The Great Debate: SIP Trunking vs. VoIP

What is the difference between VoIP and SIP?

Firstly, let’s talk lingo. Often, we talk about VoIP and SIP as though they’re two totally different things but technically, they’re not too dissimilar.

When your customers ask about VoIP they are most likely asking for hosted seats, whereas when they ask about SIP, they usually mean SIP Trunking, as a direct replacement for ISDN. Hosted Seats use SIP signalling to initiate the session to send calls to an Internet Protocol (IP) provider. So, essentially, they do the same thing.

It all boils down to the equipment making the call and your customers’ needs and wants. Customers need to move to IP, but what do they want to buy?

A VoIP solution, as we’ve already mentioned is generally a hosted seat. Hosted seats are often sold in package deals, bundled with calls usage, which make them easy to buy and sell. These solutions can be extremely flexible and scalable, offering single or multiple user licenses, shiny new IP handsets and mobile or desktop softphone clients. IP handsets are plugged into a broadband router and/or Power Over Ethernet (POE) switches to provide a single line replacement to the PSTN line over some form or broadband connection.

Now, SIP, or as I prefer to call it SIP Trunking, is generally sold exclusively to business customers. When SIP was first launched it provided a ‘like for like’ ISDN replacement. Business customers would have an onsite system, known as a Private Branch Exchange (PBX), which would be serviced by ISDN channels, usually between 2 and 30. By using SIP Trunking, these businesses were able to simply replace their ISDN channels with SIP channels, retaining their existing PBX.

That’s the key difference between the two products: If our customer wants to keep their existing on premise PBX, they need to use SIP. If your customer wants to replace their PBX, they need VoIP.

Five advantages of hosted voice

With BT’s recent announcement that all ISDN’s will be turned off by 2025 hosted VoIP is the ideal replacement by providing a Hosted Centrex that replaces the traditional PBX.

1. Cost-effective

Here are the top reasons why you should switch to hosted voice today.
Switching to a hosted voice solution from your current phone system can be a big step for your business, but here are five advantages of doing so.

Money is everything in business so why waste it? Money is a primary concern for all businesses and being cost-effective is one of the highest priorities. However, if you’re still using a legacy phone system, you might not be making the best use of your time, your calls, or your money.
Most legacy phone systems charge for each minute spent on the phone and for international rates, those charges can almost double. And that’s without mentioning the unscrupulous charges and the uncertainty over what a business could be billed at the end of every month.
However, hosted voice can avoid those charges as hosted voice systems come with fixed minutes and a user plan. Put simply, this puts an end to cost concerns, meaning every month you’re billed exactly what you’re expecting, every time.

2. Flexibility

With your legacy phone system, chances are you overspent and added extras you didn’t really use or need. However, a hosted voice system allows you to buy what you want, whenever you need to use it putting an end to overspending.
The scalability of the system means that whenever your business wants to grow, you can add capability to the system when you need it. And, should you need to scale it back down if you’ve overestimated, the flexibility allows for that too.
Traditionally, phone systems presumed each employee had the same requirements and needs but the flexibility of a hosted voice system means customisation is easy and effective, ensuring each employee only has features they actually need depending on their job role within the business.

3. Consistency

Scalability is also linked to consistency; if your business has grown over time and more office locations have been added, they may have different phone systems interlinking which work in different ways. Ultimately, this can cause confusion with staff who may have to travel to other offices and, therefore get to grips with a new phone system before they begin their work.
Having different legacy phone systems can also make it difficult to easily transfer customer calls between sites, meaning customers are left waiting whilst staff grow frustrated and productivity is lost.
With the hosted voice system, every phone works in the same way, in every location. Whether staff are on the road, working at home or in an office, they will all have access to the same powerful range of features including room-based collaboration, conference calling and instant messaging which can dramatically improve the productivity of your business.
Add to this the integration of hosted voice with your IT system and its efficiency is evident. Its integration with major cloud-based CRM programmes and customer support applications make the experience not only more efficient for your staff, but also for your customers.

4. Mobility

It’s the 21st century and, the chances are, your workforce is becoming increasingly mobile and more and more staff members are working remotely.
However, a mobile workforce can often encounter its own problems with people feeling detached from the office and some often find it difficult as they don’t have access to the technology they would if they worked inside the office.
But with hosted voice, those problems mean solutions and being mobile doesn’t need to mean disconnection from the office. With cloud-based phone systems, wherever your workforce are they can connect to the core network of the business and use the technology just as they would if they were sat in the office. Being mobile doesn’t have to mean they’re remote.

5. Maintenance

If your phone system goes down, does your business shut down? If you’ve got a legacy phone system, the likelihood is that when things go wrong, you’ll call the engineer who might arrive in a few hours to get you back online.
But time is money.
With hosted voice, you’ll probably never have to ring the engineers again. Managing and maintaining your cloud-based solution is all done via the internet, with handy how-to’s showing you exactly how to solve almost any problem.
They’re designed to keep you running 24/7 so you can make and receive calls no matter what happens.


Why have a business phone when my personal one works just fine?

Whether you’re starting a new business, evolving your existing business or starting a new job, you’re probably asking yourself whether you need a business phone. Here are the arguments for moving to a business phone.

1. You need the right answer

‘Personal’ and ‘business’ are very different fields, which require mutually exclusive approaches.

Any business start-up owner or colleague in a new role is eager to spread his/her contacts as widely as possible, ultimately giving their details out like sweets.

The result is that your personal number, which you have protected carefully and only given to people you trust, is now public property. A call from a number you don’t recognise? Well, you can’t ignore those anymore. What if they’re a lead, or a customer? And how do you answer the call? With your personal greeting or your business one?

When you go home and are ready to unwind, the last thing you want is to receive an email that completely changes your mood. With two phones, you can put the job away by switching off the work phone, giving you a sense of control over what to do with YOUR time.

One of the core ideas behind a business mobile is preserving privacy without compromising accessibility.

2. You’re going to grow (at some point)

Sometimes an aspiring entrepreneur thinks: “My personal number will do for now. I’ll come up with something more professional later.”

When time comes to scale-up or step-up your business ― such as adding more lines, activating an answer machine or call-back service, or employing call forwarding ― an entrepreneur may find out that his/her consumer mobile carrier can’t offer the desired additional functionality. And once a business is evolving, changing a fundamental line of communication such as a main contact number can create a number of challenges, anything from upset customers or suppliers to reprinting all of your stationery. It’s far easier to make this decision before a business is established.

3. You need to take data security seriously

Protecting other people’s data is now a fundamental responsibility for any business, and every employee at a business. Failing to do so can cause any number of problems, the least being a breakdown of trust between customers, suppliers and your business.

Business accounts aren’t inherently more secure than personal ones but separating personal data and behaviours from business data and behaviours is essential when it comes to data protection.

4. You need to be on the same page as your people

By providing mobiles to your employees you have the choice of what network/carrier to use and the operating system that best fits your companies needs. You might want to decide to go with Apple iOS, Google or Android but whatever you choose if you keep the operating system’s consistent you’ll know that all your employees should have access to the same software and features.

5. You need to save money (and stay in control)

If you’re reimbursing employees for business use of their personal phones, you could be covering the cost of multiple individual rate plans. You’re more than likely to pay a significantly lower rate per phone if you have a business account for multiple lines with a single provider.

6. You need to know who’s talking

If your employees rely on personal phone numbers for dealing with customers, you willingly give up control over a certain part of your business. To plan for the future, it’s important to keep track of all business processes within your company, such as logistics, sales and customer service.

When clients interact with your company through employees’ personal numbers, you don’t know how often your employees speak to your customers, how they handle conversations and which questions they have trouble answering. Worst case scenario: when an employee who has been using their own phone leaves your company, your customers or suppliers could leave with them.

By giving your employees business mobiles you instantly gain more control as you’ll be able to monitor the way those phones are used. With a business contract you can monitor the use of voice, texts and data, place limits on overspend, add bolt-ons.

In a nutshell

A business phone number is a must-have for every entrepreneur, start-up or career-climber. Not only are they essential for separating your personal and professional lines of communication, business phone numbers are a great way to protect sensitive information and project the appearance of a larger, established company or seasoned pro.

How we can help

Whatever your business needs, Zusi has what it takes. We specialise in mobile, mobile broadband and hosted voice – everything you need to keep your business connected.

Our mobile tariffs are specifically designed for businesses, so they are different to those you get on the High Street. That means you get more choice, tailored tariffs, business-focused service, wide range of advance features and a contract that can grow with your business.