As a consumer I have used VoIP for almost 5 years. I have been with Vonage in three different houses in two different states separated by 1300 plus miles. While I didn’t take advantage of it when moving from Michigan to Texas (seemed like people might get confused by a ‘248’ area code in Houston), the fact is that I could have kept my phone number. The Internet is the Internet. As long as I have a broadband connection Vonage can route my call to me whether I am in Michigan, Texas, or New Zealand.
Cost is another factor. I was paying my local phone company for basic service, then paying additional money for long distance service (plus the per-minute calling charges), and adding nickel-and-dime costs for features like voicemail or caller ID. With VoIP I got everything for one flat fee. Again, with the Internet being the Internet, it really doesn’t matter if I call my next door neighbor or a long-lost relative in Zurich. There isn’t any local and long distance. Some consumer VoIP providers haven’t gotten that memo though. My cable company offers ‘digital voice’ and charges per minute for long distance. No, thank you.
As it turns out, cost savings and number portability are also two of many compelling reasons for using VoIP for business telephony. The ability to develop custom tools and expand the functionality of voice communications to meet business needs is another great reason. Microsoft has made it exceptionally easy by letting organizations start with what they have and leverage their existing investment rather than replacing everything. Why isn’t every business moving to VoIP already?