running with an inexpensive conversion to the new system.
Designed specifically for a VoIP network, IP phones maximize the great VoIP foundation with features to make you more productive than ever. And they don’t even need an expert to install – almost all are plug-and-play. There are many different features to take into account as you decide what’s right for you, but it’s not too difficult to find out what you need. Simply think about who is using the phone and why, and you’ll get a good grasp of what to select.
A lot of IP phones have a display of some sort – either color or monochrome. Monochrome displays are typically cheaper and geared towards displaying caller ID or a small selection of internal extensions. Color displays are more expensive, but may also offer interactive capabilities like video conferencing or web surfing.
Almost all IP phones have this feature, but some have more available buttons than others.
Depending on the VoIP solution you opt for, additional features are accessible from a particular button on your phone. The nice thing about programmable keys is that even if the phone doesn’t have a dedicated button for the feature, you can add what you need most via a button the user (or system administrator) designates.
Additionally, this feature is handy for saving time, such as dialing the number of a client or department that you check in with frequently. Or maybe this extra key is perfect for transferring calls to your mobile phone with a cell handoff function that not everyone else uses.
If you or your team are on your phones often, a headset makes a world of difference.
Most phones have a port on the back or bottom dedicated for a headset and the included software to support their use. If you plan on picking up headsets, double-check for this capability and compatibility before you buy.
Power over Ethernet
Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a handy feature for cutting down on installation clutter. As the name implies, it combines the power cable and the connection cable into the same unit. Not only does it make desks look cleaner but moving the phones around is very easy. If you have people moving from desk to desk every so often, they can just take the physical phone with them rather than reprogramming with every move.
Just plug in the single VOIP network cable and you’re good to go.
These are just a few of the valuable features that you can expect to utilize with the new VoIP phone system.
And there are a lot of brands to choose from, the biggest being Polycom, Cisco and Grandstream. But it’s really all about the features and price points that work for you. Don’t discount the phone just because you haven’t heard of the brand.
It pays to do your research and see which features are must-haves and which are nice-to-haves. Again, just think about who is using the phone and why. But if you have any specific questions, you can always ask the experts. We’re always ready and eager to help.