VoIP technology is a hub of innovation within the technology space. In the mind of many IT leaders, telephony is a technology that’s necessary, but somewhat outdated. Yet new developments and possibilities for VoIP are encouraging mid-size businesses to invest. Today, a VoIP system is more than just a telephone system — although it delivers flexible telephone options cost effectively. It integrates seamlessly with chat, voicemail delivery through email, and collaboration tools. VoIP also provides the flexibility companies need to connect remote offices and disparate locations to a single system anywhere their people have high-speed internet. If you’re interested in making a larger business case for VoIP or in learning how to do more with your technology, here’s a closer look at the cutting-edge applications your business should be exploring in the year ahead.
Voice-Based Smart Office Systems
One trend that’s encouraging offices to embrace VoIP is the move toward the smart office. The smart office — similar to the smart home — is enabling voice-based devices to bring greater levels of control to the office. Whether it’s using an Alexa device to reorder office supplies with just a few words or taking voice control of your lights and temperature, smart offices are using voice as the platform for interacting with the environment. Going beyond the touch screen opens up a whole range of possibilities, and VoIP systems will potentially serve as the foundation for networking and delivering these services at scale. Imagine, for example, an office manager who can ensure that the exterior smart locks on every location are operational at scheduled closing times or that all the lights are shut off before the weekend. Anyone left in the office can simply use their own voice control to keep the lights on in their designated area. Smart office systems have the potential to save time, lighten your environmental footprint and increase your productivity. VoIP will enable this technology to reach scale — particularly across multiple locations — without dramatically adding to the communications costs required to power them.
Continuity and Mobile User Integration
Continuity is a term that’s taking on important context in our fast-moving, highly mobile world. It refers to the fact that a user may begin a task on one device and continue it on another. For customers, this might begin by browsing or trying a product in a store, comparing prices on a mobile device, and then finally making the purchase on their computer at work. From an internal communications perspective, continuity takes into account the wide variety of devices your team can use on the move. They might begin a call in the office and then need to transfer it to their mobile device to continue talking while they walk to their next meeting.
Unified Communications and Collaboration Tools
Your team is global. Executives work from their mobile devices. Contractors telecommute from a remote office in another state. Your sales team stays on top of meetings, presentations and paperwork while on the road or between client meetings. A unified communications and collaboration suite is allowing companies to merge meeting and messaging capabilities into their VoIP services. Do you need to have an in-depth conversation with a key collaborator? Schedule a video call. Have a quick question for your busy boss? Use chat to get the information you need without interrupting their day. As VoIP solutions integrate more options for communications and collaboration, two effects are occurring. Companies of different sizes are gaining access to features that enable them to connect at a different level. And as providers watch the way customers utilize their software, new innovations and features are being added to create an ever-richer user experience.
Customer Outreach and Call Center Solutions
VoIP is largely viewed as an internal technology, one that helps your team be more productive and connect with each other. Yet a number of solutions are helping to power call centers and outreach campaigns with VoIP. From AI-assisted dialing and call routing to marketing drip campaigns focused on text messaging, there are a variety of applications that work in tandem with VoIP. Marketing, sales and customer support applications are leveraging the flexibility of VoIP to scale up their operations. It’s helping control costs, deliver reliable results and integrate with an organization’s larger workflow and project management tools.
With an app or a whiteboard shared as part of a collaboration suite, users can brainstorm in real time and share mind maps of their latest strategic process. Bringing this capability to the virtual world — particularly in the moment during meetings and presentations — helps bring an immediacy that forges deeper relationships and kicks productivity up a notch. Moving forward, we can expect to see this feature integrated into VOIP more widely and have applications that go into different parts of the organization, from working through financials to exploring new capabilities for product development.
VoIP contributes significant value to the companies. It begins with uniting disparate users and locations under a single phone system simplifying and centralizing the process of adding, changing features, and deleting phone users, and transferring calls with ease. Add a layer of individual collaboration tools on top of that, and companies can take their performance to a whole new level. Yet the possibilities for VoIP don’t stop there. Thanks to innovation in the space — from products currently on the market to those in development — a strong VoIP connection is going to enable greater productivity, proactive customer service and personal collaboration in whole new ways. It’s not just about new technologies hitting the market; it’s about reinventing the way traditional business communications paradigms take shape and impact the way we work.