Perhaps not since the meteoric rise of the Internet back in the 1980’s has a technology become so popular so quickly as VoIP. It stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and it has grown so fast in the last few years that it is predicted by many to make landline phone systems obsolete by as early as 2018.
What is VoIP and how does it work?
Simply put, VoIP is a means of making phone calls without using telephone wires[EB4] (unless of course you are using ADSL broadband, which still requires copper wires for Internet access). The human voice is converted instead into data packets, which are transmitted over the Internet and then reassembled into speech at the other end.
VoIP was first developed some twenty years ago and it was something of a novelty at the time, where Internet users were able to talk to each other via their PCs.
It has since been refined to the point where it can now be used on any mobile device with Internet connectivity and integrated with a wide range of features made possible by digital technology.
So why is it better than traditional phone calls?
The main advantage of VoIP can be summed up in one word: cost. The cost of calls via VoIP can be significantly cheaper than calls made via landline phone systems.
On certain VoIP plans, local and national calls are charged at a single low call rate, regardless of distance, while international calls are charged in increments of cents per minute, meaning that users can potentially access significant savings.
Many VoIP plans also allow businesses to enjoy free calls between dedicated phone numbers, which can cut business communication costs dramatically.
As well as low call costs, VoIP offers users a host of new features made possible by its use of the Internet. These include voicemail, caller ID, call blocking, call diversion, conference calls, auto attendant, video calls, follow-me call rerouting and more.
VoIP has clear advantages both for business and for private users and given its low cost, mobility and versatility, it’s safe to say that it really is the ‘next big thing’ in communications.