While somewhat overambitious in its predictions (like hoverboards and self-tying shoelaces), Back to the Future Part II did get one thing right. People today use computers that can conduct calls and video conferences without connecting through the phone company.

Today, we call them Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems, and they have completely transformed the way organizations communicate.

Since calls are routed over the internet, you don’t have to pay for an expensive phone plan to make local and long distance calls. What’s more, VoIP systems have brought many futuristic technologies to life, and it’s about time you start using them.

1. Auto Attendant

In the old days, businesses had to hire a front-desk receptionist to answer incoming calls and reroute them to the right department. But now you can replace humanoid operators with state-of-the-art automated attendants that don’t catch up on their beauty sleep at the office.

Auto attendant features allow you to record greetings and set up menu options for callers to easily reach different departments within the company. What’s great about this feature is it delivers consistent performance with every call, even if Hector were asleep. So if you’re looking for a reason to fire your underperforming receptionist, tell them that they’ve been replaced by a machine.

2. Call Routing

Long gone are the days when the typical office job meant sitting in front of a screen in an endless row of cubicles. With call routing features, your employees can take their extension with them wherever they go -- whether they’re in the office, at home, or in the Pyrenees.

For example, when someone tries to call your office number, the call routing system will try your deskphone first before rolling out to your company-registered mobile device or home phone. Of course, if you want to be left alone, you can simply set your VoIP to block incoming calls at a time when you feel the sunset might be its most glorious.

3. Coaching Tools

Training new call center staff used to be a lot more complicated when you couldn't "monitor, coach, and barge." Back then, when all you could do was stand over someone's shoulder and grimace, it would take new members of the team quite some time to get used to talking appropriately to customers on the phone.

However, thanks to the coaching tools included with modern VoIP systems, it’s now possible for supervisors to assess ongoing calls in real time and even ‘whisper’ in without interrupting them.

4. Unified communications

If you ever wanted to have your own mission control center right on your desk, you can do that with unified communications (UC). UC consolidates all your emails, instant messages, calls, and marketing data in one window.

This may not seem like the pinnacle of innovation, but there are some pretty useful functions you can take advantage of. For instance, when you attempt to call a client, UC can automatically pull up previous interactions and relevant transaction histories so you can better serve them.

So even if you haven’t called a client in so long you’ve forgotten the sound of his or her voice, you have all the information you need to make your conversations sound like with that clientyou speak to them on a daily basis.

5. Video conferencing

If you intend to work with people located around the world, you’ll need to have a way to stay in touch without wasting time on flights and spending money on rooms for quick brainstorming sessions.

With VoIP’s audio and video conferencing features, you can conduct meetings in the comfort of your own home.

Besides transforming your home office into, well, an actual office, VoIP conferencing lets you talk to hundreds of people in one session. What’s more, it comes with screen sharing features which make it possible to show your colleagues the monthly revenue reports, as opposed to simply insisting that “things are looking good.”

While we’re all patiently waiting for the day when holograms will take over meeting rooms and when everyone can make long-distance calls with brain implants, all these VoIP features are a must for all forward-thinking businesses -- whether you run a small company or an evil, faceless corporation.

The success of any modern business is heavily dependent on its telecom systems. That’s why Red Key Solutions provides the expertise, services and tools that businesses in the Westchester and New York areas need to keep ahead of the game. Call us today to schedule a free assessment and prepare your business for the future.

Red Key is a leading Managed IT firm that is bringing AI to companies in New York City, Westchester County, Fairfield County Connecticut, California & beyond.