Voice-over-IP: How Did A Global Crisis Mold These Trends?
Telecom/Voice-over-IP Industry Predictions:
The global crisis we are dealing with, the infamous COVID-19 pandemic, was a powerful impetus for change. Many brick-and-mortar businesses, large and small, switch to remote work-first and remote-hybrid systems. In return, the Voice-over-IP industry is demonstrating that it is adjusting to meet the needs of its customers. Six (6) key developments indicate where VoIP is going this year:
Customer Relationships Will Continue to be Enhanced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) Voice-over-IP
AI is everywhere and in just about every aspect of modern life. So it should not be surprising to learn that tech-savvy Voce-over-IP providers like RingLeader, Inc would adopt it.
It is becoming increasingly common for businesses to employ chatbots to manage customer needs. For example, there are many apps companies use to increase engagement using self-learning AI. For instance, in an article published in Finance Digest, Servion Global Solutions warns that by 2025, 95% of customer interactions will manage without a human agent. In most cases, they say, the customer will not even be aware they are interacting with a bot.
Artificial intelligence is also being incorporated into interactive voice response (IVR) systems. This is happening more readily to increase self-service and improve the agent experience.
Educational Institutions Will Embrace Voice-over-IP & UCaaS
This technology also helps HIPAA-compliant providers to gather patient information using natural language processing, or NLP. In fact, according to PR Newswire, the NLP market’s growth is expected to increase significantly in the United States in the next five years, thanks to AI features like sentiment analysis.
The functionality of VoIP was already significant for businesses needing easier ways to communicate in 2021. However, due to the pandemic, most U.S. educational institutions, from primary schools to colleges, have now added platforms to facilitate remote learning and even class collaboration.
These VoIP services also provide ways to add additional learning sessions, enrichment classes, labs, and tutoring to the curriculum without the students meeting in person. As the world adapts to new post-pandemic normals, VoIP communication trends show that the market will continue to grow.
Using an IVR system in a school setting allows for efficient call routing, saves time, and improves customer service. Students (or parents) can request equipment, school forms, textbooks, and other items without speaking to a teacher.
Embrace Voice-over-IP & UCaaS
These opportunities are not limited to phone calls since texting and messaging also efficiently streamline communication. Furthermore, VoIP features like ringless voicemail enable educators to send bulk messages to students with announcements and instructions.
Likewise, many college campuses are vast. Video conferences save students time while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 and other contact-based viruses. Furthermore, students can still attend classes virtually and collaborate with classmates while visiting family and friends more often. Or even learning from home for the entirety of their educational experience.
There Will Be Increased Competition & Partnerships
Many businesses are switching over to VoIP and unified communications (UCaaS). As a result, the industry has quickly entered a state of consolidation. As a result, some powerful companies are putting their money where their mouth is.
For example, Verizon recently purchased BlueJeans, and Microsoft’s recent Teams push resulted in massive usage upticks. While Zoom did fail to purchase Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) provider Five9 in late 2021, there are multiple indications that consolidation will continue well into 2022.
A steady lineup of new players is also entering the arena. For example, LinkedIn recently launched native video meetings on their platform. Thus eradicating the need for business connections to communicate with an external service like Zoom.
Increased Attention to Voice-over-IP Security
VoIP has increased vulnerabilities thanks to the nature of calls sent via packets over the internet. According to research by Accenture, nearly 70% of business leaders feel cybersecurity is becoming a severe issue. Small businesses are typically the ones that bear the brunt of the impact of cyberattacks. Cybersecurity keenly affects VoIP since confidential information is sent through providers like Nextiva, RingLeader, CrowdVoice App, and 8×8 nearly every minute of every day.
Since August 2021, Direct Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have been on at least three VoIP providers, including larger providers like Bandwidth.com. Episodes like this affect all VoIP services that use the same servers, like RingLeader and Twilio. Based on research published on MSSP Alert (Managed Security Service Provider), DDoS and ransomware attacks will only increase in the new year.
Unfortunately, as was proven by the recent attacks in the U.K., anti-DDoS prevention measures are not always effective, mainly when multiple attacks co-occur. However, these attacks bog down the server until it is unusable.
DDoS, security risks
In addition to DDoS, security risks like packet sniffers, which detect, log, and steal voice data packets as they travel to their destination, are significant. As a result, many providers are making security a primary focus. Multi-layer security measures must protect data on remote servers worldwide and offer solutions for remote workers using personal devices to communicate with colleagues and customers.
As attacks continue into the new year, expect smaller businesses to take extra steps regarding encryption and data protection best practices. In many cases, VoIP security is best at the business level rather than at the provider level. Businesses will improve things like password policies and protocols and implement more robust end-to-end encryption for external devices used by employees.
The era of the distributed workforce is here. With this comes mass demand for virtual meetings and team collaboration via the internet. With these data packets sent now is the time to consider bolstering security for 2022.
The Rise of New High-speed Internet Connectivity Options
The new Wi-Fi standard may already be known, 802.11ax, also known as Wi-Fi 6. By design, Wi-Fi 6 forgoes some of the traditional weaknesses of standard Wi-Fi. Reducing congestion on the wireless connection makes this new iteration more mobile and Voice-over-IP-friendly. The technology even reduces the battery drain that typically comes with traditional Wi-Fi connections.
Wi-Fi 6 provides tools to manage mobile VoIP traffic from virtual phone providers like CrowdVoice and larger Voice-over-IP and UC providers like RingLeader. Agents can easily connect with laptops and smart devices with increased bandwidth over wireless networks. However, they will not need to connect to desk phones and desktop computers.
Also along this same line is the rise of new wireless technologies like 5G. Since private networks in buildings are using 5G technology, it could quickly replace Wi-Fi 6. However, unlike a cellular carrier’s 5G, private 5G will not be as prone to dead zones or intermittent disconnects as public 5G. Instead, 5G makes it ideal for businesses needing maximized uptime in their offices.
In 2022, expect businesses to embrace one or both of these technologies since each has definitive use cases. For example, companies may use Wi-Fi 6 for generalized customer interaction and team communication. However, they would also deploy private 5G LTE networks when there is a need for separate data processing and storage. For example, 5G LTE would be ideal for companies that need HIPAA-compliant data warehousing.
The End of the Desktop Phone Is in Sight
Over the last few years, more and more companies have shifted their focus to mobile phones.
Smartphones are ideal for businesses. They provide their employees with a means to communicate with customers and colleagues using a variety of channels. Today’s mobile devices are already Voice-over-IP and UCaaS-friendly. Because the advanced capabilities for voice calls and voicemails, video chats, video, and audio conferencing, email, and texting. Plus, there are mobile apps like CrowdVoice App available. There is an app for every type of business task and function.
According to Market Research Future, many providers champion bringing your own device (BYOD), a mobile-first concept. The versatility of smartphones and tablets means that agents can make calls from any 3G, 4G, 5G, or Wi-Fi network. Making it easy to run a business powered by remote workers.
2021 has been a year of significant changes in the VoIP and UC industries. Companies are consolidating, partnerships are forging, and new technologies are making business communication even more convenient. In 2022, trends show that VoIP and UC will continue to thrive. We are bound to see unique developments that will change how businesses communicate.
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