Before VoIP appeared on the scene, long distance and international communications were out of the league of the traditional small-business budget. After internet telephony made its debut, all of that changed, enabling start-up entrepreneurs all over the world to connect with the global consumer network. As VoIP continues to grow in popularity, business without borders has become a real possibility for small and large enterprises alike.


The History of VoIP


The first VoIP software emerged in 1995, designed and patented by VocalTec co-founders Alon Cohen and Lior Haramaty. Hampered in its early days by dial-up internet speed, VoIP did not really gain the consumer popularity it enjoys today until broadband internet was unveiled in the early 2000s. With broadband internet, VoIP users could enjoy sufficient call quality, while saving on traditional communications costs. Today, high-speed internet has brought VoIP technology to the forefront of modern telecommunications, rivaling traditional phone service in both personal and business communications.


VoIP and Business Communications


VoIP is a hit in the business world because of its ability to unify communications. Instead of limiting users to traditional business phone lines, VoIP enables free call routing through cell phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers and smart watches. With VoIP protocol, visual communication is also possible, helping to avoid miscommunications in international calling, where language barriers may be a factor. In addition to unifying business communications, VoIP can effectively replace outdated PBX systems, allowing businesses to implement limitless phone lines and extensions without paying the overheads involved in equipment installation and maintenance.


Building a Global Presence with VoIP


Because VoIP service is not affected by distance, most VoIP providers do not charge additional fees for long distance communications. By reducing the cost of international networking, VoIP has paved the way for a new era of virtual global business.


Virtual businesses often operate without brick and mortar business locations, using local VoIP phone numbers to recruit consumers from all over the world. For example, a U.S-based entrepreneur can utilize VoIP service to set up phone numbers in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney, and hundreds of other consumer hotspots around the world. These virtual numbers create the impression that the entrepreneur has business locations across the globe, when really he could be working from his garage. Most virtual businesses operate through a combination of web and phone sales, advertising via social media to generate consumer traffic while avoiding traditional business overheads.


VoIP and Business Travel


As well as improving office communications, VoIP has proven a valuable tool to the business traveler, enabling employees and business managers to stay connected to the office from anywhere in the world. As VoIP merges with Cloud computing, mobile offices are becoming a reality. Business travelers can now sign documents, receive client calls, access business data, and even receive faxes through any smartphone or tablet. Since all of these capabilities can be achieved through an advanced VoIP calling system, business travelers can get on the road without worrying about international calling fees or consistent computer access.