Globally, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, plays a fundamental role in the contemporary lives of individuals and business owners. During its decades’ long implementation, the technology has evolved considerably, and has shaped current applications and trends. Despite its wide application and in a world where VoIP is a well-known term, businesses often fail to understand its full potential.
VoIP involves more than merely ‘voice’ over an Internet protocol (SIP), and provides opportunities to access video, content, and other forms of vital data in a rapidly changing communication environment. These trends include service categories of ‘as a service’ or cloud-based delivery mechanisms for enterprise communications such as video conferencing as a service (VCaaS), contact centre as a service (CCaaS) and, unified communications as a service (UCaaS).
The benefits of VoIP are rooted in simplified communication processes and more convenient interactions. VoIP, a highly sought-after technology, reduces the cost of daily conversations, and improves the reliability of critical discussions.
A basic definition
As mentioned earlier VoIP stands for Voice over IP, and Internet protocol is the method by which data is transferred from one computer to another. VoIP allows the routing of telephone calls through the Internet, which means that no physical onsite telephone system is needed. Essentially this means that rather than having to manage two networks, the Internet and telephone, you now just have one.
VoIP is often described as both a revolution and an evolution because it has shifted telecommunications away from its traditional reliance on existing PBX (private branch exchange) phone systems. VoIP technology has revolutionised enterprise communication by allowing organisations to streamline different communication modalities cost-effectively to improve business productivity.
The Evolution of VoIP Technology
Alon Cohen, the co-founder of VocalTec Communications Inc., co-created and released the first Internet phone in February 1995. Initially, VoIP systems were simply designed as cheaper alternatives for long-distance calls. However, currently VoIP is pivotal in communication systems which allows Internet-based conversations in virtually any environment.
Initially, VoIP was a way to access next-level communication technology that relied on dial-up links and leased lines routed through traditional PSTN networks that often resulted in unpredictable call quality. This meant that ‘voice’ was the only option and the transmission of data alongside voice was not possible.
With the arrival of broadband, new, line-free and ‘always-on’ connectivity was developed and opened the door for further advancements in communications technology. In 2000, Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom co-founded Kazaa, the peer-to-peer file sharing application and created what is now known as Skype in 2003.