VoIP, VoIP, everywhere people are talking about VoIP. What gives? Why is VoIP so important? It’s just phones, right?
Well, yes and no. VoIP is important in part because at this point telephones are important. Phones haven’t been around for most of human history, but like plumbing and electric lighting, have become deeply important to us since their invention. Telephones and communication systems have made our modern world what it is. We would be hard put to live without telephones today, especially since the pandemic hit and we needed to call instead of visit or shop. Telephone advances are equally important.
A Brief History of Telephones
So, telephones are important. Therefore if telephones are important, so are any phone innovations that may come up. Since their invention, phones have been improving and evolving continually. In the beginning, we could only talk between two direct hard connections and anyone on the circuit could listen in. Then, switchboards came to be. Larger and larger areas came under the influence of telephone networks. We could call people in other countries. Eventually, we got to the point that we could talk without wires, and then without wired bases. Satellite phones were the first to be truly untethered, followed shortly by cell phones.
It’s All Speeding Up
Technology in general is speeding up in terms of evolution, and telephones with them. Now, technology often resembles an arms race. Regular users and criminals alike try to use emergent technology for their own purposes on a continual basis. Competition like this accelerates innovation as each side attempts to outdo the other. So, telephone technology has been speeding up since their invention.
When Did The Internet Start Running Phones?
So, your humble author is old enough to remember when getting online meant enduring the horrific screeching of an otherwise inoffensive modem. Back in those Dark Ages, getting on the Internet meant sacrificing the phone line for any other purpose. Internet ran on phone lines back then. When did phones start running on the Internet? Because that’s what VoIP is, after all, Voice over Internet Protocol.
It happened about the time that companies started running dedicated data lines instead of transmitting data over plain old pieces of copper. The screeching was the modem creating a data interface on the copper system. Today, we create a voice interface on the data system.
Data lines are made of different things, sometimes even of plastic or glass. Most are still made of copper, but even they are more complex than a thin rod of copper. They have twisted or shielded cores, with multiple lines running through, for the transmission of more complex data.
Data Is Taking Over
The FCC has already said they’re insisting we phase out the plain old copper telephone network by 2025. All phones will run over data lines using VoIP, whether we’re aware of it or not. Why? Because it’s more efficient, for a lot of reasons.
Phone features like voicemail, conference calling, transfers, and extensions used to cost businesses a lot of money to install. Texting or SMS messaging didn’t even exist. Installing those systems meant putting a whole lot of copper in an office building, and everyone was tied to their desks. Everyone was tied to that copper network.
Not anymore! VoIP systems do with software what old style systems had to do with solid copper. Software is just programming, just commands. We don’t have to put a whole bunch of copper in the building anymore, just deploy some programming into VoIP phones and behold, it’s a business system!
Using VoIP makes everything business telecom so much cheaper. Autoattendants? Yeah, we can provide them complimentary, not a problem. Voicemail to email? It’s cheaper to just provide that with every account too. Transfers? Conference calling? No extra charge, there’s no point. It doesn’t use up anything “extra” any more.
And then there’s what’s most exciting, the mobility. Because VoIP is founded on programming instead of solid copper wires, a VoIP phone works from anywhere with an Internet connection. Going on a business trip and want your office in the hotel with you? Not a problem, just bring your VoIP phone along and hook it up through the hotel’s WiFi. It’ll function just like it would at your office. Have a remote employee that you want firmly within your business telephone network? As long as they have WiFi at their remote office, the same system applies.
The world is headed towards UC, aka Unified Communication, at a quick rate. VoIP provides an integral piece of that, and will only continue to grow in priority.
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