More than half of UK businesses have swapped to VoIP telephones, but the revolution is only just beginning. Even companies that have adopted VoIP have barely begun to exploit its potential. Here are a few developments burgeoning as we write.

The growth of UCaaS

VoIP is part of a technology that might more accurately be called “Unified Communications” (UC) because it’s digital nature allows all kinds of information processing to take place. A live voice call is easily recorded as an audio file and attached to an email, parsed into written text, sent a fax or SMS, or archived in a CRM database. Information can be extracted from voice messages using voice analytics software; written texts can be delivered using voice emulation software. The possibilities are endless.

The easiest way to take advantage of new opportunities offered by affordable wholesale VoIP termination is by accessing services in the Cloud (UCaaS means “unified communications as a service”). A VoIP provider, such as IDT, is constantly seeking opportunities to deploy new communication and collaboration features for its customers.

In-app communications

Developers are busy integrating services such as VoIP and real-time video into Cloud, desktop and mobile applications. You can already access Skype or other VoIP services from within Microsoft Office applications including Outlook and Excel, and even gamers have long been accustomed to holding real-time conversations with other players. In the future, applications without built-in communications will probably be looked on as anachronisms.

Fifth generation mobile communications

By using the internet, wholesale VoIP termination is already changing the way, and even the places, where business can be done. A VoIP number can be used anywhere you can get an internet connection, even if you’re on a business trip to Hong Kong or an engineer parked in a lay-by. It is capable of providing video calling and video conferencing or connecting to fax machines, even if you don’t have one. Agile wasn’t truly agile until it had VoIP.

The aim of 5G is to deliver ultra-fast mobile internet at a low price. People who want it to play media-rich interactive games on their smart-phones might be hard to please, but for mobile VoIP applications, it could be a breakthrough. 5G has the potential to deliver speeds of up to 10Gb/s, the same as many home broadbands, but available anywhere.

The mobile networks will switch it on in most major UK cities this year. Watch out for new 5G phones, such as the Huawei Mate X and Samsung Galaxy S10.

Artificial intelligence

2018 saw an unprecedented number of business start-ups based on artificial intelligence. True A.I. is capable of a lot more than just guessing keystrokes like Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana. Linked with voice recognition, voice emulation and VoIP, robotic systems will soon be talking with us and answering our questions without the need for expensive human call centres. Behind the scenes, they will be watching our behaviour and providing businesses with ever more valuable customer insights.