The pace of change in communications technology is increasing as better internet access and lower prices make IP an option for a larger share of the business market. Technology that once was only available to large enterprises, is now accessible to businesses of all sizes. Customers are increasingly recognizing that VoIP solutions and SIP trunking have the ability to increase productivity and sharply reduce communications costs. Here’s a look at a few key VoIP trends.
The Shift to the Cloud
The market for cloud-based PBX solutions continues to grow. Customers are attracted by the pay-as-you-go economics, ease of implementation and use, multiple-location support, and disaster recovery implications of hosted VoIP. When paired with SIP, cloud-based VoIP is an attractive solution for businesses of all sizes and technical resources. Of course, there is still a market for premises-based IP solutions and open source PBX systems like Asterisk also maintain popularity, but the adoption of the cloud model shows no signs of slowing.
Ubiquity of Unified Communications
Although making and receiving voice calls remains the core purpose of a business phone system, what customers expect from the solution has expanded. The business PBX has become a platform for voice, video collaboration, instant messaging, presence information, reporting, desktop sharing, SMS and more. Features that were considered too expensive or too complex for smaller businesses have evolved over time to be an expected extension of business phone systems. In fact, the market for UC services is expected to hit $88 billion by 2018.
Growing Importance of Mobility
Business users are increasingly demanding that the communication features they enjoy at the office be extended to their mobile devices. Mobile and remote work are facts of life for modern employees who are often expected to be available and accessible well beyond normal work hours. The convenience of having mobile endpoints to corporate communications systems is causing more companies to consider solutions with robust mobility support. In fact, some businesses are turning to all mobile endpoints and eliminating deskphones altogether. While that isn’t practical for every business, the growing importance of mobility can’t be underestimated.
Increased focus on Security
Unfortunately, VoIP solutions are prime targets for people who wish to commit fraud, gain unauthorized access to information, or generally cause harm to businesses or individuals. The industry as a whole is working to make systems more secure and prevent illegal attacks. New protocols that secure voice traffic are being developed and patches to vulnerabilities, like the recently uncovered Shellshock vulnerability are being applied. Public education about the risks associated with VoIP is also important. There are precautions that businesses can take, such as using strong passwords and enforcing site security, which will help secure systems and prevent fraud.
There’s reason to believe that each of these VoIP trends will persist into the future as more and more businesses and individuals take advantage of the opportunity to leverage IP technology to make business communications more efficient and effective.