A perfect marriageRich Garboski voiceover Internet protocol (VOIP), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), Internet
VOIP technology and the mortgage industry
Every so often, a new technology arrives on the scene that has the
potential to change the way we do business. In the 1980s, the
breakup of the Bell system created alternative communication
solutions after a wide variety of telephone systems and voicemail
applications arrived on the scene.
In the 1990s, the Internet opened up worlds of opportunities for
all industries, especially the mortgage industry, with the
introduction of e-mail and instant messaging. Also, Web sites
entered the arena as a new way of prospecting, advertising and
communicating with customers. Web optimization has enhanced the
playing field for many mortgage companies on a global basis.
There's a new technology that matured over the last few years
called voiceover Internet protocol (VOIP). This is changing the way
the world can now communicate. No longer is a business bound to the
phone company or a long distance carrier. While most business
owners may be accustomed to paying for every phone call, those
calls can now be made for free! This technology has matured to
provide excellent voice quality by using VOIP to make Session
Initiation Protocol (SIP) calls, which are calls that are
established from point to point without the need of a telephone
For the mortgage company that employs loan officers who work
remotely or out of their homes, or for those that offer branching
programs, a VOIP telephone system will allow all of your employees
to be virtually connected to the corporate office. The benefits are
numerous. Savings is on the top of the list, and through VOIP, your
geographically disbursed employees will give the appearance to
outside callers that they are residing in the corporate office
itself. For example, a remote branch or employee is speaking to a
title/escrow company that needs to arrange a closing date. By
dialing an extension number, the agent can be sent directly to your
To really understand how VOIP and the mortgage industry is such
a good marriage of technology and business, one must understand
what VOIP and SIP really are.
What are VOIP and SIP?
VOIP allows for your Internet connection to be utilized for Web
browsing, e-mail and other data functions, and simultaneously
utilized for voice communications. This amazing feature eliminates
the need to have a separate phone line from that of your computer.
In fact, over the next few years, you will see traditional analog
telephone lines completely phased out and replaced with one pipe
that will either be a cable connection, fiber optic or other
high-speed connection brought into one's home office or business.
It will integrate all voice and data communications onto one common
transmission medium. Businesses will have many options as to who to
turn to for this pipe.
While the term "VOIP" has become more common over the past few
years, the term "SIP" is very new and represents a technology that
will have the same impact that the Internet, Web browsers and
e-mail once had.
SIP is merely a set of communication rules for establishing a
point-to-point connection over the Internet for the purposes of
voice or data usage. In the traditional method of telephone
communications, businesses were accustomed to picking up a
telephone device, dialing a set of digits and the phone company
would connect point A to point B for a fee. Before the days of the
Internet and cell phones, this was the only means of communication,
and everyone was under the jurisdiction of telephone communications
A SIP call, however, functions very differently. The best way to
describe SIP is that it compares very much to instant messaging on
the Internet. It provides a direct point to point communication
link between two people by first establishing an Internet
connection between the two parties, then allowing for an audio or
video conversation to occur. All of this happens without the need
of the traditional telephone network. With the latest business
telephone systems supporting SIP as a method of communication, a
world of possibilities and savings will open up for the mortgage
Why use VOIP and SIP?
There are many advantages for using VOIP and SIP over the
traditional way telephone calls are typically made. Some of the
benefits specific to the mortgage industry are:
Create a seamless integration of your off-site
With a VOIP phone system, you can connect all your remote loan
officers and branches through SIP calling between their individual
locations and the corporate office. Not only are these calls free,
it will also create an integrated environment. No more various
numbers to remember and stacks of phone bills to pay! With this
technology in place, the operator in your main office can transfer
a call to any branch or remote loan officer in the country (or visa
versa) while appearing totally transparent to the customer.
Lower your operating costs
With VOIP and a phone system that supports SIP, you can have as
many different telephone providers as you like. I would recommend
using one provider for out-of-state calls and use another for
in-state calls. With the various dialing plans and providers
available, a mortgage company can now effectively control its
Converge your data and voice mediums
Most business platforms today have separate access to telephone
lines and access to their Internet. VOIP technology allows
businesses to combine these mediums and lower their operating costs
by using one facility for both their data and voice communications
needs. If your business is using separate facilities, your company
is most likely paying too much.
Are there pitfalls of VOIP?
In the early days of VOIP, the biggest complaint was the quality of
the audio, which was choppy. This choppiness was due to the speed
of the Internet at that time and other factors that were out of
proportion--such as the size of the digital signal after conversion
from an analog format. Since broadband is more readily available,
Internet speeds have improved while the methods of compressing
voice signals have improved. This has resulted in a very clear
voice/audio quality on VOIP and SIP calls. In most cases, the
clarity is even better than that of the traditional telephone
Additionally, the implementation of quality of service (QOS)
ensures that voice traffic takes priority over data traffic. With
correct implementations of QOS, conversations are consistently of
good voice quality.
Like other technologies that have entered the marketplace, VOIP
and SIP have matured to the point where mortgage companies can now
adopt and embrace this technology and take advantage of the
numerous benefits they have to offer--the perfect marriage!
Rich Garboski is the president and founder of New York
City-based eTechHelp.com. He
may be reached at (888) 557-8324 or e-mail [email protected]