Most really worthwhile inventions and innovations go through identifiable stages before they are finally replaced by something even better. In the earliest stage, only the most creative and innovative people will be using the new invention, and in the next stage, the first real wave of users discovers the value of the new product as it receives more widespread acceptance. In the third stage, the innovative product has already received tremendous attention in the media and through word-of-mouth, and then becomes the new standard for its market. Finally, the new technology completely replaces whatever came before, and users can hardly remember something as outmoded as its predecessor. The same can be said for all industries, including within the field of communication technology.
The Life Cycle of VoIP Communication Technology
Just like with all other such technologies, VoIP has enjoyed a life cycle much like that described above. When it first appeared a few decades ago, only the most daring and innovative people were willing to give it a try, and virtually no businesses would risk the company fortunes on an untested technology which had very little support around the globe.
For a while, VoIP languished because it wasn’t really able to deliver on the promise of making less-expensive phone calls while also providing great quality. Problems arose with bandwidth and the quality of voice data, which convinced many business owners that the new technology would simply go by the wayside as a good idea which had failed.
However, significant improvements quickly followed in VoIP technology, and those early difficulties were overcome so that it was finally able to deliver on the promise of low-cost and high quality. VoIP service providers have now upgraded their quality level to the point where the technology is set to dominate the market as the most attractive option for full-featured phone systems.
There seems no doubt that in the very near future, VoIP will completely replace the PSTN backbone, and become the de facto telephony standard. This raises the question of what lies ahead for VoIP, and whether it will continue to evolve, or whether it will be replaced by some unknown communication technology which is even better.
VoIP and the Mobile Workforce
For the foreseeable future, it is very likely that VoIP will become even more prevalent and more useful in the workplace. Since the amazing progression of the smartphone and its global usage has become a huge part of workforce utilization, the need for VoIP to support mobile usage will remain strong.
It’s no exaggeration to say that within just a few years, a large proportion of the workforce will have grown up with smartphones and VoIP, and most of them will never even have used a landline. With the growing trend toward workplace mobility, fewer employees will be tied to a desk, a cubicle, or an office, and many will instead perform their jobs on the go. To support all this, it will be essential to have conference calls, video calls, and very high-quality voice calls, all of which VoIP communication technology can provide.
The Bring Your Own Device Policy
Many companies are now coming around to the opinion that employees need not be forced to use company devices in order to ensure security and uniformity in the workplace. Instead, companies are now realizing that bring-your-own-device (BYOD) can increase collaboration and innovation among employees, thereby also boosting productivity and providing for company growth.
In truth, this does make much more sense than having employees carry multiple devices when just one would be sufficient. This is another developing trend which will require the support of VoIP services and technology, and there may come a time when it becomes just as important to employees and companies as having computers to perform their daily workload.
The Advent of 5G
The coming of 5G is another development which will need to be supported by VoIP, thereby ensuring even longer-term support requirements for VoIP technology. VoIP is already the most useful and the most sensible technology for providing phone service in remote locations which lack any other kind of telephony support.
There are also a number of regions around the globe where the cost of laying cable would be prohibitive, or where extreme weather conditions make it inadvisable. While VoIP can be implemented successfully in such locations, there would still be some constraints on bandwidth, slow Internet speeds, and limited access to data networks.
With the coming of 5G technology, most of those limitations will fade away. Wherever network traffic is a problem, for instance highly populous urban settings, or wherever service has a dead spot such as in tunnels, 5G will be able to overcome the issues. As you might expect, the much greater speed of 5G will be able to vastly improve transmission speeds, so that businesses will be able to stream video while a conference call is in progress, or to send files during presentations right from a smartphone.
Because it is super critical for businesses to maintain agile communications which can be used from literally anywhere on earth, and are available to users in all locations, there will always be a need for VoIP to support such capabilities. Eventually, some communication technology may come along which is capable of superseding the tremendous benefits provided by VoIP, but for the time being, VoIP is set to become even more useful, and more dominant in the telephony marketplace.