Communications is no stagnant industry


    The way people communicate constantly changes, driven by technologies in demand and the needs of the people using those solutions.

    The IP phone system market has been experiencing significant changes during the past several years due to the proliferation of mobile, cloud and other wireless technologies. As advanced networking services continue to emerge, the way people communicate with corporate representatives, customers, colleagues and everyone is bound to transform. This metamorphosis will make room for more innovative practices that will ultimately transform the business world into a more adaptive and flexible environment.

    Telecommunications providers today have implemented IP multimedia subsystems that enable users to transfer video, voice and other data packets over wireless connections. This has ultimately made it easier for companies to leverage sophisticated business phone systems, video conferencing and other collaborative tools that are gaining momentum due to the consumerization of IT.

    A recent Infonetics report highlighted the transition from fixed-line VoIP systems to mobile services through IMS, though analysts say the momentum is not as fast as past transformations in the telecommunications landscape. At the same time, however, experts do not see any immediate obstacles that will prevent IMS deployments from taking place.

    "Our conversations with operators confirm that IMS deployments are progressing, with new services being turned up every day. The biggest change coming over the next few years will be the rise of voice over LTE and its impact on IMS. Over 90 percent of the operators participating in our IMS strategies survey plan to deploy VoLTE by 2015, up from zero today. This is going to shape the IMS market in the coming years," said Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, unified communications and IMS at Infonetics Research.

    A separate Infonetics report revealed that the global market for over-the-top VoIP services and VoLTE is forecast to generate more than $16 billion by 2017. This will primarily be driven by the rapidly increasing population of VoLTE subscribers, which is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 145 percent between 2012 and 2017.

    The VoIP of tomorrow

    As stated above, the mobile impact on VoIP is huge, especially as enterprises seek alternative ways to support a remote workforce without introducing complications that could impair performance or efficiency. But another emerging technology is also transforming the IP telephony landscape: cloud computing.

    Unlike conventional networking strategies, a cloud infrastructure is hosted off-site and managed by a trusted third party. This means that cloud VoIP services enable businesses to take advantage of the most innovative applications and features available without driving costs through the roof or inviting unwanted maintenance complexities.

    Hosted VoIP services are also extremely scalable and flexible, making them ideal solutions for a contact center that experiences fluctuating volumes in traffic. Because the phone network is managed off-site, decision-makers do not need to worry about internal bandwidth limitations creating bottlenecks and other performance problems. As a result, customer service departments can handle massive volumes of incoming calls while leveraging numerous solutions, allowing employees to interact with consumers on the customer's desired platform.

    A report by ABI Research highlighted the ongoing migration to cloud collaboration, revealing that more than 40 percent of all enterprise communication applications will be hosted in the cloud by 2016, pushing the market to generate $8 billion in revenue.

    "Enterprise mobilization is also driving migration to the cloud," said Dan Shey, practice director at ABI Research. "Cloud applications ease application delivery for businesses that are increasingly relying on access across fixed and mobile endpoints."

    As enterprises continue to demand the use of innovative products, telecommunication providers will be forced to comply in order to stay competitive with rival vendors. This will inevitably turn into a cycle, speeding up exponentially as the technological landscape matures.

    Will the office be necessary?

    As the enterprise continues to embrace wireless technology, the traditional land line office phone system will become antiquated. The ongoing deployment of bring your own device and other mobile endeavors will speed up this transition, forcing companies to implement IP and cloud-based technologies to support anytime connectivity, regardless of device or location.

    This transformation will drive enterprises to consider the ultimate question of whether having an office will even be necessary. The truth of the matter is yes, though not every employee will be required to commute each day. By allowing individuals to connect the network from home or on the road via a personal smartphone or tablet, executives will cater to the workforce's ongoing need to establish a better work-life balance while improving efficiency.

    By working with a trusted service provider, business decision-makers can implement a sophisticated IP multimedia subsystem or cloud network to support multiple communication platforms and technologies. Although this transformation is considered radical by many conservative companies, it ultimately represents the future of enterprise and communications in general.