VoIP trends: the
future of the VoIP
industry is clear
(and flexible)

Author: Mike Elgan

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) started out as a low-cost alternative to traditional landline and private branch exchange (PBX) systems. In the earliest days of VoIP, call quality was lower than that of landline calls. But as a digital technology, the quality has never stopped rising. Over time, VoIP trends will come to offer business benefits that the pioneers of VoIP could only dream of—super-high-quality calls, total integration, security, flexibility and intelligence.

Five VoIP trends to watch

Here's what we can expect from the future of VoIP industry.

1. Quality of service

Consumers buying new 5G-enabled smartphones assume that the new generation is just like the previous generation, only faster. But it's so much more than that—especially for VoIP calls. Not only will 5G networks handle moments of high usage far better than 4G, but they'll also offer vastly better packet prioritization, superior network availability and improved reliability.

5G also offers something called network slicing, which is network virtualization to isolate tasks, combined with the allocation of computing resources to optimize performance. And if somehow the better network options alone do not improve your voice quality, 5G includes a highly adaptive high definition voice CODEC called EVS that senses and adapts in real time to the network conditions.  In short, 5G will vastly improve VoIP.

2. UCaaS

The remote-work trend of 2020 sent unified communications as a service (UCaaS) to new heights, as distributed teams replaced business travel and in-person meetings with digital conversations—especially videoconferencing, but also VoIP calls. AVANT Analytics found that interest in UCaaS shot up by 86% after the pandemic-related lockdowns first happened.

Experts expect that both the remote work and the UCaaS trend will continue into the future. Over time, it's likely that UCaaS tools will evolve to better handle office/remote hybrid work models.

3. Omnichannel

The flexibility of VoIP and future VoIP systems will help organizations break down silos and deliver a customer-centric communications strategy. Because VoIP calls are data, new technologies will turn that data into part of an omnichannel approach to a unified customer experience. No matter where customers interact with the organization, next-gen VoIP will promote consistency because it can turn the data from calls into actionable, searchable text and make queries on social, text, websites and other channels available to the call center. This enables visibility on all previous interactions with a customer on all channels, enabling a seamless continuation of the conversation for the customer.

Customer experience programs will center on VoIP technology as it evolves to better unify organizations around the customer experience.

4. Artificial intelligence and sentiment analysis

One of the most promising VoIP trends is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in VoIP services. AI-powered analytics, including sentiment analysis based on natural language processing, can analyze every customer call and extract insights into what callers are feeling. It does this by processing the words spoken in a call to detect not only their meaning but possibly also the emotions and opinions expressed, which are then classified and organized to make that previously unstructured data actionable.

For businesses, this means a constant flow of data that can give you insights into the quality of your call center, the impact of advertising and the affinity customers have for your products and services.

5. Security

As voice becomes another application on your data network, VoIP security becomes more central as well. The risks include not only intercepted calls and unauthorized use of the system but also the use of VoIP systems to hack other parts of the company or for data theft and social engineering attacks.

Beyond passwords, multi-step authentication, and encryption and biometrics, the future of VoIP industry trends in security may rely upon blockchain technologies to decentralize control over the system. Denying cyber attackers a single point of attack means they'll have a harder time breaching the system.

The brilliant future of internet-based voice calls

It's one thing to look ahead to the application of future technologies to VoIP, but it's another to understand how this will affect business.

The future of VoIP industry developments will offer radically higher call quality and much better integration with the full suite of communication options used by the business. Above all, they'll be flexible. Future VoIP will scale up and down and offer customized options for different parts of the organization. That flexibility will extend to the device, with calls directed quickly to the desired person on phones, laptops, tablets, mobiles or future platforms like smart glasses.

VoIP has always offered cost savings to businesses through lower equipment costs, lower monthly fees (and lower added fees for additional services) and less maintenance. But the flexibility, integration and boosted quality of future VoIP offer new efficiencies and cost savings in the business generally. And the improved security of next-gen VoIP will help protect the company from costly breaches.

VoIP will not only continue its evolution in call quality, but we can also expect future technologies to drive it into a central position in the communication and business strategies of organizations of every size.

Learn how Verizon's VoIP solutions can help keep your business productive, even with employees working remotely.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.