The fact that VoIP has been around in one form or another for well over a decade now and still plays second-fiddle can be quite misleading. On the surface, it may appear like we’re looking at a repeat performance of the Minidisc – the ‘revolutionary essential’ we were told would replace CDs and ultimately crashed and burned. Some assume that if VoIP hasn’t taken over by now, then it never will, but when you look the specific factors that have been holding VoIP back, you start to see a different picture entirely.
Ask the experts at The VoIP Shop…or any leading VoIP gurus for that matter and they’ll tell you that we are right now at the most pivotal turning point in the history of VoIP. Things may be rumbling along pretty quietly behind the scenes, but it won’t be long before the revolution we were promised not only arrives, but sets in for good.
So once again we find ourselves back at the initial question – why now?
1 – Public Awareness
First there was Skype, then there was Viber and now there’s WhatsApp voice calling – all of which are demonstrating the appeal and potential for VoIP systems to the public on a quite biblical scale. In order for VoIP to take over as a new standard, it needs to be something that the whole world is aware of and understands. Of course, WhatsApp voice calling isn’t quite in the same league as the complex VoIP systems of a multi-national enterprise, but it nonetheless does show folk that there’s more to the world of telephony than conventional carriers and service providers.
2 – Wi-Fi and 4G Are Becoming the Norm
Already, it’s pretty tricky to find a spot in any major town or city where there aren’t at least a couple of open Wi-Fi hotspots offering decent enough connection. And where there’s no Wi-Fi to be picked up, 4G internet is offering the kinds of connection speeds most of us never thought we’d see from mobile devices. One of the things that held VoIP back for so long was the way in which ultra-fast Internet was both too rare and too expensive to make such systems plausible for use on a wide-scale basis. Today however, ultra-fast Internet is the norm and is paving the way for a VoIP-focused future.
3 – Power To the People
Another technological advance that’s working wonders for the development and evolution of VoIP is that of ever-increasing device battery life. It’s no secret that VoIP technology and hardware tends to be rather energy-hungry to say the least, meaning that just a few short years ago it didn’t exactly cooperate with the tiny and often low-efficiency batteries of mobile devices. However, billions of dollars have been pumped into battery research over the years and while we’re still a long way from perfection, mobile device batteries these days are more than capable of withstanding the heavy demands of VoIP devices.
4 – Generous Data Plans
In the past, being offered more than a few MB of data per month as part of your contract was about the norm. As such, if you were to receive a VoIP call or perhaps a video call, even though you yourself weren’t making the call, you’d be using up your data allowance and would be charged for any extra data used. Suffice to say this didn’t bode well with those that had taken out plans with tons of free calls and texts, who may understandably be inclined to refuse or block heavy data calls. These days though, while unlimited 4G data plans are rare, it’s not uncommon to be lavished with 10GB or 20GB of free data every month, which is unlikely to be gobbled up by even the heaviest VoIP user. And the bigger the data allowance handed over, the more inclined subscribers are to use this instead of standard calling credit and the less they end up paying per month.
5 – General Availability
Last but not least, just a few years ago anyone looking to make the switch to VoIP would have been limited to only a few select providers and a pretty small range of premium-priced hardware. As of now, there are literally hundreds of providers and tens of thousands of devices to choose from – all of which are vastly more affordable than ever before. There are even plenty of big-name household telecom brands that are starting to dip the proverbial toe in the VoIP waters, illustrating just how fast things are starting to move.
It may have been a long time coming, but the VoIP revolution is very much with us and accelerating like never before.