VoIP: Still Growing After All These Years

Carl Weinschenk
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Seven Tips for Effective Unified Communications Security

In about a decade, VoIP has gone from a hobby for geeks to a widely used platform that is in the process of replacing circuit switched service. It has become so pervasive that the less initiated may not even realize they are using VoIP when they make a call.

It is not just that its use has grown. VoIP also has moved from being a pure voice replacement to being a value-added proposition by seamlessly integrating voice, video and data. And it’s not just for PCs and Macs—the revolution in technology has democratized the sophisticated platforms and made them viable to consumers on all of their devices. While business-oriented VoIP platforms do exist in the form of the voice element of unified communications (UC), the technology generally straddles the line between corporate and consumer use.

Tom’s Hardware offers a slideshow on what it considers to be the best VoIP apps, which include Skype, Google Voice & Google+ Hangouts, ooVoo, Viber, Ekiga, Jitsi, MicroSIP, Ventrilo, TeamSpeak 3 and Mumble. Consumer Electronics Net weighed in with its choices of top providers: VOIPro, Jive, Vocalocity, 8x8 and ITP (Internet Telephone Provider).

The move to VoIP shows no signs of abating. In fact, it is accelerating; Infonetics Research said that the VoIP and Internet Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) market grew 30 percent in the second quarter compared to the first. It topped out at $936 million worldwide. IMS reports that all of the major geographic regions posted gains.

It’s not surprising that such a broad market is segmented. Tom’s Hardware looked at consumer apps, while Consumer Electronics Net looked at residential providers and their offerings. The other major category is UC, which surrounds the basic UC platform with myriad other features.

Chris Thorson, the director of marketing for Polycom, shed some light on the progress being made in that category in an interview with Network World’s Larry Hettick. Thorson told Hettick that cloud-based VoIP — also called hosted VoIP — has a year-over-year growth rate of almost 30 percent. Much of that growth is in the small- and medium-size business (SMB) sector. This sector, he said, is set for sustained growth:

Thorson is bullish on growth opportunities since the life cycle for an average PBX is, in his observation 5 to 7 years, and the last major overhaul for most PBXs was ‘in response to the Y2K factor,’ with replacements for these systems mitigated by a the global recession over the last few years.

It is difficult to directly assess the growth of VoIP because it is offered in different ways. In many of these, it is an element of a more extensive set of services. Despite this fuzziness, it is safe to say two things still are expanding: the use of the technology by business and residential customers and the creativity of those creating the platforms and services.

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Aug 27, 2013 2:51 PM VoIP Hosted PBX VoIP Hosted PBX  says:
"Despite this fuzziness, it is safe to say two things still are expanding: the use of the technology by business and residential customers and the creativity of those creating the platforms and services." True! Reply
Aug 28, 2013 2:36 AM Business VoIP Business VoIP  says:
I think that the key to the success of VoIP - especially in the business environment - is its evolution. The fact that its evolved with technology to become more than simple voice replacement into a form of communication that can be integrated across devices is particularly important. Great article by the way Reply
Sep 11, 2013 2:49 AM kate kate  says:
Thanks Carl Absolutely , VOIP is future is communications, Voip helps save lot of money in small business. Reply
Sep 16, 2013 2:24 AM Vikrant Rana Vikrant Rana  says:
VoIP service in the business environment - is its development. The fact that it ha€™s evolved with technology to become more than simple voice alternate into a form of communication that can be included across devices is particularly important. Nice article Reply
Jan 27, 2014 3:32 PM arthurkiki arthurkiki  says:
In my opinion the key factor for VoIP in the next years will be web integration. This will be a basic features once webrtc will be adopted by all browsers. Until then I expect a grove for flash/webphone/mizu/java/mobile-native technologies. Reply
Apr 17, 2014 9:49 PM Michael Michael  says:
Apart from replacing a traditional phone system its has come up with so many features such as audio conferencing, video calling etc.. with customization, scalability, security & many more. Evolution & enhancement and affordability of the VoIP communication system is the main reason for its growth and replace many other communication systems. Reply
Apr 14, 2015 2:56 AM indiapro indiapro  says:
The post is very information about VOIP. Reply
Jan 5, 2016 4:25 AM TheRealPBX TheRealPBX  says:
Could not agree more on the success of VoIP. After a slow initial start VoIP went onto become the technology of professionals. VoIP offers way lot of options than the traditional phone system, along with the cost cutting measures. Hence helping businesses be more into profits. Even the startups and SMBs have been able to make big out of this technology. Reply

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