VoIP vs. UCaaS: The Main Differences


Companies have had to swiftly adapt to support a remote workforce since the emergence of COVID-19. With remote working poised to become the norm, IT and network managers are rethinking their technology roadmap. Many face choosing between VoIP and UCaaS solutions for their business communication needs.

What are they, and what are the benefits and drawbacks of each? Read on to find out what these different solutions offer and to determine which one might be the right choice for your company now and in the future.

Understanding VoIP and UCaaS

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) are distinctly different business communication services. VoIP has been in use for more than 20 years, whereas UCaaS is relatively new. Both aid in remote working, but they do so in different ways.

VoIP uses an end-to-end internet connection instead of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to transport call data unless there’s a need to use a VoIP gateway to the PSTN. VoIP phones and other internet-connected communications devices typically convert calls into digital signals within the device itself. From the user perspective, VoIP typically emulates the traditional calling process. The technology supports conventional enhanced voice calling features such as call forwarding, call waiting, call blocking, Caller ID, in-call conferencing, and voicemail.

UCaaS also provides the ability to use internet-connected devices to make voice calls, but it also offers the benefits of unified communications (UC) for all business services, from voice to video conferencing, instant messaging, emails, and plenty more.

The Similarities

The main similarity between VoIP and UCaaS is the shared ability to enable workers to make and receive voice calls over an internet connection that includes the previously mentioned enhanced telephony features. This allows employees to work from anywhere using a range of internet-connected devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.

Key Differences

VoIP offers businesses cost-effective communication tools, offering cheap long-distance phone calls and the ability to take your business phone number with you anywhere you have an internet connection. It’s very easy to set up and particularly useful for companies with large call volumes, job roles that require lots of traveling, and remote workforces.

The differences lie in the breadth of options available with UCaaS compared to VoIP. UCaaS offers plenty of other communication tools in addition to telephony, including video calls, video conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing, and file collaboration tools. It’s intended to be an agile, all-in-one business communication platform. UCaaS essentially provides a software layer to your communication tools, which can bring about a number of benefits for data analysis and functionality.

UCaaS enables teams to be more productive by providing a variety of real-time collaboration tools. This includes file sharing among users who may be physically located anywhere in the world and updating files and documents in real-time as users make changes to them. Teams can rely on UCaaS to provide more tools for a broader range of business use cases, from conferencing to collaboration.

UCaaS also offers smoother scalability options. Most UCaaS solutions are cloud-based, so adding users is a simple matter of upgrading your plan and creating new user accounts. It’s also very easy to manage individual users and provide different privilege levels based on user roles and access requirements.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between VoIP and UCaaS

As always, the answer as to whether VoIP or UCaaS is most suitable for your business is that it depends. Knowing what each solution does and the key differences between them can help you make an informed decision about which one best fits your business.

UCaaS is intended as an all-in-one business communication solution. For companies that require more extensive communication tools beyond basic telephony solutions, UCaaS is likely to be the better choice. It can be relatively expensive compared to VoIP on day one, so it’s essential to consider what additional value the service stack brings to your business.

Integration with existing services is another benefit of UCaaS solutions. Since they are software-based, they can often integrate with third-party tools, like Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, and more. This makes it easy to import and export company data and hook up your communication tools to your existing business workflows. Since everything is digitized, it’s also easy to keep track of all your data and produce reports on it. This data can be analyzed to understand better how your company uses various communication tools and what does and doesn’t work for your company

Final Thoughts

UCaaS offers a significantly more feature-rich suite of communication tools, but how much benefit these bring will depend on your business, its operations, and its infrastructure. Using UCaaS often means your company data and workflows are hosted in the cloud and rely on third-party availability. Depending on company data security and privacy policies, some companies may require or prefer local VoIP solutions.

The enhanced functionality, ease-of-use, and breadth of communication tools make UCaaS a better choice for companies looking for ways to connect remote teams and keep company communication tools all in one place. This can provide organizational and productivity benefits to companies using a variety of tools for different communication purposes. Keeping data in sync among different communication solutions takes time, as well as accommodating any interoperability issues. UCaaS keeps all your data and communication tools under one umbrella, making data sharing much smoother and providing easier access to all available tools.

Business communication tools continue to evolve in response to business demands and market needs. Data-driven insights are helping companies quickly adapt to market changes and customer feedback. The right solution for your business should help employees and contractors, whether working remotely or in a corporate office, get the job done more quickly and be more productive

Luke Conrad

Technology & Marketing Enthusiast

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