Since VoIP phone systems became available almost two decades ago, awareness of what VoIP telephony solutions can do has been steadily growing. However, a recent survey has shown that an understanding of the technology and its usability has not developed as rapidly as expected.
An understanding of VoIP in the market matters for a number of reasons. Small businesses and households or private consumers are more likely to use the same type of telephony technology. They purchase similar technology tools and buy from the same channels. If consumers are confused about VoIP, it’s likely that small businesses are also confused about VoIP’s potential.
If they’re uninformed about VoIP and its features, they’re less likely to be equipped to deploy and use these technologies. This means they are unaware of the limitations associated with their lack of knowledge, and unaware of the productivity and convenience that VoIP technologies could yield for them.
A recent study has found that most consumers or private users are unable to define VoIP accurately. This applied through all age groups: over half (55%) of those surveyed in the 25-34 age group said they did not know what VoIP meant. One in ten could not provide a correct definition of the term. The data shows that younger consumers are not more likely to know more about VoIP than consumers in other demographics.
However, nearly 30% understood that VoIP involved using the Internet to make calls, while nearly 10% said it was using software to make calls. Under 5% said VoIP referred to companies offering cheap calls.
VoIP has already entered the mainstream for larger enterprises in many industries. Despite it being one of the most significant telephony trends of the past two decades, the technology remains hidden or inaccessible to many people because of a lack of awareness.
The study also questioned respondents about using VoIP. Respondents were asked about their key concerns. The most common concern these consumers had about VoIP was maintaining a dial tone in the aftermath of power outages. Over one in ten (11%) said that they were worried about not having access to VoIP service during power outages.
Call quality was also a common concern among respondents. Some of the respondents confessed that they had concerns about the quality of calls made on VoIP connections.
Other respondents said that a need for specialised hardware was an issue for them, even though many VoIP systems require less equipment than traditional phone systems. This is probably due to the specialised analogue hardware associated with traditional office phone lines.
Respondents also voiced a concern about security and privacy, with 18-24 year olds most likely to express a concern in this area. Other respondents were worried about mobile compatibility. This particular issue is evidently based in a lack of understanding of VoIP technology, as VoIP technology is much more mobile friendly than traditional landlines. Most VoIP systems are enabled for mobile call forwarding as well as easy installation on mobile phones.