The Internet and emerging technologies have created many liberties and functionalities for individuals and businesses in novel ways. Unwittingly many companies have been inhibited by the legacy phone systems they have depended on for years. The wheels of change are turning as companies gain that essential competitive edge by discovering innovative ways of using telephony.
Currently, it is estimated that 10% of international phone traffic occurs over the Internet using voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP. It is a formidable technology that transmits voice data into digital data packets that are seamlessly and conveniently stored, searched, copied, merged, and distributed to practically any device that connects to the Internet.
VoIP heralds a shift in the control of phone services from providers that have historically defined these services to the companies that use them. It allows businesses to create their own customised phone applications and serves as the unifying platform to enable intelligent and strategic uses of voice communication.
VoIP is not constrained by physical locations or specific devices since it uses Internet protocol for calls and consists of bits of voice data transmitted via the global Internet. A VoIP call does not involve visible changes and callers can use an ordinary telephone connected to a VoIP converter box plugged into an Internet connection. Alternatively, either a similar looking IP phone that connects directly to the Internet or installed ‘softphone’ software on a personal computer with a headset or microphone can be used to make VoIP calls.
VoIP as a Platform
VoIP creates an environment for building applications to take advantage of accessible IP resources. The first step in the development of a VoIP platform comprises the installation of front-office devices such as phones, converters, or software for employees. The next step is the installation of VoIP devices to replace private branch exchange (PBX) equipment.
VoIP software and hardware infrastructures regulate the features and how VoIP devices connect with corporate IT systems. Adding a function like video conferencing to a VoIP system is no different from installing a software package on your PC.