VoIP has been around since 1995, which is to say pretty much since the start of the internet. It has been gaining ground ever since and, in recent years, Voice Over Internet Protocol, to use its full name, has seen a massive increase in usage and adoption. So much so that, in 2018, VoIP reached the one billion user mark.
VoIP’s great success has seen many market analysts turning their attention to the sector. Predictions have the market value of VoIP reaching $93.2 billion by 2024.
With all this in mind, what is VoIP going to look like in the years ahead?
1. Say Goodbye to the Plain Old Telephone Service and Hello to IP
Prepare for a mass transformation in communication infrastructure. In the next 10 years, the plain old telephone system (fondly known as POTS) will become obsolete.
In the U.K., the POTS network will start to come offline as early as 2020. BT plans to shift all its customers over to IP telephony by 2025.
Industries are already preparing for such events and transitions, with estimates showing that 40 million business users have subscribed to VoIP this year.
2. Superfast Connectivity Marries Up with Unified Communications (UC)
With the arrival of 5G, mobile phone users get the benefit of having fiber optic-like internet connections anywhere at any time. And that’s great news for VoIP, which looks set to dominate the telecoms market. Superfast, stable connectivity is crucial to the rollout of VoIP.
5G also provides users and businesses the ability to handle a range of integrated apps whilst simultaneously running communication programs in real time, without lag or delay.
With a heightened capacity to handle data, analysts predict, will come a rise in seamless multi-platform and application collaboration. PBX multi-line business systems will soon be no more. The result of this is that personnel will be contactable through one number at any time, in any place.
Welcome to an efficiency revolution. A revolution where you can operate desktop-level applications through your smartphone.
All the big tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Huawei, and IBM are investing in UC. Indicators show it will revolutionize the way we communicate.
For businesses that operate on many platforms, VoIP is the white knight of communication resources. It offers seamless, integrated communication between devices.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Is Ready to Supercharge VoIP Capabilities
Excitement over the potential of AI is enormous. It’s already clear it will be a technology that will change the world, and its impact on the way we communicate is likely to be profound.
VoIP will benefit through the advancements of AI, which could react to network errors well before human parties would be aware of any problem. High-speed connectivity is essential to ensure a viable VoIP system. AI will enable smooth communication services are consistent.
As VoIP is an IP service, it isn't affected by the same problems that afflicted the POTS or analog networks. Missed revenue from outages and dropped calls will be a thing of the past. With 39% of businesses saying that they lost their telephone communications in 2019, it’s clear that Voice Over IP will save a lot of companies a lot of money.
AI will ensure full-scale analysis of user data too. Data analytics would benefit companies giving detailed information. Being able to analyze data on such a vast scale would improve the ability of any businesses to tailor their services to the needs of the consumer.
4. Security Catches up to Further Support VoIP
VoIP tech can be susceptible to malicious attacks from outside parties and criminal organizations. Phones are hackable, and data is a valuable resource that needs protection.
Many of the cybersecurity issues that can affect VoIP are the same as those found on any service that runs over the internet. Security companies are working with the VoIP sector to close loopholes that could allow cyberattacks on systems.
A recent IBM study found that over 50% of cyberattacks are targeted directly at VoIP systems. Small businesses are especially susceptible to cyberattacks, which cost small firms $200,000 on average and cause 60% of companies to go out of business within six months of an attack.
Luckily, security companies are working with the VoIP sector to close loopholes that could allow cyberattacks on systems, and we have seen serious developments in end-to-end encryption to combat these attacks. Wi-Fi encryption and the integration of Advanced Encryption Standards (AES) have come a long way and new security developments will give users the tools needed to protect and maintain their services.
5. The Internet of Things and VoIP are Unified
We live in a world that’s more interconnected than ever. As the Internet of Things (IoT) starts to merge with VoIP, expect to see a lot more connectedness between a dizzying variety of devices.
Smart homes and smartphones already speak to each other through VoIP. But soon, thanks to VoIP, you could get a text message from your motorbike, reminding you to undertake maintenance checks.
And integrated communications are only set to increase. With that, expect to see increased worker mobility, cost savings for businesses, and better productivity. VoIP will give greater flexibility in the way we operate.
Sam O'Brien is the Senior Website Optimization & User Experience Manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a global VOIP systems provider. Sam has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams.