The power of Unified Communications is undeniable: Enterprises, SMBs and government organizations have been attracted by the cost-efficiency and the significant productivity benefits of business communications solutions. And while unified communications solutions have grown to encompass everything from instant messaging to video conferencing on a smartphone, business VoIP is still top dog in the UC department, and recent projections suggest that it's best days are still ahead.
Big growth expected through 2020 for VoIP
The global VoIP market is forecast to see a compound annual growth rate of 9.7 percent from 2014 to 2020 according to a recent study by Transparency Market Research. In monetary value, this equates to an increase of approximately $70.9 billion at the end of 2013 to an estimated $136.76 billion by 2020. The report attributed much of this growth to the affordability of business VoIP, as well as the growing trend toward mobile VoIP. Adoption of VoIP both at the home and in the workplace will factor into this growth, as more users become savvy to the technology's many benefits; the number of VoIP subscribers is poised to climb to around 348.5 million by 2020.
Mobile VoIP expected to drive big numbers
The traditional VoIP phone sitting atop an office desk or kitchen counter is only part of the bigger picture. As enterprises and SMBs continue to enhance mobility and look for new ways to accommodate a workforce that wants to work remotely, mobile UC may start to hog the business communication solutions spotlight. The mobile-first movement is in full swing, and it's exactly what it sounds like: More and more users prefer to do more of their computing and collaboration on smartphones, tablets, laptops and other mobile devices.
The VoIP desk phone isn't necessarily going the way of the dinosaur, but the mobile VoIP phone is on the rise. During TMR's forecast period, mobile VoIP is expected to experience an estimated CAGR of 14.7 percent. Just like a traditional business VoIP phone, a VoIP softphone allows users to make calls over a virtual interface on any computing device. This can include a traditional desktop or laptop, but it's also grown to encompass mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
"Mobile VoIP essentially turns your device into an on-the-go IP phone."
BYOD and the cloud
Another trend that may have some bearing on the VoIP market – and especially the mobile VoIP market – is the increasing adoption of bring-your-own-device policies by corporations. Markets and Markets pegged the BYOD market value to exceed $266 billion by 2019.
As more employees benefit from the ability to work from anywhere and on devices of their preference, more companies are likely to embrace UC solutions that cater to mobility – enter mobile VoIP. Mobile VoIP essentially turns your device into an on-the-go IP phone that can sync contacts and call history, making it easier than ever before to do business from a cafe, an airport terminal, you name it.
Cloud UC may also have an impact on the VoIP market. TMR cited VoIP over cloud among the sources of forward momentum for the VoIP market. Unlike on-premises UC solutions, cloud UC, or UCaaS, is quick and easy to deploy and typically operates on a pay-per-user model. Cloud UC is also more conducive to the mobile-first world that looms just over the horizon.
VoIP has come a long way, and in many ways, Internet telephony has supplanted the use of traditional phone lines in the enterprise. It's too soon to tell if mobile VoIP will someday supplant traditional VoIP, but by all accounts thus far, the VoIP market is alive, well and even thriving.