Market musings

Mobility, BYOD and Hotspots Driving Business VoIP Growth Through 2021

by Sasha Viasasha
December 12, 2017

Voice over IP (VoIP) has already begun to replace public switched telephone networks (PSTN) as the default communications backbone in the workplace of the future.

Now, a new Technavio report on projected global VoIP deployments through 2021 suggests that this VoIP will continue to win over new business at a growth rate of a 9.87% through 2021. The report also identified the factors most likely to accelerate business VoIP adoption in the next 3 years.  

Those 3 factors are:

  • Proliferation of mobile devices
  • Normalization of BYOD
  • Expansion of 3G/4G hotspot routers

Each factor contains important sub-factors with implications for the form that communications will take in the years ahead.

Proliferation of mobile devices

Juniper Research estimated that there are around 1 billion mobile VoIP users in 2017 and it’s easy to see why. First of all, mobile devices are always at a hand, quite literally.

Nearly all American adults (95%) now own a cell phone of some kind, up from around 66% just a decade ago. In 2017, at least 77% of American adults own smartphones and that adoption rate is much higher for millennials. 92% of millennials (in the 18-29 age range) depend on their smartphones to navigate their lives. They have proven to be so useful and versatile that the average US adult now owns more than 3 mobile devices, including a laptop, tablet or wearable.

Secondly, mobile VoIP is much simpler concept, making it possible to make national or internationally calls without worrying about nights and weekend hours, roaming charges or international dialing codes. As VoIP handles voice, video and data in the same way, mobile VoIP popularized video conferencing, both in business and in private life.

A third reason is that mobile VoIP has greater interoperability than legacy communication channels. The cloud-based nature of mobile VoIP providers made it easy for users to move from desktop to laptop to smartphone and bring the same set of contacts with them everywhere they went.

Although adoption rates of  business VoIP and mobile devices are much higher in developing nations as they leapfrog older communications technologies, there’s still room for growth in US markets. That growth is largely from businesses with office-bound phone systems adding on mobile VoIP components to keep up with the increasingly mobile workforce.

As Technavio’s report pointed out, “During 2017-2021, with increased smartphone and LTE-enabled device adoption, the VoIP services market is likely to expand significantly. The development of various VoIP applications for smartphones in the form of messaging and voice and video calls at reduced prices helps more customers to adopt VoIP services.”

Normalization of BYOD

BYOD is the new standard. Syntonic’s research showed that 87% of companies now depend on employees to access business apps (especially email) on their own devices.

Instead of being distracted by using their own phones at work, the majority of today’s workers are more productive using hardware that they already understand and want to use, according to 69% of IT decision-makers.

The smartphone and app ecosystem drastically changed the conversation about how simple the user experience should be, even for highly technical processes.

Eric Nowak, director of product management at CenturyLink, explained that business VoIP adoption today is driven more by a positive user experiences than by the cost savings. “The ability to make your employee – and, in fact, the entire business in some cases – mobile is a big driver.” Nowak said that mobile-oriented businesses are “increasingly happy to abandon or augment handsets with softphones or smartphone apps.”   

Expansion of 3G/4G hotspot routers

Wireless technology and VoIP have developed side-by-side at unprecedented speeds. Wireless tech brought communications into more remote locations while VoIP collapsed communication into easily transferable packets.

VoIP breaks voice calls are broken down into digital packets that are routed along the most optimal path at any given time. VoIP calls can travel just as easily over mobile networks (3G/4G/LTE) or fixed networks, so as wireless hotspots have greatly expanded where an international business conversation can happen: in an elevators, on public transportation or even on a golf course. While users in many countries all over the world are still using 3G technology, business callers in developed countries and urban areas have already moved on to 4G LTE.

Telecom service providers and hardware manufacturers are collaborating on the next generation of mobile hotspot router that support 5G. The next generation of networks, with gigabyte download speeds, is right around the corner and it is designed to be so flexible that there won't have to be a 6G. These new networks will be upgradable so that ideally they won't need to be replaced with new protocols.

The Technavio report observed that, “International telecommunication unions worldwide are supporting the research of 5G networks by investing billions of dollars in this technology. They are passing various mandates and policies, which are supporting the growth of the technology.”

Business VoIP's role in digital transformation

The growth of business VoIP and the digitalization of voice are part of the larger global trend in digital transformation. Along with SaaS and virtual phone systems, business VoIP represents the future of business communications.

Business VoIP has grown into the new de facto telecom backbone as virtual PBX app makers and VoIP incorporate advance in voice UX, wearable IoT, and energy harvesting tech for mobile devices.

The business world is seeing seismic shifts in how people connect each other, how they interact with intelligent machines and how insights are derived from these interactions.  Business VoIP supports a more robust voice experience, and together with emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning, can optimize both networks and the human-to-human aspect of data networks. 

Mobile VoIp is empowering the next generation of business innovation by connecting people, across the room or across the world, and making more conversations possible. 

Spoke Phone is a virtual phone system designed to be managed and deployed across your mobile network. To learn more about Spoke, including how our AI is powering the next generation voice UX, sign up for an interactive demo and learn how to transform your mobile phone or business phone line into a smart office phone system.

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