The Top VoIP Trends for 2017

April 20th, 2017 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. Aaron O'Keeffe

VoIP has been supporting businesses almost since its arrival in the telecommunications space over two decades ago. Like any mainstream technology, VoIP continues to evolve and expand its features each year, so it’s always useful to review some of the likely trends that will impact this telephone technology in the coming year, along with the possible implications for your business or household.

The emergence of 5G technology

5G is the standard beyond the current 4G, and it promises to be faster, offering higher capacity than 4G. While the 5G standard is still in the process of being defined and 5G networks probably won’t be available until 2020, it’s possible that the VoIP industry as a whole will begin preparing for the emergence of 5G technology and the impending shift. A reflection of this is how major telco providers in the US, such as Verizon, have already begun to look towards how 5G will be deployed in their service range. The organisation, in conjunction with Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, and Apple, has formed the 5G Tech Forum, which aims to work on 5G specification and possibly speed up the arrival of 5G in the telecommunications, and of course VoIP, industry.

5G will likely feature network speeds that are lightning fast at 20 G/bps or even faster, with bigger capacities and a latency that’s milliseconds. 5G could allow faster and even more stable connections between people as well as machines – enabling the Internet of Things – and vehicles, city infrastructure, and much more. Another reason 5G standards could impact VoIP is how it can enable always-on capabilities for networks, even while boosting energy efficiency.

So, will 5G require new physical infrastructure to work? Probably not. 5G will probably be designed to be built on the existing 4G networks, and its eventual rollout may start with the LTE-Advanced Pro standard before a full shift to 5G. All of this suggests that the transition to 5G could be fairly smooth for VoIP users and providers, and result in better quality VoIP services due to the larger capacity and higher speeds.

Security continues to be a priority

Security is predicted to continue to be a top priority for VoIP, especially with cloud VoIP, since internet telephone services are easier than traditional landlines to breach. While there are in-built security measures such as firewalls, encryption, and user authentication, there’s the possibility of social or identification threats, interception and modification, interruption, service abuse, and so on.

Giving the security-conscious landscape, VoIP providers are likely to keep investing in security features and measures to ensure a safer user experience, and the basics (such as encryption) will remain critical.

Mobile VoIP accelerates

Whether for personal or enterprise usage, the uptake of mobile VoIP is likely to accelerate in 2017 as more users rely on their smartphones and mobile devices to make calls and make use of the wide range of SIP and VoIP apps to chat, call, and connect with customers and friends.

For a mobile workforce, the easy transition to VoIP on mobile devices is even more important. Telecommuters and staff members who work on the road will find it helpful (if not essential) to transition seamlessly from their office line to their VoIP on their mobile phone or computer. At the same time, organisations can continue to reap the benefits of VoIP cost efficiencies.

Integration

VoIP providers will likely continue to find ways to provide more integration capabilitieswith other business tools that their customers are already using. These include enterprise resource planning platforms, customer relationship management systems, and other software systems essential to organisations.

The trend towards more integration can lead to cost efficiencies for organisations, improved productivity and convenience for users, and possibly significant time savings as well. Features such as data sharing across apps, syncing of information, and automated recording of calls and even call content can all benefit businesses and team members.

Flexibility and scalability

Organisations will continue to leverage the increased flexibility that VoIP offers. Whether a business is contracting or scaling up quickly, VoIP remains an ideal go-to solution that supports rapid changes in staffing numbers. At the same time, VoIP’s flexibility lends it well to other collaborative tools such as persistent chat, which can be superior to email and other alternatives.

Network strain

Network strain is a real possibility in the coming year, and this could be largely due to rising technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT). The proliferation of IoT devices could result in many more devices being constantly connected to other devices through networks, therefore adding to the overall burden placed on networks.

Estimates suggest the number of IoT devices will jump from just six billion in 2016 to 21 billion in 2020. At the same time, however, the adoption of new standards such as 5G and its massive capacity gains over existing standards could eventually offset the network strain.

VoIP is likely to continue expanding its reach, especially in businesses, over the course of 2017. As a well-entrenched technology for organisations, mobile workers, and private households, VoIP will probably continue to record a growing user base, provide greater integration with enterprise tools, and possibly confront challenges such as network strain, which could be eventually offset with the arrival of 5G.

Contact the experts at Aussie Broadband today to discuss your business internet needs, and how to keep your plan up to date with new technologies.

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About the author

Aaron O'Keeffe

Aaron works from an office in the tropical Northern Territory, inciting intense jealousy from his Victorian workmates during winter. He’s an expert in IT solutions from the ground up. Aaron is National Sales Manager of Aussie Broadband, which specialises in bespoke telco solutions for corporate and government customers.