VoIP is a great money saver for both businesses and residential users. Although the cost savings are greatest for businesses which have a lot of inter-branch telephone communication, substantial saving can also be realized by individuals who make or would like to make a lot of long-distance calls.

Business Applications

Businesses with branch offices (both national and international) can realize substantial savings on their telephone expenses by using VoIP. All calls within the organization will be treated as local calls even if they are originating from another country. In addition, local phone numbers can be set up in a number of places throughout the world, allowing people to call the company at the same cost as a local call.

VoIP also has features that can make interoffice communication easier and more effective. Conference calls can be set up so that many different people in various locations can participate. Participants can be in the same building or in another country. Even people who are outside the office network can take part. Individuals can be invited to a conference call by e-mail and the conference administrator has the ability to drop parties from the conference at any time.

Business-class voicemail and call routing are part of most corporate VoIP packages. When calling into an organization, people can route their calls by dialling an extension number or specifying the person’s name or department they wish to reach. Unanswered calls are automatically sent to voicemail.

Many of the VoIP functions can be automated and pre-programmed so that (for example) certain individuals have restricted access to departments within the organization, or certain voice messages are played at specific times of the day.

Residence Applications

Individuals can also benefit from VoIP. As well as the savings on local and long-distance calls there are all the extra features which are included in the basic VoIP service. Traditional phone companies charge extra for things like call display, call forwarding, and call return, but all of these things are included in the basic packages which most VoIP service providers offer.

VoIP also has special features which the traditional phone company cannot offer. You can have many different phone numbers in different locations all routed to your residential phone. This allows people to call you at local rates even if they are halfway around the world. It also allows you to set up separate lines for various family members — perhaps your teenager would prefer to have her own telephone number.

People who travel a lot can take their VoIP phone with them and plug it into any broadband connection anywhere in the world. This allows you to make calls to friends and neighbours back home at the same cost as a local call — no matter where in the world you are. People can also reach you by dialling your local VoIP phone number. The call is routed through the Internet to your current location whether it be Hong Kong or Timbuktu.

When calling from a VoIP phone to PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), the cost is much cheaper than what the traditional phone company charges. But guess what? When calling other VoIP subscribers, the calls are absolutely free! The more of your friends and relatives who use VoIP the cheaper everybody’s phone bill will be.