Business owners are increasingly reliant on the Internet and an uncapped Internet account makes technology like Voice over IP (VoIP), cloud computing and website management more affordable.
Carolyn Holgate, MWEB Connect GM, says the cost of doing business is a primary consideration for Small Office Home Office businesses (Sohos) and so, any solution that lowers costs while improving business productivity is worth considering.
In her view, there are five key reasons why uncapped Internet is ideal for business owners:
1) Window on the world
One of the most used elements online is browsing, which opens up a world of information. By mastering search tools, search engines enable business owners to quickly find the information, people and companies on which they require more details.
The Internet is also most Sohos’ primary news source, providing access to local sites like Fin24 and Mail and Guardian, along with video sharing sites like TED Talks or YouTube.
With uncapped Internet, you can also build your brand with business pages on Google +, Facebook and Linked-In while using Twitter and sites like Google News to keep abreast of what’s happening in the world – all without worrying about how much data you’re using.
2) Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
VoIP is a fantastic product because of the collaboration dynamics where conference calling, (with video or just voice), file sharing and instant messaging are all combined in one application for true collaboration over the Internet.
VoIP enables small businesses to make meetings with business partners and clients completely virtual, lowering communication and travel costs. Uncapped Internet removes the concern about the cost of bandwidth or the need to top up bandwidth to prevent being cut off during an important video or VoIP call.
Furthermore, VoIP traffic is prioritised on the MWEB network, which improves call quality (as long as you’re on a 1Mbps or higher line.)
3) Cloud computing and storage
Cloud Computing is a third extremely valuable element for business owners, allowing you to access email from wherever you are via hosted exchange solutions.
“You can have a synchronised copy of your email across your PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone (without worrying about the bandwidth costs of downloading email to multiple devices) and respond to email from whatever device you are on,” says Holgate.
Cloud storage also enables documents to be saved on servers in the cloud.
“This allows you to retrieve key documentation from anywhere as long as you are connected to the Internet, as well as for redundancy in the event of device failure. Backups can be done to the cloud on a daily basis without being concerned about bandwidth costs,” she says.
Cloud computing also ties in with the collaboration elements mentioned in point two. While conversing over the Internet, documents on the cloud can be opened and modified in real time by several people simultaneously.
4) Website maintenance
Websites are vitally important to extend your reach and a well maintained website can make your businesses accessible to thousands of people.
Given the cost consideration of outsourcing website development, most businesss owners maintain their own websites.
“As line speeds improve in South Africa, it becomes far easier to load multimedia content onto websites, making them far more visual-based and compelling to visitors to the site,” she says.
However loading this type of content onto your site on a regular basis can quickly eat into your bandwidth allotment and your budget if you don’t have an uncapped account.
5) Predictable costs
“Lastly, uncapped Internet is convenient for business owners because the fixed monthly cost makes budgeting far easier and removes unexpected expenditure on telecommunications. As your business grows and more people need to be employed, all of the above points are amplified as more employees are added to the home office. With uncapped Internet, the cost remains the same,” says Holgate.