Philadelphia is home to five Fortune 500 corporations, with another eight in the surrounding Delaware Valley, which is probably one reason why there are so many VoIP providers in Philadelphia: It's a city that is focused on business success, and a well-funded business VoIP provider would certainly thrive in the economic incubator that is Philadelphia — the seventh largest metropolitan economy in the US.
In fact, Philadelphia is the headquarters of Fortune 500 company Comcast, which topped the 2012 Infonetics Business VoIP Leadership Scorecard for hosted VoIP services, in part due to its Business VoiceEdge. A hosted VoIP and unified communications (UC) solution, Business VoiceEdge offers companies an affordable cloud-based solution that includes unlimited domestic long distance.
Still, Philadelphians seeking VoIP for business purposes have many options to choose from. Since it first began generating revenue in 2002, the VoIP service industry has grown substantially over the past decade: Between 2002-2009, the VoIP service provider sector grew by more than 179,000% (not a typo!), causing it to be hailed as the Best Performing Industry of the Decade (2000-2009) by research firm IBISWorld. IBISWorld also predicted that VoIP would top the list from 2010-2019, and forecasted that revenue growth for VoIP providers from 2011-2016 would be a more stable but still steadily increasing 17.4%.
There are now many nationwide VoIP service providers that can offer enterprise-level, feature-rich solutions to Philadelphia's small and medium businesses (SMBs) at cost-efficient rates. Some companies, such as 8x8 or RingCentral, focus exclusively on VoIP for business, offering turnkey solutions to the SMB customer. Other companies, such as Vonage, are residential service providers with a smattering of plans tailored to the small office/home office (SOHO) customer.
For many companies looking to transition to VoIP for business reasons, it is important to find a local VoIP provider. There are many advantages to using a VoIP provider in Philadelphia, not the least of which is supporting the local economy. In a city like Philadelphia, with its history as a Revolutionary War capital, buying local takes civic-mindedness to an entirely different level. It could even be considered a patriotic duty.
There are other benefits to using a Philadelphia VoIP provider for a hosted PBX or premise-based IP PBX solution. A local provider specializing in VoIP for business can be the best VoIP provider simply because no one knows the challenges of doing business in a Philadelphia market better.
A local VoIP provider can:
- Conduct an in-person initial consultation
- Develop a business relationship through personal contact
- Tailor a specific VoIP solution
- Provide personalized attention
- Make in-person service calls
- Respond more quickly to service requests or problems
Some of the many business VoIP providers with a national footprint are based in the City of Brotherly Love. That makes the decision to buy local even easier for the business clients that demand a high-profile firm backed with the breadth of services (including bulk DIDs, facilities-based networks, and carrier-grade services) that a major national brand can provide.
In addition to cable and Internet service provider Comcast (a company that can offer ISP and other services as well), Alteva is one of the largest nationally known VoIP providers in Philadelphia. In 2011, Alteva was bought by Warwick Valley Telephone, which also owns enterprise VoIP provider USA Datanet. Alteva remains headquartered in Philadelphia, and is the country's largest provider of enterprise hosted VoIP and UC services.
Local doesn't have to mean large, however, and there are also many VoIP providers in Philadelphia that are SMBs themselves — and thus very familiar with the challenges faced by small business customers. Some local providers are even recognized as up-and-comers in the Philadelphia business market.
Expert Service Providers (ESP) is one such company. ESP has spent three consecutive years on the annual Philadelphia 100 list of fastest growing, privately-owned Philadelphia firms. The Philadelphia 100 is determined by the Wharton Small Business Development Center, The Entrepreneurs' Forum of Greater Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. The list is described as a "hallmark of entrepreneurial achievement in the region."
Here are a few of the VoIP providers offering services — including integrated voice and data and UC services — to the Philadelphia business community:
- Expert Technology Associates
- Expert Service Providers
- Phone America Corporation
- Evolve IP
Whether the local provider is an industry giant or a moderate sized business slowly making a name for itself as a reliable provider of VoIP for business clients, the best VoIP providers in Philadelphia are the ones who solve problems, efficiently and economically. For any Philly-based SMB transitioning from a legacy PBX to a cloud-based system, the best choice for VoIP business services is the company that meets its clients' telephony needs with a comprehensive, feature-rich, scalable, and ultimately affordable solution.
Migrating to VoIP for business is a significant and often complex decision. While VoIP phone service offers many advantages, including voice signals as clear as the Liberty Bell's ring, it also presents many challenges, such as:
- Assessing the local area network (LAN)
- Determining voice traffic patterns
- Procuring hardware/software
- Getting bids
- Contracting with vendors
- Coordinating with utility companies
- Managing and creating documentation
- Training staff
- Working with IT/facilities personnel to make the switch
Some VoIP providers in Philadelphia specialize in helping companies transition to a fully-featured, scalable VoIP solution, whether it be a hosted PBX, a hybrid solution, or an on-site IP PBX. These companies may provide VoIP services themselves, or they may capitalize in industry experience and existing business relationships to secure the most appropriate combination of services, hardware, and software.
Many of these VoIP firms will start the process with a comprehensive needs assessment to determine current voice traffic behaviors, especially if a converged network (data and voice) is an objective. These VoIP consultants will also assess the company's network infrastructure and make recommendations for improvements if necessary.
There are several VoIP firms in Philadelphia focused on providing local businesses with the Internet phone systems they need to function optimally. Some of the businesses offering VoIP consulting, system design and support services in Philadelphia and the surrounding area are:
- Beringer Associates (NJ)
- Meritz TeleNet
- All Covered
- Comm Solutions
- Transcend United Technologies
- Jomar Technologies
- I.T. Services Group, LLC
- Pathcom Inc
- Cory Communications (NJ)
- Xtel (NJ)