If your office is switching its phone system from one that works on Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) lines to one that uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), the overall adjustment shouldn't be too bad. But there are differences, and your staff should know what to expect when they start to use the phones.
Sound Quality Can Change
In general, a professional VoIP system should have wonderful sound quality. But because the sound is sent in data packets, much like internet data, it can sound a bit broken up or halting. In fact, the name for this phenomenon is jitter. Jitter is often the result of an inadequate data cable, so upgrade your system's data cables. If you currently have cat5 cables, for example, switch them all to cat6. You can see the "cat" number printed along the side of the cable.
Power Outages Have Effects
VoIP itself will not work in a power outage because the system needs electricity to function. This is a change from POTS lines, which operated independently of electrical wiring; in a power outage, a plain corded phone would still work. (Cordless phones didn't because they used electricity.)
For this reason, these systems come with battery backups. With a battery backup, your staff will still be able to make and receive calls -- for a few hours. As with any battery pack, the power will run out eventually. This is not a problem for short outages, but if there is a prolonged outage that lasts more than a few hours, then you may have issues. If there is a power outage, instruct your staff to stay off the phones as much as possible to conserve battery power.
Don't Mess With Locations
A VoIP phone system usually has the phones hooked up to a type of modem. In a POTS system, the phones plugged into phone jacks in the wall, and you could unplug and plug in a phone whenever you wanted. With VoIP, unplugging the modem and moving it can actually affect the operation of the phones. Some modems will be fine while others may need to be reset. Let your staff know that if they see a phone modem, not to touch it.
As copper phone lines deteriorate, and as phone companies stop maintaining those POTS lines, VoIP usage will have to increase. Have one of these systems installed in your office now so that you have the infrastructure in place as technology improves. For more information, contact a company like Communication Technology Associates, Inc.