I was reading an interesting article on a website called govtech.com about how 911 emergency call centers have been migrating to VoIP phone service. What struck me most was how similar were the reasons cited for 911 center migration to the justification for businesses of all sizes to move to VoIP.
Cost, of course, was cited. But even more significant, it turns out, is the flexibility inherent in VoIP services. The story cites a 911 call center that lost its phone service because the fiber cable to the center was inadvertently dug up. That could have been a disaster but the center was using VoIP, so in only 30 minutes or so it had redirected emergency calls to a neighboring call center that also used VoIP. It was also pointed out that in a pinch a 911 center could even be redirected to any laptop (or other PC for that matter) with an Internet connection.
For businesses of all sizes, there’s a lesson to be learned. Any operation that relies on business phone service – which probably means every operation of any size – could easily find itself cut off, just as the 911 center was, at any time. Perhaps you’re a small store or office, with just a few employees. With service such as that from Phone.com it’s possible to rapidly redirect your business calls to wherever you wish, using any Internet connection you can find. One can even do it from a smartphone. Basically, no matter what VoIP plan you have, it can function as a virtual office, one that’s physically located almost anywhere and everywhere.
The bottom line is business as usual – well, almost as usual since you may now find the calls to your store coming to your home. But at least you’re getting the calls, and not losing sales. Indeed my recommendation to any small business, including those with a home office, is to set up their business VoIP in advance so that if a call can’t get through it will automatically forward to an alternate, such as your cell phone. That’s what I’ve done. And programming that with Phone.com service is a cinch. It takes barely a minute or two, and could save the loss of the big deal.
Stuart Zipper is currently a contributing editor to Communications Technology, a high tech business journalism consultant and freelancer, and the past Senior Editor of TelecomWeb news break.