Experiences with VoIP Featured

8:00pm EDT July 26, 2007

The importance of cost-effective and functional telecommunications for small businesses cannot be overestimated. As a customer of Curry IP, a Pittsburgh-based telecommunications provider, Paul Furiga, ABC, president of WordWrite Communications LLC, knows firsthand the value of efficient communications.

Smart Business discussed with Furiga his experience with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions and its impact on his business.

How has the use of VoIP compared to traditional analog telecommunications systems?

We particularly appreciate the electronic archiving of messages and our ability to receive and forward them via e-mail. Voice over Internet Protocol enables us to work from anywhere in the world and still have access to our phone system, which is fantastic.

Can you cite how your telecommunications provider has had or will have a direct impact on your ability to communicate more effectively?

Local service is a huge benefit for us — most of the best-known VoIP companies (including the one we just left) spend a lot on advertising but are lacking in personal service. We have experienced a huge difference working directly with someone who can tweak our phone system and bring it to ultimate performance.

Please describe the phone system you are currently using and its most important features and capabilities.

Right now we are transitioning to a portable small business system that includes IP phones. The functionality of the IP phones is fantastic. They are almost like self-contained computers and they boast features that plain old analog telephones can’t match.

Why did you choose Curry IP for system implementation?

I don’t care what any ad claims — messing with your phone service is not ‘plug and play.’ When your telecom needs include the merging of broadband service, local phone company number portability and various other elements of technology, things can get complicated. Once it’s integrated, your phone system should optimize performance of the whole system together. We needed a trusted navigator to help us steer through those rocks without crashing.

What considerations would you point out for other businesses who might be considering a switch from an analog telephone system?

You should make an informed decision by consulting an expert who will provide you a fair, balanced analysis. Voice over Internet Protocol may not be right for everyone, but it works for us and can for many businesses.

Do you believe that VoIP is revolutionizing the way your business communicates? How so?

Phone service used to be about geography. It depended on where your business was located. You were usually stuck with whatever company had the geographic right to provide the service, no matter what they charged or how poor their services might be. In addition, their features or rates could be expensive. Voice over Internet Protocol provides the choice to break free of those restrictions and take control of one of your most important communications asset: your phone service.

Why did you choose this system?

Flexibility. We are a fast-growing company (better than 20 percent a year) and when we need to grow our staff and offices, it needs to happen fast and without a hitch.

Does your VoIP system enable your company to be more competitive and responsive?

Absolutely. Even as a small company, we now have tools that match the flexibility and breadth of much larger competitors, without paying for the additional infrastructure and support.

What kind of cost savings have you realized with VoIP?

All of our long distance is covered in our low monthly base cost. We make calls all over the country to major national media and we don’t have to worry about costs. In addition, we have added an inbound 800 number for the media to use in calling us. This service has been very easy to do and it is also very cost-effective.

JOHN CURRY of Curry IP Solutions has been providing telecommunications expertise to businesses and individuals for more than 30 years. Reach him at (412) 307-3600, ext. 9007, or john@curryip.com. PAUL FURIGA, ABC, can be reached at WordWrite Communications LLC in Wexford, Pa., at (412) 894-8766 or paul.furiga@wordwritepr.com.