VoIP and its evolution

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) plays a fundamental role in the lives of many individuals and business owners globally and has seen a wide-ranging implementation. Experts agree that it represents both a revolution and an evolution, and independent communication architect Daniel Berninger states: “The VoIP insurrection over the last decade marks a milestone in communication history no less dramatic than the arrival of the telephone in 1876”. Currently, VoIP technology is shaping services and applications to include trends such as Video Conferencing as a Service (VCaaS), Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS), and Unified Communications as a Service UCaaS.

VoIP includes features more than just ‘voice’ in a Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) or a signalling protocol used for initiating, maintaining, and terminating real-time sessions. It allows access to video, content, and other forms of crucial data in a rapidly changing communication environment. Although VoIP is part of the contemporary digital age, its origins go back much further.

A brief journey of VoIP’s evolution

Two entrepreneurs and the founders of VocalTec, Lior Haramaty and Alon Cohen, capitalised on the potential of packet voice technology they witnessed as members of the Israel Defense Force. Although most military command and control used TCP/IP distributed data networks since the 1980s to transport voice over the networks, the idea of the commercialising of packet voice did not occur to anyone before Haramaty and Cohen released the first Internet phone in February 1995. It was released to the public in 1996.

Despite VoIP being an incomparable approach to access future communication technology, it was still dependent on an Internet connection that needed access to traditional PSTN networks. Since dial-up lines were designed for rich data connections available through VoIP, the transmission of data alongside voice was impossible and thus ‘voice’ was the only option.


With the introduction of line-free connectivity when broadband arrived on the market, subscriptions to VoIP increased and paved the way for further innovations in communications technology. In 2003, Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom purchased Kazaa, and developed the technology for the creation of the peer-to-peer telephony application Skype. It was sold to eBay in 2005 and Microsoft acquired it for $8.5 billion in May 2011. Skype has had an enormous impact on the communications industry in terms of affordable connections and improved call quality. 

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Since then, several voice services were introduced, and the VoIP market also added many new features. The use of VoIP to make calls that include content and video, using the reliable and secure connections offered by SIP, is becoming commonplace and users can access their VoIP tools on their smartphones and through soft-phone technology. Thus, VoIP is at the heart of many communication systems, providing easy access to Internet-based conversations in virtually any environment.

Large scale acceptance of VoIP

VoIP is considered the most valuable mode of communication for companies in search of affordable, scalable, and flexible communications. VoIP as a technology continues to evolve and change perspectives about communication. Vendors present VoIP as the solution for communications as part of their Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) portfolios. Global Market Insights predict thatInternational VoIP will have a significant share of all conversations by 2025. 


The future of VoIP

As organisations plan for growth and change, several technology trends need to be considered. The upsurge of new technological developments in the marketplace do and will continue to have a significant impact on the way that VoIP is defined and experienced going forward. The need for VoIP will increase as businesses become more mobile, and the adoption of unified communications and other communication solutions as a service expands. 

Mobile networks will migrate from 4G to 5G digital cellular technology to accommodate better mobile computing. 5G is expected to offer higher speeds, better capacity, and low latency, and connect with multi-faceted devices, thus the Internet of Things (IoT). Soon billions of things will be connected to the Internet and VoIP is and will continue to be an integral part of connectivity capabilities. VoIP phones will be a significant automation component as the IoT expands exponentially.

Additionally, providers have identified the importance of preparing for intensified VoIP mobility services as the global population switches to mobile computing for every aspect of their personal and business activity. 

Customer relationship management (CRM) and communication for analysing consumers are driving increased capabilities with less effort. Cloud-based VoIP applications are expected to fill this gap using application programming interfaces (APIs), or software routines and protocols, to integrate CRM and VoIP services.

With its proven record for reliability, clear voice, added bandwidth, and exceptional call quality VoIP is increasingly an option for businesses. In tandem with this, cybersecurity is an ongoing concern for companies and providers alike and extreme diligence and the proper security measures and system monitoring tools to manage future cyberattacks should be at the vanguard of future planning.

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