5 Ways VoIP for Schools Cuts Costs
Educational institutions need phones, but don’t often have a large budget to spend on their phone system. Luckily, VoIP for schools is breaking that trend to make communications (finally!) affordable.
For individuals or organizations researching the topic, we’ve highlighted five major ways in which VoIP technology is reshaping the way schools, colleges, libraries, and other organizations in the education sector should be thinking about their communications system.
> Voice Over IP Technology
Voice over IP (or “VoIP”) is a telephony service that runs voice communications through an Internet connection rather than through a traditional landline. Since the voice connections are being made through a service the organization already uses and pays for, VoIP is an extremely cost-efficient option for schools.
While organizations can opt to install an on-premise VoIP system—meaning the organization will install and maintain physical servers on-site—schools are recommended to choose a hosted VoIP solution, which means their network is hosted on a VoIP provider’s servers. There’s no extra equipment to install, monitor, and maintain—making the hosted option (again) an extremely cost-effective strategy for educational institutions looking to cut costs and improve their communications service.
For schools that have shared classrooms, offices, or workspaces, “hoteling” is a VoIP feature that allows individual users to log in to a shared company phone to receive calls to their unique work number. This allows teachers or administrators that change worksites or classrooms often the opportunity to be reachable on any phone they log in to. For example, if Janice works in classroom A for half the day and classroom B for the second half of the day, she can sign into the phone in either room so she can be contacted when someone dials her work number.
Hoteling is not only convenient, but cost-efficient as well. Rather than providing phones for each employee and limiting their capabilities while they’re of the office or in a classroom, the hoteling feature allows organizations to spend a minimal amount on phones while still giving employees the opportunity to be reachable wherever they are and whenever they choose to be.
> Auto Attendant
An auto attendant feature aids schools with their customer care and network organization efforts. When a school implements a hosted VoIP system, an automated greeting will prompt the caller and can the route him/her to the correct department, individual, or service—saving an office receptionist time and headaches. The auto-attendant can route users after hours and is capable of routing call to different branches, schools, or locations if needed. Using web-based administrative controls, organizations can control the extension dialing options, enterprise or site-specific dialing options, and customize the auto-attendant schedule for different messaging and routing configurations.
> E-Rate Certified Providers
VoIP for schools is a highly attractive for the discounts available. An E-Rate certified vendor is able to offer schools a discounted rate on their telecommunications or Internet services, which makes adopting a hosted VoIP system extremely beneficial. Not all VoIP providers are E-Rate certified, so it’s important to consider the certification of the provider before you commit to a service plan.
> Maintenance and Support
As mentioned before, there’s no on-site equipment schools need to worry about purchasing, installing, or maintaining as long as they have the hosted VoIP service. In addition to skipping out on those costs, VoIP also allows their existing IT staff (or IT budgets) to focus on more pressing technology projects or issues.
The hosted VoIP provider will handle all the necessary maintenance and upgrades to keep the schools network online and functioning at peak performance day and night. Schools are guaranteed an industry standard 99.999% uptime for their phone network (even if the school’s Internet is down) and will have access to expert 24/7/365 US-based support for any issues that might arise.