Case study: How VoIP and IP telephony solve communication issues in businesses

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This case study is very useful for small businesses as it stresses the advantage of VoIP phone systems for enterprise communication.

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Case study: How VoIP and IP telephony solve communication issues in businesses

  1. 1. CASE: Being born into a family that has been in furniture for a long time, it is only natural that I also work in the same business. My grandfather took pride in handcrafted furniture. When I took over the business from my father, it was very clear that I had to expand the business and cover the whole of United States, if not Europe and other continents. I started with moving away from making furniture by hand, to automated and semi-automated factories that pump out both fully assembled and DIY kits. This part of business expansion is something I am familiar with, and know how to handle. The crux of my problem today is how to handle internal and external communication. When my father handed me the business, we were comfortable with 6 telephone lines as that was the number of people that I had to be in touch with. Today, I have 4 factories, a dozen showroom/sales offices, 25 warehouses and hundreds of local dealers who deal with our products. My communication costs are skyrocketing and I am confused as to how to control it. In addition, my sales people have to deal with a huge catalog of products, most of which is computerised through an SAP system. What I would like is a way by which everyone in the company has easy access to data when communicating over the phone. SOLUTION: Setting up and expanding a furniture shop requires a lot of strategic analysis, marketing researches and tons of patience for the business to really do well and prosper. As far as strategic analysis is concerned, among the things that need a lot of emphasis and resolution is how to address the issue of costly communications among colleagues and customers alike. This is especially true when the bulk of the monthly expenses are related to keeping in touch with everyone else. This study aims to help enterprises choose a well versed communication system that keeps everyone in the business connected, regardless of time and distance. Contents 1. Introduction 1.1. History and evolution of telecommunications system 1.2. What is Internet Telephony 2. Context 2.1. The concept of internet telephony or voice over internet protocol (VoIP) 3. Methodology 3.1. VoIP as the solution to the rising cost of communication expenses in the furniture business 3.2. Benefits of low-cost internet telephony for expanding entrepreneurs 4. Conclusion
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION History and evolution of telecommunication system The earliest type of telecommunications was in the form of smoke signals and drums, commonly used in the Americas, Africa, and some parts of Asia. Even then, it was an effective tool for people to convey major activities in their area, alerting the neighboring villages. For quite some time, the early settlers were contented with it, until the mode of communication has evolved significantly since the late 1600s. From electromagnetic telephones to electrical telegraph to the creation of the first ever telephone, sending information across the globe has continuously developed at an incredible pace, bringing us to what is now called as internet telephony. What is internet telephony? Internet telephony is the process of providing communication services such as voice, SMS, fax and video messaging, among many others, from one user to another by means of internet connection. Its inception has basically paved the way for an affordable real-time communication as compared to snail mails and costly phone calls that were hugely utilized in the past. Many industries these days have already started reaping the benefits of this outstanding innovation due to the fact that it is cost effective. But just how effective is the savings in the case of medium to large scale furniture enterprises? CONTEXT The concept of internet telephony or voice over internet protocol (VoIP) In the past, traditional phones, technically coined as public switched telephone networks, were limited to offer only voice and fax services. With the advent of a creative telecommunication technology, both options are now enhanced and are already coupled with SMS, video calling and data transfers, all for a fixed price per month, depending on the internet plan set up. Basically, the flow communication flow works like this: PC PC Internet Telephone Adapter Modem VoIP Phone VoIP Phone In the diagram above, telephone signals are being converted to digital signals as soon as they reach the VoIP box. These digital signals then travel through the internet to their intended end points. As soon the end points are reached, the data are either reverted to a telephone signal if the recipient uses the VoIP dialer, or; if the call is received by a computer, the data remain digital but the transmission itself still acts as a normal telephone call. Either way, both users can still do more than usual phone calls, other forms of data transmission can also happen between parties anytime.
  3. 3. In making furniture, a lot of segments in the business collaborate to come up with unique designs that will appeal to the end-user’s taste. Communication is always the key to bring about the joint efforts of the departments involved from the planning stage to the final output. Internet telephony works best for this kind of set up as it speeds up the conversation, delivers solution in real-time basis, with no per-minute charging involved. METHODOLOGY VoIP as the solution to the rising cost of communication expenses in the furniture business Furniture business owners, regardless of manpower size, may find it suitable to switch to the VoIP technology. Since maximum output and customer service is the goal, it is important to know the services they can avail, depending on the size of the internal and external workforce it involves.  VoIP telephone systems – one of the widely used internet based telecommunications system that aims to address the communication barriers in the past. With a fully set up VoIP, video calls and multi-party conference calls are now at the tip of everyone’s fingernails. Not only that, VoIP enabled applications can basically transmit data anytime of the day; anyone at the factory, the showroom or at the office can now send important information to anyone, at their own convenience.  Cloud based phone systems – this technology caters to robust communication requirements and is largely appropriate for furniture businesses that need to be able to remotely access data, at any given time, without the need to install extensive hardware.  Call Center phone systems – it is often the business’ advantage if a sound call flow system is integrated in its core structure. With it, calls are well monitored, tracked, and issues are resolved in no time. An interactive voice response (IVR) can take care of the proper call flow and direct callers to the appropriate departments for a one-time resolution.  VoIP Applications – there are basically a lot more features like voicemail, outbound calls and call tracking capability that can be added to the system, making it an all-in-one business technology suitable for the growing furniture industry. What is important is these add-ons must be carefully thought of, so that each of the services is maximized throughout the duration of the package. Benefits of low-cost internet telephony for expanding entrepreneurs The services of IP telephony and VoIP system can give more value to the overall business especially if assessed properly. The list below entails the major benefits that entrepreneurs get from the savvy system:  Value for money is perhaps the most prevalent output that can be derived even at the earliest stage. To begin with, an extensive supply of hardware is not necessary to create such a hassle-free system. Since it is internet ready, setting up a few gadgets as illustrated above is all it takes for it to fully function. Finally, monthly bills will considerably plummet because companies only need to pay for the internet fee per month, inclusive of additional features embedded in the system.  The flexibility of the system means it is portable and a reliable source of telecommunication activities. Traditional phones geographically lock the users; while with internet telephony, anyone can access the service via an internet connection, any place, anytime. In a way, the functionalities of a mobile phone are embedded in the system by virtue of internet connectivity.  Various features such as call types are available to serve a growing business, or an already large scale industry for that matter. Call waiting, call forwarding and transferring, and even emergency calling can be integrated which greatly helps in the reduction of unresolved issues, prompt attention to customer
  4. 4. requirements, real time communication with colleagues, and many others. This also creates traceability of all the calls coming in and out, which may come in handy. Other value added services also make the technology an awesome partner in the business.  As the system revolves around one of the major components of technology – the internet – VoIP and internet telephony will never cease to innovate. A lot of developers and service providers work hand in hand in developing it; to include a few more extensive services in the near future. In this case, entrepreneurs just need to re-assess their communication requirements from time to time and discuss future needs with their internet providers to address gaps, if any. Some comparisons for your reference: CONCLUSION With the improvement of the telecommunication industry in relevance to trade and commerce, it is only natural to adapt, if it means maximizing the furniture business’ operations and profit generating capability. The question now relies on how to adjust and who can help in the transition. The good news is, service providers like Toshiba offer an extensive array of internet telephony features, yet the package still comes in a user- friendly technology. This means everyone in the network gets the high quality deal with long term return on investment. Employing the system now could be the focal point in cost savings and overall business satisfaction.

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