What is the difference between VoIP and UCaaS?

It’s difficult to envision a revenue-generating organization that doesn’t engage in communication with their customers. Sales and support roles both rely on effective communication technologies to connect them with customers and drive positive business outcomes.

For modern business communications, the major options on the market are Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).

Read on to learn more about the differences between VoIP and UCaaS, and how to sort your way through the marketplace of VoIP or UCaaS providers that could serve your business.

UCaas vs VoIP: Differences

Understanding the differences between VoIP as a service and UCaaS can help decision makers zero in on the right technology for their investment. So, how are VoIP and UCaaS related—and what is the difference between VoIP and Unified Communications?

VoIP came first, UCaaS goes further

While each of these facilitates communication, VoIP came first. When it was first introduced around 1995, it modestly revolutionized phone-based communication. By delivering traditional phone service through an internet provider (rather than physical telephone cables), organizations found that they could unlock cost savings, simplify management, and access additional features.

That being said, VoIP shouldn’t sound like wildly futuristic technology (though it was considered truly cutting-edge at its inception)—it simply improves upon traditional phone systems. VoIP systems accommodate features like call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, three-way calling, voicemail, and call blocking.

Fast-forward roughly 20 years to the inception of UCaaS. Two important aspects make up its definition. First, “Unified Communications” refers to the bringing together of multiple communication channels in a single platform and user interface. VoIP is one component of UCaaS, and additional channels in a UCaaS configuration can include email, instant messaging, webchat, videoconferencing, and more.

Moving to a UCaaS platform streamlines the user experience by providing a single interface for handling any customer communication—regardless of channel. This way, whether a customer calls, emails, or chats, the agent handling the interaction can easily access customer data from any channels they’ve engaged with before—meaning they won’t have to repeat all of their details every time they reach out, and helps create context for each interaction.

The “as-a-service” piece of the UCaaS definition means all the full suite of communication channels is hosted in the cloud. Benefits of cloud-hosted communication include accommodation of remote work, robust security protocols, and customizable channels that can be enabled/disabled.

So, VoIP or UCaaS?

For organizations that are still using traditional phone calling, VoIP represents a simple and affordable upgrade. Benefits of VoIP over old-school calling include:

  • Cost savings
  • The ability to easily add or remove phone lines
  • Easier contact center management
  • Access to advanced features like call distribution and interactive voice recognition (IVR)
  • Mobility for remote applications
  • The ability to bundle data and phone service through a single vendor

Among the benefits of moving from telephony or VoIP to a UCaaS provider are the following:

  • A lower total cost of ownership (across the various communication channels)
  • The ability to integrate features like video conferencing and screen sharing
  • Simpler management across multiple locations, including remote workers
  • Enhanced business continuity and disaster management
  • The ability for agents or reps to view customer history across channels
  • The ability to turn certain communication channels on or off, as needed

Small organizations that engage in very little remote work or regular collaboration may be well-served by a VoIP system that can save money, increase mobility and reliability, and improve customer communications. If you need to (or may soon want to) accommodate video conferencing, improve collaborative opportunities, gain increased flexibility in services and features, implement enhanced security, or simplify troubleshooting through a single point of contact, UCaaS is the better investment.

Choosing the right VoIP or UCaaS provider

There’s a lot to consider when evaluating which UCaaS platform will offer the most benefits to your employees, customers, and overall business. You can count on the experts at InterVision to help you navigate the marketplace and make the best decision possible: one that matches your needs, goals to exceed collaboration and communication systems expectations. Our in-house team of engineers and other experts is ready to help you achieve a successful transformation and best-in-class experience, so contact us to start realizing your IT vision today.


Want to learn more? You may also be interested in these blogs …
UCaaS: Past, Present and Future
UCaaS Providers
CCaaS Companies