Landlines are a thing of the past. For years now, Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP for short, has slowly made its way into the world of communications technology. If you don’t know already, VoIP is essentially a method of talking over the phone through the internet rather than through traditional telephone networks. Think of all the social media apps you currently use to call and message people. It’s a relatively new technology that’s beginning to see its renaissance in the tech world.
Back in the 1970s, VoIP was closed off to the masses, used exclusively by the US government. That is, until 2004 when it was introduced to mass-market VoIP services that “utilized existing broadband internet access,” services like Nextiva. This meant that VoIP now offered telephone services with significantly lower costs and much more flexibility. People began facetiming and internet calling each other with little to no costs.
Nowadays, VoIP is quickly becoming an industry standard as broadband and internet access becomes more readily available. Small and big businesses alike are pairing VoIP services with their existing PBX systems, or business telephones, to improve communication and productivity. Its reduced costs, portability, and seamless integration are making it an attractive choice for buyers.
While VoIP has existed for quite some time now, it’s far from reaching its peak potential. The future of VoIP is still being realized as the internet of things (IoT) and cloud technologies continue to progress.
The Internet of Things and VoIP
The so-called internet of things has been lauded for its seemingly limitless potential. It refers to the growing trend of connecting everyday devices to the internet. The idea is that by connected these devices, users could then track useful data for any number of applications.
For instance, say your refrigerator is hooked up to IoT and you program it to keep track of all the times you open it. A sensor picks up each time you open the fridge and the data is then stored in a cloud-based application which then interprets and transmits the data. Therefore, if you’re trying to lose weight, keeping track of how often you find yourself opening the fridge could be useful.
It’s basically machine-to-machine communication through cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors. With this, we could potentially build smart cities with smart roads and smart street lights, each compiling and disseminating data useful for citizens.
Where VoIP comes in is obvious. We could use it for voice activation, or as a way to study and compile data on conversations. This can create some ethical implications as the data compiled won’t be just for the users to see. You can already tell how this could affect privacy and security laws.
Nevertheless, VoIP’s usage in IoT is something to look out for.
The Dawn of WebRTC
WebRTC, or Web Real-Time Communication, was first released in May 2011 by Google. It was marketed as an open source project for “browser-based real-time communication.” In layman’s terms this just means that your browser is the point of communication.
But what does this mean for the consumer? Well there are numerous customer service possibilities. For instance, video conferencing applications can be used to get instant answers to questions regarding sizes, prices, etc. This makes solving problems easier and faster than simply talking through a chatbox.
Website then become little hubs of video chats and calls. It’s definitely an interesting direction in the advancement of VoIP.
Social Media and VoIP
Social Media has been molded by VoIP. Especially when it comes to the apps that are specifically made for the purpose of talking with friends and family. For instance, Facebook messenger’s video and phone calling features are entirely the product of VoIP.
We can then imagine a futuristic social media landscape, one made possible by advancements in VoIP. With more data at our fingertips and widespread fast internet access, it is possible to imagine a world with complex marketing techniques, Orwellian-like surveillance, and increasingly savvy and innovative means of communication.
Possibilities are endless
While it’s difficult to predict exactly what the future holds, I think what’s certain is that VoIP won’t go anywhere anytime soon. Indeed, the possibilities are endless.