You hear about people using the Internet as a telephone service, and how it can save hundreds of dollars in phone bills. But what exactly is ‘VoIP’? Is it just another popular buzzword and passing fad… or will this actually have staying power to change the way we make phone calls?
VoIP stands for voice over IP (internet protocol), and we think it might just be the way you’ll be talking over the phone in the very near future. It transmits the sounds you make over the Internet infrastructure, using the IP protocol. Sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo, so just why do so many people get excited by this technology?
VoIP is cheap, super cheap… in fact, sometimes even free. VoIP eliminates those recurring costs that come with POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) while gaining cool, innovative functionality. But we’ll get to the cool functionality in a minute… So, what do you need to use VoIP? A lot of bells and whistles?
Nope – you don’t need to be a geek or have a lot of “things” to start taking advantage of the benefits of Voice over IP – you only need an Internet connection and minimal hardware like a VoIP home phone system to start making free calls right away. For reasons like these, the VoIP market continues to expand rapidly, with predicted numbers rising into the millions in just a few years. In fact, a recent Yankee Group Consumer Survey told us that 43 percent of consumers who currently don’t have a home phone would be interested in getting one if there were no monthly fee, a use case where VoIP fits perfectly.
So, you mentioned cool functionality? What’s that all about? Well, when you think about it… what new innovation has your regular land line brought to you since touch tone was introduced in the 1970s? Probably not much since. While each provider of VoIP varies, with Ooma, features like caller ID, call waiting, voice mail and 911 service are all included at no extra charge. Also, most VoIP providers, including Ooma, offer pennies per minute international calling rates which becomes a thrilling proposition if you talk to friends, family and colleagues overseas with some regularity. The list of cool stuff goes on… and on… and on, but we don’t have enough time to get into it now; we promise to cover that in future posts.
There are so many ways of using and benefitting from VoIP technology. We recognize that every household and use case is different. How will your household benefit from VoIP? Or are you already on board with the trend? Let us know in the comments.