Modern business telephones obviously do far more than take phone calls and record voice messages, but IP (Internet Protocol) phones offer far more capabilities than the casual business customer might know about. Those new capabilities can be extended further by connecting those phones to the web through devices that manage chat, messaging, and conferencing. Some of these features add convenience, while others can be important to security or regulatory compliance.
The 411 on VoIP Phone Features
Anyone new to IP telephony or who has limited experience with them may not be aware of the types of features that tend to come with any VoIP phone. Aside from the obvious basics, most VoIP phones offer features like:
- Programmable buttons
- Cameras and video calling, on higher-end models
- Call recording and forwarding
- 3-way calling
- Directory assistance
- Call hold and call block
- Enhanced voicemail
- FInd me/follow me
Many additional features are going to be available, depending on the make and model. Some phones offer the ability to send a fax, though there are other features some of which are less known to the average business customer. These features extend the functionality or efficiency of a company’s phone system.
1. Video Door Alarm and Camera Integration
Many commercial buildings have entrances monitored by cameras and doors that remotely lock or unlock. These security features can become inconvenient sometimes. Certain VoIP phones can be connected to doorway cameras and building entry systems. You do not need a separate app or monitor to check the building’s entry and remotely open or lock doors. It may also be possible to go through the VoIP phone from a mobile device and unlock the door for an employee or lock the door if you forgot to leave it.
2. Touch Screens
Smart keys and standard keys make the phone easier to use. More importantly, some phones support context-sensitive keys. No more will you have to push #4# and then scroll with a down button to perform a specific function. You, or one of your IT technicians can program that function and create a smart key. This is one of the many ways that VoIP phones can save time on communication and administrative work.
3. Ethernet Ports
The ethernet ports we use on laptops and desktops, and other devices, also appear on many VoIP phones. Almost all VoIP phones have Ethernet ports with bandwidth of 10, 100, or 1000 megabits per second. Connecting to other devices is something few people ever think of when they think about using a business phone. Some phones can connect via Ethernet cable to a laptop or tablet. Smart phones would use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth instead. Still other devices with USB ports may be able to connect with the company network by use of a USB adaptor.
4. Bluetooth Connectivity
Bluetooth is convenient for taking or making calls while still being free to move around. Sometimes people do that just to get a little exercise. Other times, they don’t want to share their side of the conversation with just any random people in the vicinity. Bluetooth connectivity also makes it much easier to share images from a smartphone or files stored on the cloud. Sharing may require other IP telephone functions. Some VoIP phones may support wireless headsets that use old-fashioned USB ports.
5. Call Recording
Some phones offer the capability to record incoming and outgoing calls. In some cases, this feature is a must have because regulations require that all communications be recorded. If this is the case for your business, note that one-touch call recording is a feature of many VoIP phones including the Zultys ZIP 45G.
Unified Communication Capabilities
VoIP phones work better, providing more communication options, when used as part of a unified communications system that routes chat sessions, instant messages, faxes, voicemail, and conference sessions through the same internet-connected software or hardware. A VoIP phone supplier will likely offer one or more unified communications platforms. Not only does this offer more features, but it also combines modes of communication in useful ways. For example, you may be able to attach a fax to an email or forward a voice message via email.
Many businesses have lots of incoming or outgoing calls, contact centers and telemarketing operations being the two obvious examples. In those settings, it can be useful to tie your customer relationship management (CRM) software to your email server or contacts to a marketing database. A company that uses Salesforce could connect it to their VoIP phone service enabling business development people to enter contact notes from their desktop VoIP client. Compared with making notes on paper, opening Salesforce (or Insightly or et cetera) and typing the note, Unified Communication Clients are fast. Time is saved making and sharing notes on clients can be spent making sales calls or handling more inbound calls.
VoIP and Internet Telephony Offer a Variety of Underappreciated Features
VoIP technology offers numerous features that regular old desktop phones do not, and cannot offer like Bluetooth connectivity, remote entry controls, and programmable soft keys. If you want to learn more about the potential for saving money and streamlining your business operations, contact us to schedule a free consultation.