VOIP for Arts Organizations: Are you Virtual or Just Digital?

Telephone technology infrastructure isn't sexy but it is critical. The wrong decision can make or break an institution, especially an arts institution that sells admissions to its programs.  So what is VOIP and why should anyone pay attention?  VOIP is the acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol. A VOIP system converts soundwaves to a digital format and transmits them over the internet to be decoded and played.  Prior to VOIP, soundwaves were transmitted in an analog state over telephone (copper) wire.  Many large and older organizations have analog telephone lines that come into their facilities. They are converted to digital onsite, allowing one line to become multiple phones across a system.  So why is VOIP important?

In large, older organizations converting to VOIP may simply offer a cost savings month-to-month.  There is also the convenience and potential further savings of choosing to have voicemail housed onsite or in the cloud. In smaller organizations that are nomadic or itinerant or simply spend a lot of time on the round, VOIP solutions can become full virtual phone systems that essentially let you convert any staff member's cellphone into a work phone.

There are always costs involved, especially for converting larger organizations. Thus, if your company is interested in a VOIP or full virtual phone solution, doing research and even doing an RFP (request for proposals) from local vendors is recommended.  Some providers in this space include:  Grasshopper, MightyCall, Talkdesk, and RingCentral plus many more.  In my career as a managing director, there were almost monthly sales calls from other local VOIP providers. 

If you are still a little puzzled by what it might mean to take your organization to a VOIP solution, the infographic below might help clarify the experience.

 Source: Author

Source: Author

If you have suggestions for organizations considering moving to a VOIP solution, post your thoughts below or share them @techinthearts or on our Facebook Page.