I am an avid VoIP (voice over IP = phone over the internet) proponent, so naturally this announcement (great review from MobileWhack.com) from Polycom and Skype got my attention. They are rolling out a new device by the end of June that connects via USB and will allow Skype users to have speakerphone capabilities. Of course, this also frees the user from a headset and wires (me gusta wireless). More than that, the device also doubles as a regular computer speaker, but I have to be skeptical about the audio quality for playing music. All this for only $129 USD.
Personally, my wife and I use Vonage for all of our calling needs. Since we don't own cell phones, this means all of our calls go through Vonage. From our experience of almost two years now, we have had pretty good service. I can say this: VoIP is as good as your internet connection. Sometimes our cable internet provider decides to screw up our connection, thus disconnecting us from the world completely. But, overall, VoIP is a great technology.
My biggest interest will be what effect VoIP has on law firms. It seems to be an affordable option, especially for solo or small operations where something like a Vonage small business plan would probably work. Shoot, Skype is now even coming out with a mobile Wi-Fi phone that will allow users to make and receive calls anywhere they have a Wi-Fi connection. These days, that is almost as good of coverage as cell phones had a couple years ago.
I would surmise that an enterprising firm (even a large one) could do away with traditional phone lines and cell phones within a year or two and switch completely to VoIP. Maybe I will push my future firm to try just that. Of course, I would probably end up being the guinea pig.
What do you guys think about VoIP? Have you used Skype? You can drop me a line or let us all know your thoughts by leaving a comment.
[tags]legal andrew, voip, law firm, office, polycom communicator[/tags]
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