The simple answer is mobile. In a recent survey, 75 percent of business owners who upgraded their phone systems did so to enable better mobile usage. 29 percent said they needed a more efficient way to forward calls to mobiles. 25 percent wanted voicemail that was easy to access away from the office and 21 percent required better overall interoperability with mobile.
Skilled staff need to communicate using their mobile phones. Whether they are hot desking in a regional office, working at home or out on the road, a mobile phone is critical to their working life.
Breakdown of business communication technology
Yet VoIP is not yet completely dominant. While an estimated 36 percent of business is using VoIP, many companies are still reliant on analogue technology (PSTN) or a mix of PBX and ISDN/T1.
The days of PSTN are numbered, however. In the USA many states have now sanctioned the end of copper line servicing (on which PSTN is reliant). Most have reduced their supervision of wired telecommunications. For businesses, it’s not a question of why move to VoIP but when.
A small proportion (around 8 percent) of businesses have already made the switch to “virtual PBX” using technology available today. These forward-looking companies are already using a mobile network for their communications. In effect, they have moved their PBX to the cloud.
The technology has been available for a few years. For example, Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) has been available since iPhone 6. HD Voice is also used; this technology improves speech quality by extending the frequency range being transmitted. There are likely to be mergers and acquisitions in the short term in this area.
Clearly, moving to VoIP can bring significant benefits and cost savings for businesses. So why isn’t there more take-up?
Feedback from VoIP users sometimes mentions voice quality as an issue. VoIP providers specify a Quality of Service (QoS) that compares voice quality with regular telephones. It deals with noise, echoes and, notably, the effect of delay to the packet. Packet loss tends to have less of an effect than delay. Jitter – when the amount of delay varies – can be more of an issue to effective communication.
To guarantee a high QoS, a VoIP provider needs to have the latest hardware with fast processors, and high bandwidth. Otherwise voice quality will suffer, which is a serious risk to the client’s business.
Feedback also mentions the loss of incoming calls. Set-up issues, for example setting up a voicemail address in the end user’s account, can cause this. Some VoIP providers include a feature to specify a fall-back number in cases like this.
International VoIP wholesale provider
As an industry leader, we have an uncompromising approach to quality. We are one of the world’s largest international VoIP providers. We carry 28 billion minutes a year, with 24/7 support and unlimited call capacity.
Widespread use of 5G is some years away, although testing is on-going. At full release, 5G should be around 10x quicker than today’s 4G networks. VoIP voice quality will improve, and any issues such as jitter and packet loss should be dramatically reduced or eliminated.
VoIP apps will be able to launch at this much faster speed. Video conferencing will become a reality for most businesses, with at least 4K or even 8K video streaming becoming the norm. With this increase in reliability and performance, businesses will have the confidence and motivation to move to VoIP.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration
Application technology is being developed to make business systems, such as CRM, interoperate seamlessly with VoIP services. Current processes often require unnecessary manual steps in order to keep data up to date on the go. CRM is seen as critical to business success, so using cloud-based technology coupled with VoIP will enable true mobile working.
Internet of Things (IoT)
By 2020 it is expected that there will be 30 billion IoT devices (double the number in 2015 and expected to further double by 2025). IoT devices are becoming a popular addition to households. In future, however, the technology is expected to go beyond consumers and become a key component of the Smart Office. IoT is already being used to manage sit/stand desks. The real breakthrough will be to combine IoT and VoIP and allow people to initiate and manage presentation devices and videoconferences, in the same way they manage their playlists.
VoIP will be a key component in enabling businesses to work smarter. Skilled staff will be more productive and, crucially, able to shift seamlessly between a hot desk, home office and on the road. As the take-up for VoIP increases, smart businesses will demand high quality, low cost, mobile connectivity, hosted in the cloud.