5 Enterprise VoIP Trends to Watch in 2016
As VoIP implementations continue to grow in flexibility, customization, and integration, so does their relevance in the marketplace. As we look to the coming year, the emergence of several trends related to VoIP are becoming more apparent; together they reveal the direction VOIP is heading. While VoIP is growing and expanding in myriad ways, we look at 5 significant trendssurrounding enterprise VoIP.
1. Hosted VoIP Cloud PBXs
Hosted enterprise VoIP solutions continue to be on the rise due to the lower costs, increased flexibility, and overall scalability of these systems. With cloud-based PBX systems, companies receive the full functionality of an on-premises PBX, but oftentimes gain more control over advanced call management and are able to add a larger number of state-of-the-art Unified Communications (UC) features. Faster broadband speeds and the reduced cost of IP trunks also make it appealing for companies to replace their legacy voice services equipment with a hosted system that can be customized to fit almost any requirement.
2. Hosted VoIP Contact Centers to Run your Business
Current research (like that listed in Table 2 below) clearly shows that using a hosted VoIP contact center can be advantageous to your enterprise. In fact, this research shows that cloud-based contact centers enjoy 27% lower annual costs associated with customer turnover, compared to their peers. The research from Aberdeen Group also shows that cloud-based contact centers are far more likely to implement and monitor crucial processes that drive improved performance, in relation to their peers. Many companies have found that an improved customer experience is the hidden ROI associated with the scalability benefits that cloud-based contact centers can provide organizations.
In addition to all of the benefits that can be gained externally for enterprises that utilize hosted contact centers, businesses are also realizing the many advantages that can appear internally as well. Whether it be the more reliable, scalable, and routable calling and services, or the mobile access and reduced calling rates, internal employees are clearly benefiting from hosted VoIP contact centers too.
Moreover, there is a growing trend for managers within these enterprises to obtain workforce software that can assist with employee organization, improved customer experience, and help with effective resource allocation. With the right hosted contact center solution in place, management is able to gather useful analytics that focus on quality assurance, performance management, and more, using call recording, automated call distribution, and coordinated scheduling. Through this hosted solution, managers can gain data and insight that helps to properly match an agent’s skills to the correct internal position that will be most beneficial in meeting company goals.
3. More Integration with Cloud-based VoIP products
A driving force for this trend is today’s multi-tasking workforce that strives to simultaneously complete as many tasks as possible, using the smallest number of tools. As a result, we will continue to see more integration with cloud-based platforms and products using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), for integration with Accounting Systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, and Contact Center and Help Desk programs.
Furthermore, VoIP will continue to be integrated with marketing and social media tools, shared calendars, and for enterprise device management and various monitoring purposes. This trend towards cloud-based VoIP applications and workforce apps and services integration should help to meet the productivity goals today’s employees and managers are striving for.
4. Further Convergence of VoIP and UC via Collaboration Solutions
VoIP and UC continue to merge as collaboration apps and services like live-chat and messaging look to overtake email use in 2016 – especially for in-house communications. Moreover, there will be a continuing need for communications and workflow tools across departments as well as the entire business. Also, we will continue to see a trend towards merging team video-conferencing alongside live chat, in an effort to reduce the length and amount of back and forth email chains – ultimately enabling greater productivity.
And a standard pushing toward this collaboration trend is the Web Real-Time Communication (Web RTC) standard, an open-source technology and API standard created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This standard enables voice and video calling to take place directly from browsers using embedded coding. WebRTC allows web-based applications to engage in direct voice calls, video chat, and data sharing without requiring any desktop or mobile apps, add-ons, or browser plug-ins. Some companies like Microsoft are enabling back-end Skype interoperability with WebRTC, as popular browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Microsoft Edge have announced support for WebRTC.
5. The Internet of Things (IoT)
Another important trend in enterprise VoIP is the way it impacts the Internet of Things (IoT). It ispredicted that by 2020 almost 26 billion objects or “things” will be connected/reside in the Internet. The IoT, for those unfamiliar, is the concept of connecting anything with an on/off switch to the internet and to each other. This could mean connecting your cell phone to your coffee maker, light switches, washing machine, wearables and so on. In the near future, VoIP will become integral to the Smart Home through the use of VoIP-enabled phones that can control home security, lighting, and smart thermostats.
These VoIP phones would also be key devices for the Smart Office. For the many mobile employees that roam between the main office, home, and client sites or satellite offices, these enterprise VoIP phones could be used to reserve desk space and customize the hoteling environment they plan to work from in an upcoming week. For instance, using their VoIP phone, they could adjust the lighting, monitor setup, and transfer their business phone number to a particular desk space – simply by using the VoIP softphone client on their smartphone or tablet.
No matter the trend, it is clear that enterprise VoIP usage is not just growing but thriving and is developing into a basic building block for voice services in years to come.