While large New Zealand telcos have been reluctant to introduce Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), in many international markets most major teleco providers and businesses have migrated, or are moving, to VoIP.
The driver for this change is the many benefits VoIP can offer a business including:
- Cost savings: Often 40% or more based on like-for-like comparisons
- Location independence: You’re no longer tied to a physical location
- Better service options: Unified communications, integration with CRM, more for less
- Capacity: Many calls over one line which can be a challenge with traditional technologies
- Choice: Larger range of devices and options
- Single network: Only maintain a data network
The broad range of smartphones available provide any mobile workforce with unprecedented computing power at incredibly low prices.
iPhone and Android devices have free or cheap VoIP applications which enable mobile workers to connect directly into the office phone system to take and make calls as if in the office. This means mobile workers can take advantage of advanced features of the office phone system such as call transfers, call recording, CRM integration and unified call reporting.
Better network connectivity
VoIP relies on excellent network connectivity and there are massive improvements being made all the time making it practical for a mobile work force to use VoIP remotely. For home-based workers, there’s widely available ADSL2 connectivity. Wi-Fi networks in airports, coffee shops and hotels are available for those travelling and the continuing rollout of improved broadband capability by the cellular network providers makes using VoIP over the 3G network while on the road a practical reality.
What are the costs?
Typically your customers will make significant costs savings and achieve payback in less than six months by implementing this kind of system. The amount of savings will depend on individual circumstances and requires an analysis of the before and after costs. The main cost components of running this type of service are:
- The VoIP system: Ideally a hosted solution available for a low monthly fee with remote access already built-in. About $10-$25 per user, per month
- The smartphones: Many businesses already provide these to their mobile workers. About $500 one-off per user.
- The VoIP software: From free to about $10 one-off per user.
- Call costs: VoIP call costs are typically quite low with many national calls around $0.03, cellphone around $0.16 and common international destinations around $0.04 (ex GST per minute).
- Data charges: VoIP calls use about 40MB of data per hour and the cost of that connectivity varies depending on how the worker is connecting. Typical data charges on ADSL (where the worker is connecting over Wi-Fi), for example, are about $1.50/GB. Cellular data charges vary according to the provider and plan.
Many businesses are only vaguely aware of how these technological advances can provide real opportunities to affordably liberate their workforce from a physical location. This presents additional revenue streams for the reseller who can offer expert advice on how to take advantage of these technologies and resell equipment such as smartphones, network equipment and relevant software.
There’s also the opportunity to earn ongoing revenue streams through referring or reselling VoIP provider services; and increase billable revenues through providing installation, configuration, support and maintenance services.