Since its launch around 20 years ago, VoIP has become one of the most prevalent and most popular technologies of our time and is one of the top performing industries of this decade. By 2017, the number of mobile VoIP users is expected to surpass 1 billion and is expected to be valued at $82.7 billion, with a 6% CAGR. It has changed the way we communicate and has taken the business world by storm. The lure of decreased costs and increased flexibility has prompted this rapid shift to VoIP, and the market is again expected to experience steady growth in the years to come.
Here are some VoIP market trends to watch out for in the coming year.
Emergence of 5G
The world is holding its breath for a new era in wireless networking – the 5th generation of wireless technology advancements. It is expected to be 10 times faster than the current speeds, and with the ability to transmit data faster and easier than ever before, mobile connectivity will skyrocket. Mobile VoIP users will benefit especially from these fast download speeds. Even though the technology is not expected to hit the mainstream market until 2020, 2017 will see various telecoms launching their test versions of 5G.
Security as a priority
Security is one of the top concerns going into 2017. In 2016 not a month went by without some news about security breaches. As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to proliferate into our homes and offices, security risks will increase proportionally. On top of that, one of the drawbacks of VoIP is that it is easier to breach than the traditional landline. Some technology gurus are even predicting that the cloud will become the target for hackers in 2017. This means that in the coming year providers will take additional measures in order to minimize the security concerns.
Integration with enterprise software
As more and more companies are opting for VoIP, the next logical step in the agenda is making sure that it is compatible with their enterprise software, which is used in various departments. Unified communications (UC) platforms give businesses access to a slew of integrated features and apps from a single platform. VoIP vendors, then, must make sure that their services will have the option of integrating with software like customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP).
Moreover, as UC gains its stance and companies look for ways to seamlessly integrate apps and software, business VoIP providers in 2017 will strive more to supply users with their unique API, the element of development in their offerings. This new value-added service will make it even easier to link various apps and platforms.
It is a safe bet that in 2017 the trend towards a more mobile workforce will continue. Already in the recent years, we have started to see steady growth in the numbers of mobile workers or telecommuters. With more and more connected devices, workers feel unprecedented freedom, while always being connected. In fact, according to Forbes, 81% of CEOs see mobility as a top priority in terms of strategic importance for their enterprises, with the aim of achieving competitive advantage. As VoIP increases its prevalence, so will the on-the-go workforce. In turn, businesses will benefit from the reduced operational costs and bolstered revenues.
One of the main outcomes of the above mentioned developments will be the increased flexibility VoIP users will enjoy in 2017. Whether your organization is scaling up or down, it will require minimal effort thanks to the fact that your hosted VoIP service uses cloud technology. Your UC can adapt to the needs of your team as it wishes, without restricting or holding you back in any way.
Contextual collaboration will become the norm thanks to features like persistent chat. Instead of emailing back and forth, collaborating on a document or a project live is expected to become the norm in the coming year.
Although VoIP has heralded the coming of many benefits for businesses and individuals alike, the ever-increasing number of users is bound to put a strain on the networks. Moreover, With the IoT, countless devices are also being connected to each other through the network. In fact, the number of connected devices is expected to grow to 21 billion by 2020. Therefore, in the coming year, some glitches are to be expected. VoIP vendors, then, should gear their efforts towards reducing this burden if they want to maintain the growth and success of their services.
Obviously, there is no way to know for sure what the future really holds. However, VoIP is not going anywhere. At least not in the near future. The strong trends of 2016, though, give us enough confidence to make predictions for the year to come. Overall, there will be an increase in connectivity, agility, and new technological developments, which might become the cause of potential network glitches. It is time to look forward to vendors coming up with adapted solutions in order to accommodate the growing needs of 21st century users.