Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a methodology and group of technologies that have been designed for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. Other terms that have been commonly associated with VoIP are IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband (VoBB), broadband telephony, IP communications and broadband phone service.
These terms are used interchangeably in most cases, but technically speaking they are not quite the same thing. Voice over IP, IP telephony and Internet telephony all refer to the channeling of voice calls and voice data through IP networks.
This allows existing facilities and resources that are already used for data transmission to be harnessed, thereby eliminating the cost of expensive line dedication as is the case with public switched telephone networks (PSTN). One of the main advantages that VoIP brings to users is considerable cost cutting.
Internet telephony has been around for quite a few years. I remember my days as an IT manager and attempting to set up an IP phone system in 1998. Unfortunately for me, it is only fairly recently that this technology has become reliable and ubiquitous enough to be a serious choice for business.
Internet telephony was once considered an oddity that was often plagued, as in my circumstances, with garbled and dropped calls. Advancements that we have seen these days show that a well-planned and implemented VoIP system can provide call quality and reliability that rivals mobile phone or landline calls. It also provides a great sense of security because the company can manage security and service quality in-house.
One business area that this technology has really made an impact in is conference calling. New devices offer crystal clear audio performance with an easy to use interface. VoIP offers more than just clear audio. Companies like Skype have shown us that we can take advantage of being able to include video in our calls. The advancements that have been made in 4G LTE technology offer greatly increased data speeds, this means that we can view video in much higher definition than ever before.
In addition to hardware advancements such as IP conference phones, we also have companies that are developing software designed to simplify conference calls. This software can do all of the work to set up conference calls by checking everyone’s schedule to automatically determine the most opportune time, send messages to everyone on the list and allow everyone to conveniently connect.
Thanks to the combination of VoIP and conferencing software, it is not even necessary to be in the office to participate in a conference call. Gone are the days of trying to schedule a call and making sure that everyone was present and gathered in one room, huddled around a speaker phone.
The recent advancements that we have seen in several areas, such as wireless technology, VoIP and software make it possible for companies of any size to have meaningful conference calls. The fact that the software will also allow you to use your computer to process the call gives the added benefit of being able to include video. This is a major factor if you need to discuss diagrams or drawings.
Using VoIP for conference calls gives a company much greater control over the entire process. The fact that the call is going through the network allows for security options to be in place, it also allows for the call to be routed to a phone or computer, thus giving more flexibility to everyone. As we see more advancements being made, we will also see more benefits.