Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service began as an inexpensive or free way for people to make and receive voice calls on the internet, and blew up into a paradigm shifting phenomena. Over the past few decades, IP telephony has completely disrupted the telecommunications industry, from the way that the phone service is delivered, to consumer expectations.
From the beginning, VoIP service providers introduced a new normal. Phone calls on web applications were often poor quality, but inexpensive or free. Hosted plans saved costs but often lacked core functionality, bundling rarely used features onto confusing interfaces. More advanced protocols, such as SIP trunking, offered a more customized, robust and reliable experience, but were costly to install and maintain.
Small businesses looking for quality phone service were often stranded between solutions.
The digital world saw voice, image, and text converge as consumers toggle between platforms and channels, using their smartphones as universal remote to navigate an always on, omnichannel experience. Voice was no longer a stand-alone medium, but another channel integrated into the data network, existing alongside other applications such as video, email and messaging.
While plain old telephone service didn’t allow rich media and a UC experience, it did deliver a standardized, uniform voice experience across its network.
In the newly disrupted VoIP landscape, quality voice calls were no longer a baseline of expectation, but a negotiable variable.
Next generation VoIP service
Companies who hastily adopted VoIP service often learned these lessons after the fact. Hosted VoIP in the cloud was an attractive alternative to costly on-premise setups, but lacked flexibility and was difficult to scale. On the other hand, many solutions, still built on top of 20th century technology, had poor support for an increasingly mobile workforce. VoIP service still struggles to close this last gap, but the next generation of VoIP service will be a race towards better voice quality, more personalized service, and better mobility.
The new last mile
The last mile is a term used in the telecommunications industry to refer to the final leg of service delivery, traditionally, the portion of the telecommunication network chain that physically reached the end user, actually hardwired into the structure.
Today the last mile is a much more nebulous, as it follows the user wherever they are. It crosses regional and network boundaries.
BYOD and work
Nearly 9 out of 10 businesses (87 percent) rely on employees to bring their smartphones to work, according to a new study by The Information Systems Group (ISG). Work is also happening outside of the traditional office. Two out of three workers said that employees are using their mobile devices 4 hours or more outside the office.
Closing the gap
Businesses are taking VoIP service out of the office and out on the road by condensing all of the power of massive servers, wires and trunk lines into a tiny mobile device. Virtual PBX systems can function exactly like their old office-bound counterparts and be managed from an application on a smartphone. An intuitive interface with smart directories, geo-routing and extension dialing make it easy to manage from your smartphone.
As voice is better supported by mobility and smart tech, a new user experience is emerging. AI is transforming telecom, from more resilient networks, to better call quality and advanced analytics. To learn more about Spoke, including how our AI is powering the next generation voice UX, sign up for an interactive demo and see how to transform your mobile phone or business phone line into a smart office phone system.