Mobile VoIP is growing in both the business and consumer worlds. Indeed, the two sectors are closely intertwined. Mobile VoIP for business, however, layers corporate-level elements, such as software controlling policies and telecom expense management (TEM) engines, on top of the raw connectivity.
In-Stat this week released research tracing the growth of mobile VoIP for business. The firm says that it will reach 83 million lines (or, the firm says, "seats") in 2015. During the next five years, the increase with be tenfold, with most of the growth coming from devices connected to IP PBXes. In-Stat says that mobile carriers are starting to understand the demand and that hotspots may turn VoIP over Wi-Fi into a more mobilized service than it is today.
What Microsoft does is important, and it will drive much of this growth. Financier Worldwide ties together the new and deep relationship with Nokia and the acquisition of Skype as two straws that will stir the drink. The potential of the latter is great. Writes Matt Atkins:
Also of great consideration are the myriad ways in which Microsoft can incorporate Skype into its own software and hardware lines. It seems likely that Skype will be aimed at business users, with Windows Messenger already offering a VoIP platform for everyday consumers. The software giant has hinted that it plans to assimilate Skype into a wide range of products, including Outlook and Office, and innovations such as the firm's Kinect device and its Xbox Live service also appear an ideal platform for such integration.
There clearly are a lot of wheels in motion: In addition to Skype and Nokia, Lync is playing a bigger role in unified communications in the cloud service Windows 365. It is essentially impossible to trace all the potential permutations of combining the Windows productivity products, Lync, Nokia, Windows 365, Skype and other products, services and platforms brought to bear by Microsoft. Suffice it to say that this alone - even before other power vendors and service providers are considered - will go a long way to fulfilling In-Stat's prediction.
Much business-based mobile VoIP happens by folks just grabbing their own phones and making a call. Over time, however, the need for security, fuller functionality and the desire to control opex and capex will more fully formalize business mobile VoIP.