Let’s explore the key differences between Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Business VoIP. If you aren’t familiar with UCaaS, check out our “Ultimate Guide to UCaaS“. VoIP stands for Voice over Intern Protocol. Prior to UCaaS, VoIP was the go-to choice for companies switching away from traditional onsite phone systems. Before exploring the differences between VoIP and UCaaS, below are a few items to understand about why companies switch to VoIP and some common issues with VoIP.
3 Reasons Companies Switch:
(1) Cost Savings:
One study found that “switching to VoIP can save small businesses as much as 45 percent each month over traditional phone service.”
Another recent study found that companies who invested in technology that allowed employees more flexibility to work remotely saw a 20 percent increase in productivity.
As companies continue to switch to business VoIP, more services become available. Experts expect the market to grow to $140 billion USD by the year 2021.
3 Common Issues with VoIP Service:
(1) Quality of Service:
VoIP calls can suffer from delays, echoes, and other quality issues. Above all, it’s important to have a provider that has a good network, as well as good-quality desk phones. Additionally, either enough bandwidth or a dedicated connection in place specifically for your voice service is necessary. Your
QoS is a mechanism for keeping VoIP traffic flowing smoothly. It prioritizes specific traffic on your LAN ensuring that VoIP traffic gets priority. It needs a certain percentage of the overall bandwidth available to be most effective. Beware of low-priced providers, as it is a potential red flag for low-quality service. Most often, UCaaS providers have done a better job of offering QoS equipment because they understand the importance of reliable voice service for businesses.
(2) Internet Connection
Traditional phone systems don’t depend on an internet connection, but VoIP service runs exclusively over the internet. If your internet is not working, then you don’t have VoIP phone service. However, some providers offer redundancy options where calls can be routed to mobile phones or switched to a backup internet connection, if available.
VoIP came to prominence during a time when an increasing number of applications were run over the Internet. This meant that voice service didn’t always get the bandwidth it needed, which hurt the quality of service and sometimes gave VoIP a bad reputation. Part of the issue with VoIP was not necessarily a bad internet connection, but rather there was no way to prioritize which services were getting the limited bandwidth. Subsequently, this often leads to poor quality of service for VoIP connections.
Since your company’s service runs over the Internet, there is a chance that your phones could be compromised like other Internet-connected devices can be. As a result, your VoIP provider should have a plan in place to keep your phones safe. Additionally, your company should also have processes and procedures in place to keep all internet-connected devices protected and secure.
VoIP Vs. UCaaS: Comparison & Key Differences
Now that you have an overview of some of the pros and cons of VoIP and hopefully you have already explored our “Ultimate Guide to UCaaS“, let’s compare each system side-by-side below to understand similarities and key differences.
There are several differences between VoIP and UCaaS. VoIP focuses mainly on voice communications. On the other hand, UCaaS is a platform that offers voice along with many other communications solutions. These include unified messaging, presence, instant messaging, cloud faxing, video conferencing, CRM integrations, and more.
The below chart outlines both similarities and key differences between the two business communications solutions:
|Upfront costs||Much lower than traditional phone systems and comparable with UCaaS.||Much lower than traditional phone systems and comparable with VoIP.|
|Advantage: Even; no real advantage either way.|
|Ongoing Maintenance||Maintenance is the responsibility of your VoIP service provider. There are no maintenance costs for you.||Maintenance is the responsibility of your UCaaS service provider. There are no maintenance costs for you.|
|Advantage: Even; no real advantage either way although with more features and functionality than VoIP, UCaaS often offers more ongoing maintenance.|
|Flexibility & Scalability||VoIP providers let you scale as quickly and easily as you need to make changes. You have the flexibility to make changes for your business. Also, the costs to scale are low. You purchase only additional desk phones (if needed) and a monthly service plan.||Cloud-based UC providers let you scale as quickly and easily as you need to make changes.It offers you the flexibility to make changes easily. Also, the costs to scale are low. You purchase only additional desk phones (if needed) and a monthly service plan.|
|Advantage: Even; no real advantage either way. Different providers might have contracts that limit to decreasing the number of users you have for a period of time.|
|Support/Service & System Upgrades||Support and Service are typically provided as a part of your monthly service. Your VoIP provider should have a support staff dedicated to making changes you need or fixing items that are not working correctly.||Support and Service are typically provided as a part of your monthly service. Your UCaaS provider should have a support staff dedicated to making changes you need or fixing items that are not working correctly.|
|Advantage: UCaaS; VoIP providers have typically been focused on low costs, not on service. UCaaS providers have understood that service and support are key differentiators of their service compared to both traditional phone systems and VoIP.|
|Advanced Features||Features for your phone system are typically limited to your desk phone. There might be a few advanced features available such as Voicemail-to-Email.||Your phone system extends beyond your desk phone with UC functionality through Web portals and Mobile apps that allow you to check voicemail, view call history including missed calls.|
|Advantage: UCaaS due to features that support real-time information, flexibility, and mobility to support your diverse teams.|
|Upgrades & New Features||Mostly focused on phone systems features although some traditional VoIP providers are starting to offer some features and functionality of UC include Web Portals and Mobile Apps.||New features will often be developed and released as part of your current service. Most new features will be UC features available through Web Portal and Mobile app. Depending on the provider, most new features will be included with your current service.|
|Advantage: UCaaS due to a focus on adding new features and upgrades included with your service compared to VoIP which is mainly focused on voice service.|
Bottom line: If you are only looking for voice service with no other features, information, mobility, and integrations, then VoIP might be an option for your company. Otherwise, UCaas has many more advantages compared to VoIP.
About Level365: Level365 offers a complete Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution with