Global marketing trends indicate that voice over IP has enjoyed a meteoric growth following its introduction in the 1990s, to the point where today it can be considered more like mainstream technology than something new. Having established its dominance in the telephony field, it will undoubtedly now become the foundation upon which future technologies are developed for unified communications.
There are very few kinds of business technology which have received the kind of universal acclaim that Voice over IP has, especially in such a brief period of time. In the beginning, it was little more than a niche tool used by some companies to save on long-distance calls. In fact, businesses did not even warm up to using Voice over IP until after household users had already discovered it, and began making serious use of it.
Once businessmen discovered the tremendous cost savings and other benefits of Voice over IP, usage of the technology spread like a West Coast wildfire. In the 20+ years of its existence, Voice over IP has become a mature technology and hosted Voice over IP has become one of the most popular services adopted by forward-thinking businesses and corporations.
Here are some of the trends and impacts considered very likely to affect the industry in the coming years.
Serious Debate Over Industry Regulation
One of the inevitable trends which are certain to become more prominent in the world of Voice over IP is the debate between service providers and legal authorities. Because of the rapid pace of development with the technology, a number of legal questions have been simply eclipsed and left behind. However, those core questions are certain to eventually catch up, and then some serious discussions will be necessary.
Such discussions will have to consider issues relating to how the technology should be regulated, what kind of boundaries might apply, and who should have authority over communications. In order for these issues to be resolved, it will be necessary to resolve the debate over whether Voice over IP is an Internet service or a telephone service.
It will also be necessary to decide whether individual states have the authority to regulate the industry, or whether entirely new legislation is called for. Since Voice over IP services is currently independent of any kind of geographical boundaries, several states or several countries could conceivably be involved on every single call. Whatever is decided in court cases or in multi-party discussions is likely to provide the basis for how Voice over IP technology is administered for several decades.
Increased Corporate and Consumer Usage of VoIP
The three categories of Voice over IP service consist of phone-to-phone, computer-to-phone, and computer-to-computer. In terms of market share, the largest of these categories are currently computer-to-phone, and it has thus far enjoyed the fastest growth among the three.
This is because organizations have moved rapidly to deploy Voice over IP technology which permits interaction with suppliers, partners and customers, and because it plays such an important role in sales and customer service, as well as marketing.
However, the marketing trends for the future are much more likely to be emphasizing the phone to phone segment of the business. Because smartphones are proliferating at such an amazing rate, there is little doubt that both 4G technology and 5G technology will provide a huge impetus to spectacular growth in this business segment.
Both corporate and consumer usage will continue to soar, although the reasons for growth will be different between the two segments. In the corporate arena, growth will come as more organizations deploy hybrid solutions or those which are hosted. More small businesses will jump on board as the advanced features of Voice over IP become more accessible and less costly.
Marketing trends indicate that the consumer segment of Voice over IP business will also grow globally because far more developing nations will make Voice over IP available to their citizenry, and smartphone and tablet usage come into play more prominently. It is the volume of new users which will impact the consumer segment of the market most dramatically, as staggering numbers of new users from China and India join the Voice over IP revolution.
Global Marketing Trends Include Acquisitions and Mergers
It is certain that in the coming years there will be new partnerships formed for the purpose of conducting additional research into Voice over IP technology. The vendors involved in these partnerships will then automatically achieve a competitive edge in the marketplace, nudging out smaller parties.
It is anticipated that a number of mergers and acquisitions will take place as vendors make strategic moves to position themselves for gaining the upper hand in the Voice over IP market. These kinds of partnerships and acquisitions may even cross geographic boundaries, as regional partnerships are formed to create more substantial forces in the industry.
In terms of regional growth, the areas most likely to see substantial growth in the coming decades are those in the Asia-Pacific region. As Internet capabilities penetrate into these regions, more and more businesses will adopt real-time communications. In these same areas, marketing trends indicate that smartphone and tablet usage is predicted to enjoy explosive growth, making sustained growth rates for VoIP more impressive here than anywhere else around the globe.