There’s no argument – voice communication still plays a significant role in small business today.

While it’s true that email, instant messaging and social media may have changed the way many businesses communicate (internally and externally), practically all businesses still depend on some form of telephone infrastructure. Nevertheless, owners and managers of many Small and Mid-sized Businesses (SMBs) understand surprisingly little about current trends in Telecommunication technology; trends that could greatly improve productivity and save them money as well.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
VoIP services adoption and conversion is well underway and continues to grow incrementally, as the VoIP early adopters have already converted their infrastructures from POTS ( Plain Old Telephone Service). That POTS base of customers will continue to decline as more and more business owners clamor to convert and make the move to VoIP. Most of the motivation to upgrade stems from replacing old or outdated equipment, high costs associated with support services, and the need for specific features which cannot be implemented on current systems. For example, unlike a traditional phone system, SIP trunking (SIP is a VoIP protocol) lets you scale based on your current needs. Voice traffic shares the same line as data traffic, eliminating the need to build out a separate network. Moving to a SIP trunk gives you greater control and reliability while reducing your costs by up to 50%. For most small businesses a SIP trunking alternative is worthy of consideration, yet many SMBs are unsure how their current voice services are even being delivered.

Advantages of VoIP
Some of the most commonly desired features for this segment; mobility and teleworker applications, conference services, wireless and unified messaging have been available for some time now. SMB’s just need some help in how to implement them correctly for their individual requirements. This may require updating or replacing their existing PBX, or simply adding these features to your current PBX – depending on its ability to upgrade. Teleworker capabilities enable employees to get work done anywhere they have internet access. When employees do not have to commute to an office, they save time which they can use to focus on their work. These technologies enable workers to collaborate with co-workers so they can solve problems and execute projects at a more rapid pace than ever before. Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops can be a great way for employees to access corporate resources wherever they may be… from their home office or traveling across the world to close a deal. Employees can essentially take their office with them on client visits, sales calls or anywhere they have an internet connection. This increase in mobility has driven business owners to embrace the business use of mobile devices, and management to encourage employees to use them.

Specialized services made possible by VoIP, including Cloud-based/Hosted services and Unified Communications (UC) are facilitating improvements to the effectiveness and speed at which business communications take place. The movement toward predictable or flat-rate billing is becoming an attractive option in the investment of core communications solutions. SMB’s are often faced with managing cash flow on a week-to-week or month-to-month basis, and having a fixed telecom budget can be a very attractive solution.

VoIP is here to stay
It is clear that VoIP is the way of the future for SMBs as the major manufacturers discuss the future demise of the copper-based POTS telephone system. It is absolutely imperative that small business leaders prepare for this transition by laying down the proper foundation to best leverage this inevitable evolution. VoIP is expected to make up over 45% of the voice market by 2019. One of the largest drivers of this accelerated growth in VoIP is the attraction of hosted (or “managed”) service solutions, eliminating the need to manage IP PBX’s on-premise, and allowing businesses to move technical and other resources into revenue-producing roles by leaving the management of their telecom infrastructure to a trusted partner.

American Telecom Solutions can get you there.
While service providers continue to focus their attention on the enterprise market, the adoption and interest in  managed and cloud services in the SMB market continues to rise. The expertise and knowledge that ATS provides can help you evaluate your existing infrastructure, business needs and concerns, helping you design and implement the perfect plan to make your transition virtually painless. The opportunity for SMB customers to benefit from enterprise-grade support, services and applications like Cloud-based services is more achievable than ever. As the SMB market becomes more sophisticated in their requirements to meet changing business needs or competitive pressures, the ability to manage and maintain in-house expertise to manage the entire infrastructure becomes more challenging. Pushing management to a preferred vendor or telecom partner like ATS, allows businesses to focus on their core competency ( their business) and look to their communications partner to support the ongoing transition and management of the communications transition.

In summary, given some of the trends which can impact your telecom spend and improvements which can be gained from adopting new technologies, it’s important that organizations start gaining a more detailed picture and understanding of their telecom landscape. It is impossible to manage what you can’t see, and only after establishing this visibility with the help of a partner like ATS can businesses begin to take steps to reduce telecom spend and improve business productivity. ATS wants to be your trusted advisor and partner to help bridge the knowledge gap between new trends and services and your business’s appetite to embrace them.