Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, as a communications solution is not a new concept. The technology has been in use for the past two decades and, as of 2016, is utilized by over one-third of businesses. The VoIP market will soon top $194 billion in annual activity.
What was originally an attempt to circumvent long-distance charges ultimately revolutionized how businesses of all sizes handle voice calls. Although VoIP is well established in many businesses, its technology is ever evolving.
Also, business communication needs to continually change. The past few years have brought a heightened need for seamless communications integration. Less business is done on the phone. Today, workers and clients communicate through mobile, and manage projects and daily processes through collaboration tools.
Business communications require agility and collaboration
These technologies might lessen the role of a traditional voice call in the business world, but it heightens the need for unified communications. VoIP telephony is a central component of how businesses that are poised for growth can leverage technology while improving workflows.
Businesses today need to combine their communication abilities. Mobile, CRM solutions and collaboration tools power daily operations in almost every field. Those who are not embracing and integrating these technologies will be at a competitive disadvantage.
So, as VoIP frequently evolves, where is it headed next? What technologies should nimble businesses consider as part of their unified communications? VoIP's future is bright, and here are some projected trends for this year and beyond.
If you haven't already, head to the cloud with your VoIP. Cloud technologies have pervaded the business world in recent years, and for good reason. The power of the cloud enables small businesses to act like large ones, and giant enterprises tame their IT budgets. How does the cloud impact unified communications, especially voice? Storage solutions allow for a practically never-ending volume for voice messages and other VoIP data, and they create the backbone for a fully-integrated communications system.
The cloud provides more than just storage scalability; it enables single point control and widespread access for remote capabilities. VoIP communication applications go far beyond voice data over a network. Today's VoIP systems provide businesses in box capabilities such as virtual call centers, auto attendants and more. With a VoIP system, even the smallest business can flex big business communications power.
VoIP-enabled businesses will rely on encryption.Does a cloud-based VoIP communications system present risk? Any time your business connects to the internet, there is a potential risk for bad actors to attempt to access data improperly. Connecting to the cloud requires an investment in security. Fortunately, secure encryption can protect sensitive voice data, and this is one area where innovations are shoring up communication strength.
When VoIP first became popular with businesses, data and voice traffic were routed together over ISDN technology, which is highly secure but limited in its speed. IP-based technology is faster but somewhat less secure unless you take steps to protect your network. Encryption protects voice data by adding a layer of required authentication. Hackers look for vulnerabilities, and encryption helps strengthen data security.
VoIP will continue to grow, especially in small and midsized businesses.Younger and smaller companies are much more likely to make the move to VoIP because they see the difference when it comes to costs and efficiency. When compared to traditional landline technology, it's clear why an increasing amount of small businesses have adopted VoIP.
First and foremost, landline technology is outdated. There is no chance of innovation around the bend, and landlines don't integrate well with modern business communications. VoIP setup and maintenance costs are much less than with landlines, and the technology is highly scalable, with intuitive remote work capabilities.
The only drawbacks of VoIP relate to the need for network connectivity. If the network is down, or you lose power, your VoIP system will also go down. A decade ago, this was the main reason VoIP systems didn't receive universal acceptance.
However, in today's business communication environment, the variety of communication methods provide resilience for minor outages. Team members may already be communicating via a cell data connection and would likely just temporarily transition to the cell network to get work done.
The unified communications available through VoIP provide these types of solutions and more. With VoIP, businesses can work and communicate on a level playing field. Customer communication is enhanced, and employees are easier to manage. Cloud computing and storage has strengthened VoIP, and it is now positioned to greater adoption in the business world.