It’s pronounced voy-ip and comes under a variety of names including; IP telephony, internet telephony, broadband phone and voice broadband. Yes, it’s VOIP also known as voice over the internet protocol. It’s the newest technology for managing voice conversations over the internet and it’s sweeping the world.The benefits are numerous beginning with more autonomy and mobility for call center agents who can now work from anywhere with a broadband connection. Another benefit is that so long as you have internet access you can receive calls anywhere in the world. This means that the technology is independent of geographical location. Imagine making sales calls from a Virgin Mega Store in Sydney, or better yet from your own home. Also imagine video conferencing with no sound lag, while still being able to answer other incoming calls. All of these scenarios are possible with this new technology and its improving everyday.Since 2004, VOIP has been mass marketed over many broadband networks. It has been advertised as allowing users to have full phone services with inbound and outbound calls over the internet. The largest marketers are even offering unlimited calling to certain areas for flat fees. You’ve probably seen advertisements by companies such as Vonage or AT&T claiming the benefits of online calling and it’s mostly true. With the advent of VOIP you can potentially bundle all of your services with one large media provider. For example, AT&T is willing to bundle broadband internet, cable television and “internet phone” for reduced prices.INC and Entrepreneur magazines have claimed VOIP to be one of the greatest cost cutting tools for bootstrapping entrepreneurs. These savvy opportunists who wish to appear professional for a fraction of the cost of a traditional switchboard can do so through this new technology. Certain companies are in fact promoting virtual VOIP PBXs (private branch exchanges) allowing online voicemail, which is then forwarded to your email as an mp3 or texted to your cell phone. Even small businesses can use VOIP to setup multiple extensions under one phone line.Regardless of its great service and benefits, there are some challenges facing this new technology. VOIP can only be used most effectively over a broadband internet connection and requires a power adapter. Consequently, in times of power failures VOIP cannot be used. Along with this there is news that occasionally certain emergency calls to 9-1-1 have been misrouted. In addition faxes and other telephone based equipment such as home security systems require phone lines and for now are not accessible over VOIP. Essentially, VOIP is best used as complementary system rather than as an exclusive communications tool.As internet phone usage continues to expand and services improve you could potentially save quite a bit of money for yourself and your small business, while enjoying the perks of making unlimited calls from anywhere in the globe. If you are interested in setting up VOIP there are several very large companies worth researching. Including; AT&T, Broadvoice, Broadvox, Lingo, Paket 8, Verizon, Voiceglo, VoicePulse and Vonage. Starting rates vary from company to company but typically range between $20.00 and $35.00 per month.