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What are the Different VoIP System Features and Options? | Part 3

In the third installment of our VoIP series, we are providing guidance to help you understand the different types of VoIP systems and features. Previously in this series, we gave an overview of the benefits of VoIP, and discussed how to avoid potential VoIP missteps.

Choosing the right VoIP system for your specific business needs can be overwhelming, as there are so many options available. Even the options have options, most of the time!

How do you know where to start? This blog will: 1) discuss the must-have features for every buyer versus additional features for more advanced buyers; and 2) walk you through the differences between on-premise voice, hosted/managed voice, and the combination of the two.


1. VoIP Features

Features should be standard for any VoIP system, so when you are evaluating different options, be sure they include the following:

  • Call transfer, call back, call hold, call recording, speed dial
  • Auto-attendant
  • Firewalls, device authentication, security features
  • Monitoring features, such as caller ID
  • Conference call support
  • Voicemail
  • Intercom
  • Soft phones
  • Mobility capabilities

Beyond these basics, your business may require additional advanced features, such as:

  • Call routing management (e.g. “call hunt”: send unanswered calls to your cell phone or home phone, or “call flip”: transfer live conversations seamlessly from one device to another)
  • Contact center features (e.g. interactive voice response (IVR), automatic call distribution (ACD), etc.)
  • System administration (e.g. operator console, real-time monitoring, etc.)
  • Find Me/Follow Me, device-based control of system, remote extensions
  • Multisite management
  • Conference bridge management
  • Unified communications (UC) (e.g. audio/video conferencing, presence, reporting, integration, etc.)


2. On-Premise vs. Hosted vs. Hybrid Combination

Beyond the features, you will need to decide whether you want on-premise, hosted/managed voice, or a combination of both.

On-premise voice is a VoIP system set-up where the entire system is at your location. This is great for businesses who want full control over their voice system and more flexibility for feature customization. However, this approach has its drawbacks. On-premise solutions require significant investment in up-front costs, and the full responsibility of maintenance and upkeep rests on the buyer. An internal IT department with a broad range of expertise in networks and voice systems is critical.  Maintenance and service plans can be purchased to supplement on-premise voice solutions.

A hosted or managed voice model is ideal for businesses that do not have the internal IT support or infrastructure needed to support their own phone system. This option has more affordable upfront costs, and the responsibility of maintaining and updating the equipment/software belongs to the hosting company.

A hybrid of an on-premise and hosted solution provides the benefits of both, with superior reliability and resiliency by having the call routing on-premise and core applications hosted in the cloud.


Buying a VoIP system is an investment that requires forethought, and it is important to have an understanding of the many different features and options available to you.

Our next blog will explain what TDM PBX, Hybrid PBX, and IP PBX phone systems are.

>> Activo has the expertise to recommend and integrate the right voice solution for your organization’s specific needs. Contact us today to ask us anything about voice!

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