What does the future hold for VoIP?

The year 2016 is proving to be an exciting one in the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) space. Technology and business professionals alike well know there comes a point in the lifecycle of a technology at which it is threatened with decline from competition with newer technologies. Over time VoIP will be no exception to this, but the good news for those involved in developing and providing VoIP services is that this is a young industry providing many opportunities for growth and diversity.

If we use a building analogy, any house has to have firm foundations. In a similar sense, a young industry – and we can include VoIP under this heading – has to be structurally sound to withstand what the future may hold. The positive thing, from the perspective of the VoIP sector, is that providers are putting in the type of foundations that will provide robustness lasting into the future.

Keeping up to date with trends in technology is essential for business and in terms of what is actually happening with VoIP in 2016, there are a number of key trends you should be on the lookout for. These include:

VoIP and the Cloud: A growing number of organizations and enterprises are adopting hosted VoIP/cloud PBX systems, owing to the greater affordability of and lower maintenance costs available through a hosted VoIP provider. If you run a small or medium business making the switch from traditional telephone lines to an IP enabled platform then hosted VoIP represents a good choice. The preference of small- and medium-sized enterprises for cloud services that are managed off-site has represented an opportunity for the VoIP sector to expand its reach and leverage its expertise for that segment of the economy that would not necessarily have the resources in-house to successfully implement and manage a particular technology that, nonetheless, would be of huge benefit if adopted. The growth in customization by hosted services is making cloud PBX an increasingly attractive option for organizations across the board and you can expect to see larger businesses fully embrace the trend. That Internet speeds are increasing and the cost of VoIP hardware is falling are other positive signs for the future of hosted VoIP services.

VoIP and Internet of Things: Technology professionals know the Internet of Things represents a huge opportunity. The principle behind the Internet of Things is that as more and more devices have through Internet connectivity the ability to exchange data over networks with each other. That these devices include such everyday appliances as fridges and washing machines or even the lighting systems in our homes is an increasing reality. Those behind the Internet of Things envisage a future where employees have the ability to fully customize their workspaces using a VoIP phone. In a similar vein, the combination of VoIP and the Internet of Things will facilitate remote working and the sharing of workspaces, providing the type of flexibility that workers who regularly switch between home, the office, or client sites find essential.

VoIP and social media: It is difficult to underestimate the impact that social media has had on our daily interactions with friends and family. Businesses are also harnessing the power of social media to engage with customers. VoIP services are by no means immune from the social media revolution and that entire social media platforms are based on VoIP technology is indicative of just how intertwined the two have become. Take the example of WhatsApp, which enables users to send messages and share photos and allows calls via the Internet. Such a platform would not exist were it not for VoIP. Facebook, the first name that springs to mind for many of us when we think about social media, acquired WhatsApp in 2014 and perhaps inspired by its example has subsequently rolled out Internet-based phone calls for its own Messenger app.

Keeping up to date with technology trends is essential for any tech or business professional. There are numerous online resources for doing so, not the least of which are Donald Burns blogs. As founder of the Telco Communications Group, Inc., Burns has a terrific insight into how to grow a technology business, with Telco having become a leading player in the VoIP sector. He is chairman of the board of directors at magicJack, a maker of a computer peripheral that plugs into USB ports to enable VoIP calls.

With forward thinking and a willingness to adapt to circumstances there is no reason to believe that VoIP providers will not be able to survive and indeed thrive. That VoIP providers are currently rolling out the sort of initiatives that are potentially transformative for businesses is a sign that this is an industry that will continue to grow.