Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony and the unified communications (UC) platforms of which it is are pivotal part are both highly competitive spaces, with many vendors offering solutions that, on first glance, seem mostly the same. Granted, the underlying value propositions of VoIP and UC are similar from one platform to the next – all of them offer, at least in theory, alternatives to costly reliance on the inflexible private branch exchanges (PBXes) that have long dominated business communications systems.
At the same time, not all VoIP and UC suites are created equal, and their respective performances in the real world vary widely. How can you distinguish a solution that will benefit your organization from one that might ultimately underwhelm? Here's what to pay attention to when evaluating your options:
How much control you have
Setting up a UC system, especially one that's on-premise, often requires a lot of planning, making it important to have an experienced partner who can guide you through the process. The flexibility to choose your service providers, configurations and equipment leases is also paramount.
Premises UC from Teo Tech is designed to give you control over your UC deployment and maximize the value of your existing IT infrastructures and networks. This solution gives you the freedom to:
- Connect to SIP trunks, Primary Rate Interface lines and analogy systems with ease.
- Lease UC equipment so that you can quickly upgrade key devices without needing to invest in rapidly depreciating assets.
- Pick the telcos that are right for you and provide the optimal balance of transport types within a modern wide area network.
The ecosystem of compatible applications
The "unified" in unified communications can refer to a wide possible spectrum of applications, so the question is which ones, specifically, are compatible with a given solution. A few are mainstays across different offerings, including VoIP, video and instant messaging, while others are not as prominent but no less important in adding value to the platform. Keep an eye out for services such as:
- Least-cost routing: UC has the potential to handle least-cost routing much more efficiently than a PBX due to more memory allowing for larger routing tables.
- Softphone clients: VoIP and UC enable telephony beyond deskphones; through softphones, calls can easily be taken on a PC, Mac or mobile device.
- Fax services: While many consumers never need to send a fax, it's still an important communications channel for many organizations, particularly in healthcare. Fax services within UC offer a reliable, secure way to transmit documents.
- Hot desking: This features allows multiple individuals to use the same device with easy sign-in and logging out, making life easier for users at resource-strapped remote offices.
- Multicast paging integration: With multicast paging, it's possible to send pages to groups of phones via one SIP call instead of a multi-party conference call. That reduces the burden on the phone system as a whole.
What security protections are in place
As an internet-connected service, VoIP is potentially vulnerable to a wide range of cyberattacks and malware. Some risks, such as toll fraud and man-in-the-middle attacks, pose particular dangers to UC deployments.
Accordingly, it's crucial to see what measures each vendor provides to protect your communications. Encryption, firewalls, two-factor verification and antivirus software are all good options for keeping threats at bay.
Take the time to make an informed decision about your UC platform. Reach out to the experts at Teo Technologies today to learn more about our solutions.