The global VoIP market has seen exponential growth over the last 20 years. With continued technological enhancements, government support, and business adoption, the industry shows no signs of slowing down. Even with the uncertainty posed by the pandemic, the rise of remote working will cause the VoIP industry to grow in the coming years. In fact, it seems to be moving faster than ever in terms of usage, market share, and revenues. This is especially because VoIP trends are now gearing towards 5G adoption, UCaaS growth, and increased AI usage.
As more businesses rely on VoIP service providers for their main communications today, it’s important to follow VoIP industry trends to see whether your company is harnessing this technology to its full potential. Businesses regardless of size and scope can take advantage of these industry shifts in the coming years and maximize their investment in this technology.
VoIP Trends Table of Contents
- 5G Will Go Mainstream
- Artificial Intelligence for Customer Service
- Smarter VoIP Assistants
- UCaaS Will Grow
- The Rise of Mobile Unified Communications
- VoIP Support for IoT
- The Death of Analog Telephone Systems
- Number Portability
- Increased Adoption of VoIP in Schools
- Competition With Video Chat Services
- VoIP Merges With WebRTC
- Increased Security Issues
The digital age has fostered a culture wherein everything is available on demand. This is businesses have a growing need for cost-effective communication solutions that can support enterprise mobility. This is where VoIP systems come in.
This technology allows users to implement flexible communication systems. With these at your disposal, you can accommodate calls, SMS, email, video conferences, and other types of communication methods that your business requires. What’s more, it can help you cut back on operational costs.
As you can see in the chart provided, VoIP tech can help reduce phone bills and teleconferencing costs by up to 30%. Meanwhile, these flexible communication systems can save 40% on local calls (Virtual PBX, 2013). Last but not least, it can help you save 90% on international calls.
This is why it comes as no surprise that the VoIP market is projected to grow up to $55 billion by 2025 (GlobeNewswire, 2019). After all, as businesses go global, they need solutions to improve communication and collaboration with remote employees. This increases the demand for VoIP products such as IP phones and cheap call plans.
In addition, government agencies and private companies worldwide are investing huge amounts of wireless telecommunication technologies such as 4G/LTE and the upcoming 5G network. These developments lead to higher transfer speeds for high-quality voice and data services for businesses.
With that said, we can expect that the VoIP industry will continue to evolve to make a greater impact on how global business is conducted. But of course, before we reap the benefits of VoIP innovations, we must first understand them. This is why without further ado, here are some of the VoIP trends to watch for 2021 and beyond.
1. 5G Will Go Mainstream
The fast-paced business landscape requires a communication process that can keep up with it. This is why the adoption of 5G networks are among the most talked-about VoIP market trends of today.
5G networks or fifth-generation wide-area wireless networks is a technology poised to transform internet connectivity as we know it. It is built to enable faster communication speeds and response rates while eliminating call jitter and packet loss during data transfer. Consequently, these will allow internet users to have a better mobile broadband connection, lightning-fast browsing speeds, as well as increased network capacities.
In addition, recent research by Verizon shows that the other perceived benefits of having a 5G network include better data transfer speeds (72%), improved connectivity of wearable tech (50%), and reduced instances of dropped calls (47%) (Verizon Media, 2019).
As a result, these benefits can only encourage more businesses to adopt VoIP, and those implementing VoIP will further expand their usage. In fact, just this 2019, 25 operators launched the 5G service (Deloitte, 2019). By the end of 2020, there were an estimated 218 million 5G subscribers worldwide, which exceeded forecast numbers. Furthermore, this number is expected to triple by the end of 2021 (CNet, 2020).
- 5G is bound to make communication speed faster; thus, increasing customer expectations.
- Using 5G for VoIP will help you improve your response rates and keep up with competitors easier.
- 5G offers a plethora of benefits that go beyond improving communications, so investing in it will go a long way.
2. Artificial Intelligence for Customer Service
Artificial intelligence is everywhere. It’s on Netflix, trying to find out what shows are most suitable for you. It’s on your social media feed, making sure you are getting updates from people most relevant to you. Moreover, it’s on the sites you visit, asking you what it is you need help with via chat.
VoIP won’t be any different in the next few years. In fact, according to a recent IDC study, some of the top AI investments include automated customer service agents ($4.5 billion), sales process automation ($2.7 billion), and threat prevention ($2.7 billion) (Business Wire, 2019). What’s more, research shows that 95% of customer interactions will be handled without humans by 2025 (Finance Digest).
As a result, 2018 saw an increase in AI start-ups and the adoption of this technology across various industries. This is a trend that we expect to bleed into 2021 and beyond. After all, it does offer quite a number of benefits for professionals.
For example, the call center industry has improved service delivery by providing self-help options that lead customers to quick solutions, enabling call center agents to focus and respond to more challenging issues. AI through bots will also grow in use to predict customer behavior and provide invaluable insights to businesses. You can check how other companies use chatbots to get a better idea as to how you can take advantage of this tech.
These said it makes sense that you learn how you can start incorporating this technology in your VoIP systems in the coming years.
- AI can optimize VoIP processes, so it is important to know how to use it to your advantage.
- Many consumers nowadays expect businesses to use AI in some form, so you’ll be missing out if you don’t incorporate it sooner.
- AI will help you gain insight into customer behaviors. Consequently, this will help you create better sales and marketing strategies in the future.
3. Smarter VoIP Assistants
Still on the topic of AI, the past few years have seen the rise of virtual assistants. A study by eMarketer revealed that in 2019, 39.4% of internet users use voice assistants monthly (eMarketer, 2019) . That is to say, roughly 111.8 million people use Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Ok Google to surf the web. What is more, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports show that there was a 7% increase in voice assistant usage (GlobalWebIndex, 2020).
With continual advances in language processing, we can expect these virtual assistants to be even smarter in the sense that it can respond to more complicated questions from users. However, we have to note that this technology isn’t limited to making internet queries faster and easier. Just imagine what it can do for your VoIP system.
For instance, these virtual assistants can help you automate a lot of mundane processes such as routing calls to agents or sending calls to voicemail. Moreover, with these at your disposal, you no longer need to forward simple questions to agents because the virtual assistant can answer it for you.
Lastly, as these virtual assistants are, more often than not, powered by AI, it also has the capability to collect information about your customers. Meaning, it can record previous interactions automatically so that it is easier for agents to pick up calls where other agents left off. Thus, agents can provide more personalized service to clients.
From an internal communications standpoint, on the other hand, you can use advanced VoIP assistants to record meetings and transcribe them as you go. With this, you can cut down the time handling back-office tasks.
- VoIP Assistants can eliminate mundane tasks related to communication, so you and your employees can focus on more attention-demanding responsibilities.
- From a customer service perspective, using smart assistants can help you accelerate and improve the quality of interactions.
4. UCaaS Will Grow
The future of modern communication infrastructures is cloud-based. With the accessibility of the internet, cloud phone systems are simply a more cost-effective option for businesses than maintaining in-house networks. As a result, the UCaaS market is predicted to hit $24.8 billion by 2024 (MarketsandMarkets Research, 2020).
Through UCaaS, businesses can focus on critical business functions and have quick access to their data, audio, and video communication through any internet-ready device. In addition, cloud-based UC platforms are less likely to be obsolete faster. They are more scalable as vendors can update these regularly. Moreover, because everything is stored on the cloud, disaster recovery and business continuity are much easier. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the market drivers for this growth, as it has forced businesses to move their in-house PBX systems to the cloud (Nextiva). In fact, the interest in these solutions has increased by a whopping 86% during the pandemic (AVANT).
But, of course, before you invest in one, it is best to get a better view of the ins and outs of these systems first. For example, you can learn more about how UCaaS data can help your business. Perhaps, you can even check what issues to expect as you implement one for your company.
- UCaaS solutions are updated regularly and can be backed-up quickly. Thus, it will allow you to future-proof your communication infrastructure.
- More companies are moving their communications to the cloud to make operations more flexible. So, it might be a wise move to do the same.
5. The Rise of Mobile Unified Communications
Mobility has transformed the way humans go about their day-to-day lives. Phones are no longer just for calling and texting. These devices are like mini-computers that allow individuals to check social media feeds, IM their friends, or even shop from the comfort of their home.
From a business perspective, mobility has opened up new opportunities in terms of optimizing efficiency and productivity. It will allow teams to get in touch with each other more conveniently. Moreover, it can help them accommodate customers quicker. The flexibility brought about by mobile communication solutions has also been helpful during the pandemic when most employees are forced to work remotely.
As a result, more companies are seeing mobility as a factor in succeeding in their respective industries. In fact, a 2019 report showed that seven in 10 enterprises cite mobility as a priority as it can help them gain competitive advantage (T-Mobile, 2019). The same study revealed that global spending on all mobility solutions is predicted to hit a whopping $1.8 trillion in 2022. Taking into account the effect of the pandemic on the demand for mobile solutions, a more recent study reported that the mobile VoIP market alone will reach $183.7 billion by 2027 (Business Wire, 2020).
Among the mobility solutions being invested in are VoIP systems. With the launch of 5G networks, the functionality of mobile VoIP systems is expected to increase. As several VoIP providers now offer embedded app support systems, we can expect more businesses to take advantage of this mobile set-up. That is to say, more professionals will soon adopt app-based virtual numbers for business calls, conferencing, and team meetings.
- Having a mobile VoIP system will help you communicate faster and make operations more efficient. Thus, giving you a competitive advantage.
- Mobile VoIP makes it possible for professionals to conduct business calls and conferences much easier.
6. VoIP Support for IoT
VoIP devices are evolving beyond sending voice and video-packets. So, we can expect VoIP will remain relevant by ensuring that all its endpoints such as cameras and speakers work to connect with other devices. This is where IoT and VoIP meet.
As you can see in the video below, IoT interconnects all internet-capable devices to simplify the exchange of data. As this technology becomes more sophisticated, VoIP will play a crucial role in the data capture and transmission levels of IoT.
When used hand-in-hand, VoIP and IoT can revolutionize the way businesses operate. For example, companies can set up smart offices. These workspaces can be as simple as having a network that collects all data from your office equipment so that employees can have all the information they need wherever they are. It can also be as complex as having voice-activated workspaces where you can ask the VoIP to record meetings for you.
But of course, before you begin utilizing this for your workplace, you should observe first how other companies are utilizing this. To start, you can check out these recent IoT trends.
- IoT makes it easy for you to connect all the devices, so contacts are always synced.
- VoIP systems with support for IoT lets you ensure that all your endpoints meet; thus, removing compatibility and connectivity issues.
7. The Death of Analog Telephone Systems
We have been witnessing the gradual demise of the traditional landline phone system for a while now. And it seems that it’s not stopping any time soon.
In the United States alone, over 90% of households had operational landline phones in 2004. However, only half of that amount uses landlines at home today (Statista, 2020). On a grander scale, there has been a slow but steady decline in fixed telephone lines (Statista, 2020).
After all, with the internet within reach as well as the presence of increasingly advanced smartphones, there are all sorts of ways to communicate nowadays. As a result, businesses are trying to keep up by accommodating their customers via different channels. This demand for a holistic way to communicate with people has paved the way for more sophisticated VoIP platforms.
That’s why we can expect that in the coming years, more businesses will be investing in these systems that can support, chat, SMS, email, video calls, phone calls, and social media.
- Fewer people are using analog telephones. Thus, businesses should equip themselves with more flexible communication systems.
- There are plenty of new ways for people to get in touch in the digital age. So, an increasing number of businesses are investing in VoIP platforms to accommodate more communication channels.
8. Number Portability
Building a customer base and a loyal following is difficult. That’s why you need to keep lines open for your clients. That is to say, they should be able to get in touch with you easily even as you make changes to your operations such as switching phone service providers.
Luckily, there are new initiatives that offer blockchain solutions to simplify this process. Blockchain, as explained in the video below, is a global database that stores information permanently online. This can be used to accelerate the migration of mobile numbers to different service providers. Moreover, it acts as a decentralized ledger that can provide standardized access and routing lookup for all operators worldwide.
With the emergence of this tech, we can expect Mobile Number Portability (MPN), Local Number Portability (LNP), and Do Not Call (DNC) registries to be more prominent in 2020 and beyond. What’s more is this isn’t limited to mobile phones and local phones; it is also available for VoIP phones.
- Customers want to get in touch with you. It’s important that you stick to a single contact number (or a constant set of numbers) through which they can do so. The best way to do this is through number porting.
- Mobile number portability, local number portability, and VoIP number portability are made faster and more efficient by blockchain technology.
9. Increased Adoption of VoIP in Schools
The functionalities of VoIP systems go beyond office and business purposes. More schools are seeing the value of VoIP in managing unified communications within its structure and with their customers (students and parents). For starters, institutions now use them to enhance online learning. It can serve as a platform for class collaboration. Moreover, it can be used to conduct seminars and other supplementary classes without having to meet physically.
That said, it comes as no surprise that the education VoIP market will grow over 18% with the extensive use of IP phones and softphone applications. This trend will most likely be more prevalent in the future as demand for mobility rises (yes, this not only applies to corporate employees but for teachers and students as well).
- Teachers and students also need mobility in today’s fast-paced world. That said, they want the option to still conduct classes even while in the comfort of their home. So, many resort to using VoIP systems.
- VoIP platforms are equipped to help educators provide online learning experiences. It can even be used to improve class collaboration.
10. Competition With Video Chat Services
VoIP service providers are facing steep competition with video chat services. These include service providers such as FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, and other established mobile phone services.
In fact, experts predict that video chat communication Platform as a Service (PaaS) will hit $20.4 billion by 2028 (Globe Newswire, 2020). This can be attributed to the increase in video chat usage of Millennials and Gen Zers. Moreover, many businesses are also increasing their use of these platforms. After all, video chat is observed to improve close rates by 35% to 75% as well as reduce handle time by 70%.
As a result, the annual VoIP service industry growth has been -3.6% from 2014 to 2019. This is despite a 3.6% increase in revenue of USD 14.4 billion in 2019 alone. Despite the slump in industry services, VoIP is improving technology-wise. For example, more VoIP solutions are now capable of supporting multiple communication channels. This way, you no longer have to rely on different platforms for business communications.
On the flip side, there are VoIP solutions that can integrate with video chat services. With this, you can seamlessly use both services to your advantage. Just be sure to read up on what is video conferencing first, to get a better idea of how to make the most of it for your company.
- Video chat services can increase close rates while reducing handle time, making it a better option than audio calls for businesses.
- Some VoIP systems have built-in video chat options or can work with third-party video chat services. That said, you don’t necessarily have to pick one over the other.
11. VoIP Merges With WebRTC
WebRTC initially poised itself as a negative disruptor of the VoIP industry. At some point, there were those who believed that the former might eventually phase out the latter. However, it seems that the tables have turned.
WebRTC is a framework created to run real-time communications in a browser using simple APIs. In a nutshell, it’s more flexible than VoIP systems, so many companies might for it than other communication infrastructures. However, WebRTC is also an open-source standard. Meaning, it can easily play well with VoIP systems.
For starters, WebRTC enhances the VoIP experience with instant calls and live video support. It can also improve peer-to-peer files swapping and direct calls from the web browser.
Simply put, by combining the functionalities of a WebRTC and a VoIP platform, you can easily revolutionize the way you handle your company’s communications. Plus, users no longer need extra plugins and widgets for various business communication functions.
That said, we can expect to see the merger of these two communication systems in the near future.
- WebRTC is built to make business communication systems more flexible, thus using one alongside your VoIP platform can help streamline operations.
- In the near future, we’ll see more companies using WebRTC. Thus, it is best to get to observe the development of the technology and find out about its implementation process as early as now.
12. Increased Security Issues
Internet accessibility has many perks. It gives you on-demand access to all sorts of information as well as helps you get in touch with anyone from across the globe whenever you wish. However, it comes with its own set of disadvantages, especially now when data is almost equivalent to currency. One of these disadvantages would be cyberattack risks.
Nowadays, information integrity is a challenge as 40% of industrial computers have become targets for cyberattacks (Kaspersky, 2017). According to Statista, some of the most common types of cyberattacks include phishing (38%), network intrusion (32%), and inadvertent disclosure (12%) (Statista, 2020). There are also those who said these attacks included system misconfigurations and lost records. Moreover, there has been a 15% increase in cyberattacks worldwide compared to 2019 (GlobeNewswire, 2021). As more people work from home due to the pandemic, hackers have been spreading malware through Portable Executable formats or files frequently shared online such as PDF and Microsoft Office files (Avira, 2020).
VoIP systems, being internet-enabled, are vulnerable to these kinds of issues. That said, one of the VoIP future trends worth watching is how companies prepare themselves before they roll out VoIP for their communication. The best way to do so would be to find top cybersecurity vendors that can provide you with the kind of protection you require. In addition, it is also important to read up on data security best practices. This way, you can reap the benefits of VoIP while minimizing its risks.
- Internet-enabled tech such as VoIP platforms are more vulnerable to threats. Thus, you must invest in cybersecurity.
- Companies using VoIP systems should also be mindful of data security best practices. This way, they can ensure clean digital footprints and secure company databases.
Take Advantage of VoIP for your Business
VoIP brings tangible business benefits. On one hand, small businesses can take advantage of VoIP as a cost-effective alternative to traditional phone and communication systems. On the other hand, large corporations can use it to optimize the way they handle business calls as well as sales transactions.
That said, VoIP could very well be the standard technology for business communications in the coming years. However, like any type of modern technology, these systems are still evolving. Industry disruptors such as 5G networks, UCaaS, AI, and WebRTC are sure to change the playing field in a few years. Moreover, an increasing number of companies have already started experimenting with new communication strategies such as mobile systems, smart assistants, and video chat services.
Hopefully, with our compilation of VoIP new trends for 2020, you were able to get a better idea as to how you can leverage these industry shifts to gain strategic business advantage.
If you’d like to learn more about what other industry changes to expect in the coming years, be sure to take a look at our compilation of VoIP data. Here, you’ll find relevant facts and figures on how other companies are utilizing the technology as well as what best practices they are applying. This way, you can stay on top of the competition and keep up with the rising demand for VoIP services spurred by the pandemic.