Understanding VoIP: The Future of Telephony

Businesses are always looking to find the most effective and efficient way to communicate, which can prove difficult when the business landscape is constantly changing. It’s imperative for organisations, no matter the size or industry, to find a solution that delivers an experience that satisfies both users and customers. Aligning these tools with evolving customer behaviours, while also fostering a culture of collaboration, feels like a daunting task without the right knowledge at hand.

One solution that has emerged as a leader in the communications field is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which transmits voice signals across the Internet via digital data packets. Traditional copper phone lines aren’t needed when making voice calls, video calls, or utilising instant messaging services, making it a desirable service for businesses looking to further their communication capabilities. The global market for mobile VoIP is set to hit $145.8 billion by 2024, giving a clear indication of how businesses are targeting VoIP as their preferred method of embracing communication transformation.

But how exactly can VoIP possess the potential to forge a presence as the future of telephony and business communications?

Securing scalability in a cost-effective manner: Advantage of VoIP

Implementing effective business communication solutions can be a costly affair. Installing and maintaining hardware, plus making long-distance phone calls, can accumulate an array of charges that can leave business leaders panicking over how to keep costs under control. Businesses looking to achieve their long-term growth goals will be held back by costly equipment and not having the best solution in place to adapt to the changing needs of their customers. Scalability is key to surviving in markets that are becoming more competitive by the day.

Eliminating set-up costs after opting for a VoIP system is just the first step in developing a telephony solution that is much more cost-effective compared to legacy systems. By being hosted in the cloud, hardware such as on-premise phone systems and dedicated phone lines aren’t required to maintain a VoIP solution, which in turn reduces the amount of time and money required regarding ongoing maintenance. Moreover, businesses can save up to 90% on international calls by using VoIP, opening growing businesses up to the potential of expanding their opportunities across the globe without going over budget.

That added scalability can be seen by the ease in which phone lines can be both added and removed, depending on customer demand and how many users are currently operating, since these lines are hosted in the cloud. Business demand may also fluctuate depending on the time of year, meaning that businesses need to ensure they aren’t overspending on their telephony solutions if the majority of phones remain idle for an extended period of time. Efficiency isn’t jeopardised thanks to the seamless transition to an increased, or even decreased, number of active phone lines. Safeguarding efficiency ensures growing businesses can respond quickly to the demands of a customer base they need to cultivate and generate loyalty from in order to stay competitive. Scalability is vital in building market presence and generating further successes.

The enhanced features of VoIP

We’ve already mentioned how competitive markets are these days, and while having a cost-effective and scalable VoIP solution is certainly advantageous, it must also provide advanced features to improve communication capabilities. Over 50% of businesses still rely on legacy telephony, meaning that they are depriving their staff of the features and functionalities they need to provide a better customer experience. Lacking the right tools to do their jobs efficiently only leads to disgruntled employees that leave their positions to find organisations that can supply them. Providing these advanced features can combat the turnover rate of contact centre employees that averages between 30-45%, and provide much needed stability.

Unleashing the power of VoIP grants businesses access to a greater number of advanced call features that transforms business communications. Auto attendant, for example, redirects incoming calls to another department in order to help guide the caller towards the information they’re looking for in a timely manner. Routing calls correctly ensures that none go unanswered, but the ability for callers to leave a voicemail that can be accessed via multiple devices, or be sent directly via email, guarantees that customers aren’t left hanging. Recording calls, if needed for industry-specific use cases, is made easier through a VoIP system, with these calls also being useful for training and review purposes that ultimately build towards better processes in regard to customer interactions. 

The numerous advanced features can also greatly improve internal business communications, such as video conferencing and instant file sharing. Unifying communications provides its own range of benefits, particularly its ability to provide seamless collaboration. Companies that value collaboration and communication see a 50% reduction in employee turnover, since users now have the capacity to share information instantly through an interface that is easy-to-use. Indeed, integrating CRM platforms with VoIP helps to record critical customer information during interactions and provide a clearer picture on what problem particular customers are looking to solve. These features are all essential in giving both users and customers a more enjoyable experience.

Added flexibility and mobility

The very nature of work, as we’re all very much aware of by now, has changed dramatically over the last few years. 2020 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the wider adoption of hybrid working that has arisen in 2023, with the workforce balancing their professional lives between home and the office. Forecasts predict that, by the end of 2023, certain industries will see 39% of employees utilise a hybrid working model. There is a greater need for businesses to adapt to these changing working patterns and create a telephony infrastructure that is human-centric by providing flexibility and mobility.

Legacy phone systems just don’t have the ability to enable flexible working due to on-premise hardware and phone lines constricting where employees can operate. VoIP, however, breaks down these communication boundaries and opens employees up to the full potential of mobile, flexible working. Thanks to an Internet connection, employees are no longer chained to their desks and can take their work outside of the traditional office environment. Deploying VoIP phone systems creates the opportunity for a variety of devices, including computers, mobile phones, and even traditional landline phones, to be part of an organisation’s VoIP network. This is precisely how VoIP can make work more flexible and mobile for employees.

Taking work on-the-go and having the ability to ‘hot desk’ opens up a whole new world of efficiency and productivity through the idea of ‘collaboration from anywhere’. That added freedom of hybrid working has seen 55% of employees reduce their stress levels, allowing them to focus more on their duties and not be too greatly concerned with commuting or striking a balance between work and home. Employers can save an average of $11,000 per hybrid worker, since there is no need to overspend on utilities and space with the workforce spending their time at both home and the office. The workforce is always connected with one another, regardless of location, and they don’t need to sacrifice productivity when working away from the office; truly, there are no boundaries.      

Reliable, high quality calls 

We’ve been relying on landline technology for our telecommunication needs for a long time now (since 1876, as a matter of fact), and businesses must now face up to the reality of navigating the PSTN switch off. The copper network has been important to business communications for a long time now, but with the increased demand of ‘always being connected’, this technology is no longer suitable for businesses seeking to build a reputation of being reliable. Businesses can never afford to miss a call, meaning that reliable telephony is more important than ever, especially for one that is growing and competing. So, can VoIP compete with the established reputation of landlines?

Making calls over the Internet is possible even with a very low bandwidth, so even opting for a very basic connection can give businesses the opportunity to fully utilise VoIP technology. A weak Internet connection, however, can jeopardise the call quality from VoIP telephony and provide a poor experience for customers and users. Landlines can bring comfort to businesses, but advances in audio codec technology have greatly improved call quality, while landlines are still subject to time lags and the potential factor of background noise. As long as VoIP systems are correctly implemented, and have the right amount of bandwidth to operate at full capacity, the quality of VoIP calls is able to shine through without any sort of hinderance.

VoIP’s digital nature also helps to improve its reliability due to an infrastructure that contains multiple security protocols and procedures. These all acquaint themselves with achieving the 99.999% uptime that providers strive for, with VoIP services utilising a network of servers known as ‘Points of Presence’ to do this. A robust infrastructure that protects critical pieces of information is something that all businesses strive for, especially when nearly 40% of small businesses have reported a loss in critical data after an attack takes place. Organisations should always choose VoIP providers that prioritise security and are fully committed to safeguarding data. Switching from landline to VoIP can appear to be a stressful and potentially disruptive process that can jeopardise security and reliability, but businesses can find great value in this next step in business telephony.

The future trends in VoIP technology

Despite only being around for over two decades, VoIP has emerged as a technology that can evolve and adapt to other emerging technologies. As its usage grows and the demands put upon it increases, it’s vital for VoIP to maintain its status as an integral part of modern communication. The rise of 5G, for example, means users now have connectivity that delivers faster speeds and lower latency that all contribute to higher quality voice calls, with improved connectivity fitting in perfectly in the wider adoption of hybrid work. Staying connected and supercharging collaboration are all things to consider when enabling remote working, with setting up VoIP phones at home being extremely helpful in making this a reality.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also two exciting developments that can change the VoIP landscape. AI-powered chatbots are tools that can provide greater coverage of customer inquiries and give employees flexibility in which tasks they can prioritise. Voice recognition can streamline and automate the process behind routing calls to the right source of information, with machine learning able to better analyse data and find business-critical trends that can generate further success. In terms of IoT, integrating VoIP with a network of connected devices gives users more control over how they operate remotely. Connecting IoT and VoIP opens up the opportunity for offices to become ‘smarter’ and enhance productivity, which can only increase when assessing 5G’s role in the IoT revolution. There’s no doubt about it; the future of VoIP is bright!

Embracing a VoIP-powered future

With (PSTN) being phased out as part of the ISDN Switch Off scheduled for 2025, businesses now have a pressing incentive to take their business telephony to the next level. Scaling in a cost-effective manner and giving the workforce a more flexible way to work presents a bright future for businesses in terms of the way they communicate via VoIP. Markets remain extremely competitive, and customers value their experience more highly than ever (97% of customers base their loyalty on customer service interactions), meaning that business telephony must rise to the challenge. VoIP is certainly capable of that, and there are providers out there who are willing to help you take telephony to the next level.