Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become popular with businesses and has now found its way into school phone systems. It offers fast, efficient and flexible communication that helps staff and administrators keep up with students, parents, media services, public agencies and various service providers.
The benefits of VoIP for schools are outlined below.
Online faxing involves creating a scanned or digital document from a computer to another destination on the internet. All that is needed a web connection. Using online faxing offers the following benefits:
• Large transfers. Audio, video, high-resolution photos, spreadsheets, workbooks and files that contain more than 100 pages can be sent via online fax.
• Group notification and delivery. All addressees receive a message by email, and faxes can be sent to large groups of people simultaneously.
• Faxing by mobile. This allows staff to receive document transfers anywhere there is an internet connection and avoids the need to always have someone at the office to take care of faxes.
• Electronic signatures. All documents that are received and sent can be digitally signed. This saves both time and money for schools.
• Privacy. Online faxes are delivered to an email address rather than a central fax machine. This is fast and efficient while protecting sensitive data.
This feature allows a group of people in different locations to have a meeting as though they were in the same room. The features of video conferencing include:
• Desktop conferencing. Affordable and easy to use, this feature is launched through an app and allows anyone to hold an online meeting through their computer at home or at school.
• Telepresence conferencing. Networks and phones connect with cameras mounted over a conference table to give a realistic feel of being in the same room.
• Lower travel costs. Online video conferencing enables people to meet online and avoid expensive long-distance travel.
• Better school staff productivity. Text communication lacks the nuances and tone of a face-to-face meeting. A video conference increases the focus and understanding required for administrative tasks.
• Improved communication. Seeing faces and body language facilitates cooperation and empathy, helping everyone to tackle the topics at hand.
Digital whiteboards work in tandem with software, photo files and documents that are altered through touching the screen. The features of digital whiteboards are:
• Media interaction. The board is capable of interacting with many different programs and file types for rich presentations.
• Spotlight. This allows the teacher to focus the students’ attention on a particular area or point.
• Interactive screen content. Students and teachers can use a finger or stylus to click links, highlight or draw in real time.
• Engagement. Instead of reading dry lecture notes, students are able to interact with content, making it easier and more fun to learn.
• Reliable quality. The current generation of digital whiteboards has eliminated the problems of previous technology, namely not knowing if it would work or not.
A VoIP system does not require expensive equipment to operate. This is taken care of offsite by the service provider. Call routing offers the following benefits and features:
• Extension menus. This gets calls routed quickly to the correct person to eliminate lengthy hold times.
• Auto attendants. Calls are send directly to the voice mailboxes of employees and faculty members, or callers are provided with the needed information to resolve the issue on their own.
• Call queue. This allows for assisting one caller while keeping the others on hold. The holding callers are not automatically sent to voicemail where their messages may be overlooked later.
• Reduced cost of communication. A VoIP system will lower the monthly phone bill for a school while making communications more secure and easier to track. Since there is no up-front requirement for equipment, wiring or hardware, VoIP is an excellent investment.
• Call routing without stress. This eliminates the guesswork of who should get a particular call or who is available at the time.
Automatic Call Distribution
Also known as ACD, this feature properly routes calls to the most qualified individual while recording the date, time and purpose of the call. It does its job based on the following:
• Conditional call routing. Calls are routed based on the time of day, the caller’s needs and who is most qualified to assist.
• Overflow queues. Allows for extra people to receive calls when there is a heavy volume or wait times are getting too long.
• Group mailbox. All the messages left on this voicemail can be checked by anyone in the permitted group.
• Faster response times. This prioritizes callers to ensure they speak to the right person as quickly as possible. There is also an option for the individual to call back later to eliminate a long hold time.
• Optimizing resources. This allows the right people to resolve problems instead of forcing people to handle issues that are outside of their expertise.
Conference bridging allows large groups to be together on a single phone call, instead of being limited to only three parties. Other benefits of this feature are:
• No setup. The VoIP provider implements the bridge, and everyone just dials in to participate.
• Capacity choice. The school can choose the limit on conference rooms and participants.
• Graphical interface. This enables everyone in the conference to see who has joined and who is currently speaking.
• Convenient attendance. Parents can attend school meetings from either work or home. Teachers have more time in the classroom and for lesson planning.
• Flexibility. Those attending a meeting can call in from anywhere on any device.
Those who are away from the school for events and meetings need a system that will route voicemails to a mobile device. This feature allows for the silent checking of messages to avoid interruptions. More benefits of voicemail-to-email:
• User interface. This allows for a personal greeting and the management of all other settings.
• Works with present phone system. Voicemail boxes are assigned U.S. phone numbers for simplicity.
• Readable voicemail. VoIP provides accurate transcription and fast delivery of messages.
• Precise transcription. The system can work through background noise, accents and complex words when transcribing.
• Keeps parents updated. Messages are received in a timely manner regardless of location or if the person is available.