What the future holds for VoIP

Globally, businesses are navigating the uncertainty and challenges due to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), one of the most serious global health security threats in decades. Like in South Africa, many countries have had restrictions imposed by government agencies disrupting the daily routines of millions of citizens. 

Specifically, COVID-19, has an enormous effect on how business is conducted globally. Social distancing and renewed efforts to facilitate employee sheltering and working from home are critical during the COVID-19 timeline. These aspects have reinforced the value and use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as an important component of both business communication and business rescue plans. 

VoIP uses several data and voice transfer technologies such as IP telephony, voice over broadband and Internet telephony to provide communication services. VoIP technology converts voice signals into digital signals which are transferred over an IP-based network. Regular telephones, VoIP phones, computers and mobile phones can be used to make and receive calls. 

Through constant development and emergent technologies, VoIP ensures that companies have the convenience of increased mobility and richer engagement. We examine what the future holds for the VoIP communications industry by exploring the predicted trends and technologies that may possibly influence VoIP in 2020.

Decline of old telephone systems

The decline and then final termination of the traditional landline phone system is one of the predictions by telecommunication professionals. The steady decline in the use of landlines is evident in the results of a survey conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA indicating that in 2018 more than three out of four adults were living in wireless-only households.

Although some businesses continue to use fixed-line voice connections, they are in the minority compared to those using IP-based voice applications. Future enterprise-level features of VoIP systems will address business requirements with inventive and cost-efficient options with the necessary hardware and software support.

Fifth Generation(5G) wireless networks

Fifth generation (5G) wide-area wireless networks are promising to increase the quality of VoIP services considerably by enabling faster communication speeds and response rates with less call jitter and packet loss.

Blockchain and number portability

Users’ phone numbers are “the most valuable digital identity and will remain the only unique international method of identification well into the future” (2018, Edwin Terek, founder of DIDWW). “Number portability is a significant and important step towards transferring control of the phone number to its real owner, but this process has limitations and does not give the user true ownership over their greatest digital asset – the digital identity,“ (2018, Terek). 

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Terek states that “blockchain is the ideal technology to ensure full transparency, speed, safety, security and peace of mind for regulators, operators and, of course, users”. New initiatives are underway by offering blockchain solutions for streamlining complex multi-party processes such as Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and Do Not Call (DNC) registries.

Terek says that, “We see the future where there is no longer a need for number portability. Instead, all the phone numbers will be managed in one decentralized ledger, which will provide standardized access and routing lookup for all operators on a global basis. This is a large and revolutionary idea, but it should be possible – looking back just two decades, foreseeing the VoIP revolution would seem even more challenging.”

Security is a priority

Increased security is a priority for VoIP service providers and business since cybercriminals will attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities caused by the diminishing boundaries between various networks and the broader perception of voice as a data application. SIP encryption services for VoIP will prevent eavesdropping and toll fraud and is the best possible solution for sustaining operational efficiency of IP-based telephony. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) integration

It is predicted that the application of cloud-based AI technology will improve existing VoIP systems through detecting poor quality calls and dealing with these issues as a self-healing network. AI will solve low bandwidth, high latency, and faulty network configuration problems in real time with no human intervention. 

Chat Bots and other AI-oriented platforms such as Google Duplex will become more intuitive and intelligent allowing computer-to-computer communication. This will facilitate consumer needs analysis, quicker response times, and thus improved service interactions and experiences, and a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour.

Smart voice assistants and advanced automation

The advancements in voice assistant applications will enable AI to improve understanding through analytics, and enhanced interpretation of basic, simple commands, and improved customer interaction.

Repetitive and redundant tasks will be processed automatically through innovative technologies encompassing machine learning. This will allow employees to acquire well-defined consequential data and solve complex issues. With software applications such as web robots, different aspects of interactions and the streamlining of data gathering, education and support will become more effective. 

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Edwin Terek, https://www.capacitymedia.com/articles/3808945/can-blockchain-globalise-number-portability#

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