VoIP has been around since 1995, but what will the next generation of VoIP technologies do to change the way we communicate going forward
It seems hard to believe that just 20 years ago VoIP debuted and could only be used for communication between two individuals running the same VoIP program on their personal computers. Fast forward to today, and this technology has rapidly emerged as a major driver of the telecom industry – with many individuals and businesses now using VoIP as their primary landline phone service. Plans are available today that support residential customers, and small, medium, large, and commercial – scale businesses. One of the key selling points for this communication technology is the low cost of the monthly subscription plans – with many residential programs costing $10 per month or less. Leading VoIP company magicJack charges as little as $3 per month – a compelling value proposition when compared to the cost of traditional landline service available today. But VoIP is poised for change, and there are activities occurring behind the scenes right now that hint at a slightly different future for this incredible communication medium.
One major proposition that legislators have introduced over the past few years is a complete shutdown of the PSTN, or public switched telephone network. The PSTN encompasses all the components and systems that comprise the traditional telephone network, a network that sees increasingly smaller numbers of customers year-by-year. If this does get shut down, VoIP will quickly become the leading communication option for millions of customers and businesses across the nation. We will likely see major communications providers like Verizon or AT&T wholeheartedly support a change to VoIP, as the maintenance costs and related expenses of managing a VoIP system are significantly lower than keeping the PSTN in good working order.
One key area where VoIP will continue to focus in the coming years is in the realm of mobile communications. Most homes nowadays choose either cell phones as a primary communication device, or some type of VoIP program. A host of applications are available today that can be downloaded in mere moments that provide calling as long as an Internet connection is available. These applications are incredibly useful for those who are tired of invasive mobile phone bills, and for those who travel abroad and find that using a mobile device gets expensive quickly. As long as there is a Wi-Fi signal – or in most cases, 3G or 4G signal, clients can use a VoIP plan for free calling instead of eating up their cellular minutes. Highly discounted international calling is often available, too. Interestingly, many telecommunications companies are less than enthusiastic about public Wi-Fi signals – as they potentially represent a major threat to their ability to monetize voice service.
The future for VoIP is not only bright, it is also incredibly exciting! As the curly cord of the landline phone soon gives way to the pocket-sized powerhouse that is today’s mobile phone, additional advances in the VoIP realm will provide consumers and businesses alike with another communication option that can save money and deliver incredible convenience all in one.