As far as trends and use go, Voice over IP, better known as VoIP, is big.
You may not realize just how big of a business it is, though. According to the latest statistics, it’s expected that there will be one billion people using VoIP services by the end of 2017.
Given that there are only 7.5 billion people in the world, that means that approximately one in every eight people uses VoIP at home, at work or at some other point during the day.
What Is VoIP?
If you’re not one of those one in eight people and aren’t familiar with VoIP, it is a means of transmitting audio and even video calls over the Internet.
You can call out to regular landline and cellular phones, and you have a virtual number that others can call in to. Depending on your VoIP setup, you can either have a traditional type of phone (known as an IP phone, in this case) or you can opt for apps that let you make and receive VoIP calls on your smartphone or computer.
VoIP offers many of the same features as landline and cellular phones, as well as a few more advanced features that work really well for business use. You can even create multiple numbers for a VoIP account and have them all ring the same phone!
VoIP has become so advanced that it even has options that allow users to access E911 Dialing, enabling them to dial for emergency services even though the phone number isn’t tied down to a physical location.
Why Is VoIP So Popular?
The popularity of VoIP is due in large part to the ongoing development of new technology.
As the Internet becomes more and more a part of our daily lives, people who always have connections become more likely to use those connections for everything. Many VoIP services offer more features for less money than their landline counterparts, so people are dropping landline service and switching to VoIP instead.
Even some smartphone users are ditching service plans and just using VoIP apps on WiFi to place and receive calls.
Is VoIP Still Growing?
Because technology shows no signs of stopping, it’s safe to say that VoIP is going to remain a growing business for quite a while.
Not only are there expected to be over one billion VoIP users by the end of 2017, but analysts also predict that the VoIP industry as a whole will be worth $140 billion by the year 2021. That’s up from $83 billion in 2015, showing a growth rate of over 9% each year. If the trend continues, the industry will grow to even greater heights in the years to follow.
There’s nothing to indicate that the trend will slow down anytime soon, either. As VoIP services become more common, more people will likely come onboard to try them out. This is light years ahead of the VoIP products of old, where connections were spotty and talk time was limited.
Modern VoIP services are every bit as good as the alternatives, and people who were burned by early VoIP experiences are finally starting to come around. As new IP phones are developed and VoIP services expand, the sky’s the limit regarding how much the industry will grow.
The Future of VoIP
The future depends on two aspects: Software and hardware.
Providers will continue refining their software, trying to add new features as appropriate and ensuring that their customers aren’t left behind in the innovation game. Meanwhile, hardware manufacturers will continue trying to produce the best possible IP phones and other equipment to make both consumers and business customers want to but their products.
Now that usage has hit one billion people, the next billion won’t be nearly as hard to reach. The more people who use it, the more word-of-mouth and product recognition will help VoIP to spread. The future of VoIP is bright, and it’s only a matter of time until that one in eight becomes one in four.