Set in the outskirts of Akron, Doylestown is a small community with the kind of old-town appeal that makes it an ideal bedroom community. And within Doylestown is the Doylestown Telephone Company, founded in 1899 when telephones were still a novelty and counted as cutting-edge technology at the turn of the 20th century.
Therein hides a path to the next phase of phone communication. The original telephone company also owns Ohio.net, a company dedicated to providing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to small and medium-sized businesses looking for ways to customize their phone service to support their own needs. While many people are still wary of VoIP, which allows voice communication to be translated into data packets that travel over the Internet for part of their journey, Ohio.net sales and marketing director Alex Desberg explains that VoIP is ideal for businesses concerned about data security.
“It’s easier to tap a phone line than to capture data from VoIP,” he says, noting that attempting to intercept voice transmissions traveling over the Internet is “not like grabbing an email.” “It’s as secure as anything coming out of your network,” he adds.
To handle the varying needs for security, Ohio.net can customize the way the service manages the data transmissions, so that a hospital, for instance, might choose a more secure type connection to protect confidential conversations about patients, while a small retail store might choose options that reflect their lower need for security.
Although VoIP has been around for more than a decade, many businesses don’t yet understand why they might benefit from moving their phone service from the traditional public switched telephone network to the Internet. Desberg explains that he routinely encounters two types of customer that Ohio.net can help: The first is a business that has outgrown their traditional phone service and may not have such basic office capabilities as caller ID and call transferring abilities. The second one is a business that has experimented with VoIP but wound up with a solution that isn’t working for the business, perhaps with add-on services that are not appropriate for the business and are never used. He explains that a custom VoIP solution is something a company “can live with for a long time.”
This flexibility is one of the benefits of choosing a small provider like Ohio.net, which works to customize the solution for the business customer.
“This technology is still not general adoption, but new [developments] are allowing us to add more applications, like call center services, call queues and integration into customer management systems,” Desberg says.
All of these services allow a small business to present the type of professional image that a much larger company does. This even extends to small virtual businesses with employees across the nation using individual cell phones as business lines, which means that Ohio.net can help any business cut one more cord that ties employees to a certain office location and phone system. That’s an idea whose time has come.