As the evolution of communications continues, more users are seeking it out through less traditional methods. The relevance of the copper-based landline has been called into question by many, but a world without this kind of phons is now finally starting to get footing as a cultural view. According to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan, media gateways are beginning to slip in popularity, and are seen by many as irrelevant when compared to modern solutions like hosted VoIP service. The benefits and extra features that these types of systems bring to the table are rapidly pushing POTS – plain old telephone system – lines into obscurity.
IP telephony is arriving for an extended stay. According to the Frost & Sullivan report, the natural progression of communications to data lines has become an inevitable change in the way voice calls are made and received. The rapid growth seen in the markets for these systems is proof that businesses are paying attention to where the technology is headed. Those who do not at least address the issue are at risk of losing out on advanced functionality, if not falling behind completely.
Surge In VoIP Adoption, Spending
According to Frost & Sullivan, the upward trend occurring in parts of the unified communications market is being driven by the move to both VoIP services and SIP trunking. Specifically, session boarder controllers – a tool used to prevent both breaches and attacks – are experiencing a swell in acquisitions. The Global Enterprise Media Gateway and Session Boarder Controller Market analysis, conducted by Frost & Sullivan, found that the SBC market in particular drew in $1.98 billion in revenues. This growth is expected to reach $2.54 billion by 2019.
According to Michael Brandenburg, Frost & Sullivan information and communication technologies industry analyst, media gateways will still be utilized as long as there are legacy systems that will need to interact with VoIP PBX lines. But the increasing shift away from the POTS is, unsurprisingly, making them much less popular and viable.
“Lack of customer mindshare and product knowledge often leaves VoIP access and SIP trunking customers to rely on their service provider to protect their UC infrastructure from intrusion, while larger enterprises insist on deploying their own hardware-based or increasingly virtual E-SBCs,” Brandenburg said. “Therefore, vendors must gear up to support any on-premises or cloud-based deployment model that customers may require.”
Brandenburg also added that media gateway providers will need to diversify their offerings and think about ways to “extend the lifecycle” of their products in the face of business VoIP service.
VoIP Service Is More Than Just Voice
Considering that relatively recent advents make telephony systems capable of more than sending and receiving calls, it is not hard to see why the market is experiencing such an upturn. According to William Flanagan, author of the book “VoIP and Unified Communications: Internet Telephony and the Future Voice Network”, there is so much more that can be accomplished when operating outside of the POTS. Computers, for example, can be used in tandem with softphone clients and smartphones. Calls – even conference calls – can be managed, scheduled and even recorded in this way. Video connections can also be established thanks to IP telephony. This – and more – can be done safely behind secure network encryptions, which protect these lines much like they have for the Internet in years past.
But the benefits do not stop at the quantity of communication methods. There are many functions of VoIP that can enhance the quality of service, as well. Flanagan said that forking is one of these advantages. Instead of making multiple attempts to reach someone within the office, one call can ring through to multiple devices simultaneously, allowing for calls that would not normally be received to have a greater chance of being answered.
Part of the “unity” in “unified communications” means that all platforms are in sync – even text-based messaging. According to Flanagan, hosted VoIP can automatically transcribe voicemail messages into email compositions, allowing for a hard copy to be instantly available in the event that an extension is not picked up. Conversely, emails can be converted into audio files and listened to at the convenience of the recipient, all while keeping the original medium stored in case of discrepancies. This medium can also be used while voice or video conferences are being held, allowing for the convenience of text to make points clearer or even for private notes to be made without disturbing the session.
SMS is also starting to make an appearance in the workplace. Companies are starting to realize that texting can be a vital part of the UC puzzle. Flanagan said that, in addition to using this technology for general communications, texts could also possibly be used to remotely set up call forwarding and employee availability status. Instant messaging, one of the precursors to texting, can also have a place in a VoIP phone system.
If all of this is not enough to make VoIP sound like the future, Flanagan said that real-time collaboration is greatly aided by IP phone services. Employees want to be able to share their efforts electronically while discussing and working on them with others. Video and whiteboard sharing can be assisted by drag-and-drop conferencing, allowing users to quickly start a telemeeting, choose the participants and begin. These advancements in telepresence, along with concepts like the webinar, allow for remotely-located offices to work more closely together.
Business VoIP is the future. Are you ready for it?