As the Internet has slowly been taking over the primacy as the most important medium of communication for millions of people around the world in the last decade, it is to be expected that we are experiencing the widespread popularity of Internet telephony as a very important form of communication. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, designed to transmit voice over a computer connection, was developer long ago, at the time of the first public computer networks, created in the first half of the 1970s. However, this technology reached real popularity only at the end of the twentieth century, with the advent of the World Wide Web, when the number of independent software companies, attracted by the potential in this field, turned to develop solutions for this form of communication.
The first versions of Internet telephony, despite its great capabilities, also had a very serious flaw, which was reflected in the inability to communicate with fixed telephone connections. The problem has been solved with the development of PBXs, which are slowly replacing the traditional ones and allow call forwarding from all possible sources, including computers connected via VoIP, as well as other devices using this protocol.
The most important reasons you should consider using VoIP
Compared to the standard telephony, VoIP has several significant comparative advantages, owing to its increasing popularity worldwide, the most important being the low cost of exploitation. Namely, if you make PC-to-PC calls often, they are free of charge, that is, you will virtually get them by paying the monthly price of your internet connection. More importantly, the number of these calls is by no means limited, except for the bandwidth of your internet connection. At the same time, the calls you make to the landline phones are far cheaper than standard telephony. Whether they are local, long-distance, continental or intercontinental calls, their cost will usually only be a fraction of what you would have o pay to the telephone company for these calls.
In addition, in developed countries, taxes on interviews conducted in this way are also lower, and this also has an overall lower cost.
Of course, in this segment, it is important to know about the possibility of making multiple phone calls at the same time – namely, while there is sufficient bandwidth of internet connection, it is possible to make a practically unlimited number of calls at one location, which greatly adds to the flexibility of the solution, reduces the initial implementation costs, but also those made during the use.
A very significant feature is complete independence from the site itself, which means that a certain number is available at any location on the planet, assuming there is an adequate internet connection. You just need your computer or a proper VoIP device with you and connect to the internet to be able to talk.
Registering for RingCentral is fast, allowing customers to simply get an assigned phone number, transfer an existing number, or request something more individual, such as a toll-free number. VoIP comes in the form of a new service called DigitalLine, which enables customers to make voice calls through their broadband web connections. The service will work with PCs with software or any standard SIP-compatible phone.
RingCentral allows small and medium-sized businesses to have the features of a smart PBX. The service is getting a little complicated for companies that dig deep into features, but RingCentral has provided numerous web tutorials – including videos – that really help. Just check the support section.
The basic configuration, however, is light enough. This included registering your account, receiving your phone number, and setting up a server so customers hear what you want. After that, deeper customization is mostly a matter of configuring call rules. These features include call forwarding, voicemail holding, call routing, and even viewing and blocking calls. The process is pretty straightforward once you get familiar with the interface.
Setting up some features, such as extending and holding music, works differently to how it is based on hardware IP PBXs. You add extensions from your RingCentral portal page, and the service automatically adds new numbers to your business directory. As soon as you create the extension, the person who will use it can log in, select or change the password, download the software, and adjust the phone settings.
The web portal also monitors voicemail and displays individual users and new and saved messages. Music retention may be in select RingCentral selections or tunes that you download.
RingCentral offers four different plans:
- Essentials for $19.99
- Standard for $24.99
- Premium for $34.99
- Ultimate for $49.99
Every plan is per user per month plan. RingCentral also offers a 30-day full refund guarantee and 24/7 customer support via phone, email and live chat support.
Nextiva has been one of the best VoIP providers since 2006, and its highly customizable plans are suitable for small businesses and enterprises. Nextiva offers flexible rates depending on the length of the contract. They are offering a 24 and 36-month agreement, but the longer the contract period is you will get better rates.
Nextiva is also offering add-on features that will be additionally charged. The good thigh is that every customer will pay as much as the features are expanded. This means that every add on will charged per user on a monthly basis. That’s why Nextiva is suitable for both small businesses and enterprises because their customers can add as many features as they need. This is what makes them competitive on the market. Some features are included in all business plans:
- Free CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) system for the best communication between companies, customers and potential clients.
- Toll-free number and free minutes depending on the package you choose.
- Unlimited Internet fax
- Call forwarding and call scheduling
Nextiva offers 3 VoIP plans:
Essential plan has some of the basic features like unlimited calls to US/CA, toll-free number with up to 1000 free minutes and unlimited internet fax. When it comes to some advanced features there are unlimited audio conference calls for up to 4 participants, mobile app calling and the productivity features (Voicemail and Google plus Outlook interactions).
Professional plan has up to 2,500 toll-free minutes, unlimited features like SMS, audio conference calls for up to 40 participants and video calling. Of course, the productivity features list is expanded and contains voice analytics and call recording
Enterprise plan is the best for larger companies because this plan has a larger list of features: up to 10,000 toll-free minutes and several features with unlimited options: unlimited internet fax, SMS, audio conference calls with the unlimited number of participants, and unlimited video calling.
Nextiva offers a free trial for Professional and Enterprise plan.
NextOS is a platform from Nextiva designed to provide the best customer and management communication. The platform includes Nextiva Analytics, Nextiva Voice, CRM service, chat, Nextiva Drive, and many more features. It can be customized easily and you can also use it on your mobile or tablet.
Nextiva is ideal for both small businesses and enterprises. Small businesses can save their budget by purchasing the plan that covers all the essential features for smaller communities and still have premium HD voice with the latest generation of VoIP phones. At the same time, bigger companies can also benefit from Nextiva’s business plans with more advanced features with many unlimited audio and conference calls for all their employees and clients.
Phone.com is one of the most affordable VoIP services and it offers more than 40+ features to customize for your specific business needs. When you pick your plan, the company is offering to choose if you want a local, toll-free, or vanity number. You can also use your current number if you don’t want to change it because you have a long tradition with your clients. No special hardware is needed because their platform supports mobile devices, softphones, and physical phones as well.
They offer two types of plans: Pay per minute plans and Unlimited plans. All these plans have many features with no extra charge:
- Call Queuing
- Voice to Email
- Fax to Email
- Call routing
- Call screening
- Call Blocking
- International dialing
- Audio conferencing
and a few more.
Pay per minute plans are Base plan, Plus plan, and Pro plan. The first one includes 300 monthly minutes with 5,000 free SMS and unlimited user extensions. Plus plan is extended with 500 monthly minutes, 10,000 SMS, 2 local or toll-free numbers, and several advanced features like voicemail to text and few more. With the Pro plan you will get 1,000 monthly minutes, 20,000 SMS, 3 local or toll-free numbers, plus business tools like Call analytics and 300 call recording minutes.
Unlimited plans are different because their clients will get unlimited monthly minutes and unlimited user extension regardless of the plan they choose.
Phone.com also offers many add-on features that will cost a little bit more. For example, you can add more minutes for international dialing, human transcription feature per voicemail or automated transcription per extension, and more.
Video Conferencing feature
This feature is included in every Phone.com plan. Depending on the plan you choose you will get 10, 25, or 100 participants allowed. Every plan includes Document sharing feature, Screen sharing, unlimited meeting duration, 256-bit encryption for security, iOS app, and customer support.
Phone.com platform is integrated with AllProWebTools a cloud-based CRM platform, Haptik, Comm100, Zoho, Zapier, Salesforce, and many more.
Phone.com is a reliable VoIP service for small businesses that want to expand their ability to communicate within their company and also with their clients. With great and low international rates, you can use their platform anywhere in the world. Phone.com platform is compatible with Windows, Android and iOS and the interface is pretty easy to use and it doesn’t take a lot of time to get familiar with its possibilities. Their offer is competitive on the market because the company tends to offer more favorable plans with their Pay-per-minute plans and the Unlimited plan’s membership.