Research into the industry has shown that the popularity of IP telephony, which is also known as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), is growing fast.
VoIP is becoming more important in the business world, with organisations of all shapes and sizes deciding to migrate from older analogue telephony services to a digital alternative which is more affordable, flexible and convenient.
Infonetics Research has established the growth of IP telephony in recent months by looking at the sales of equipment which facilitates this type of service.
Spokesperson Matthias Maschowinski said that investment in VoIP hardware can be traced back over the past 24 months, with 2011 being a crunch year for the market during which both voice and video conferencing handled over a network connection became much more common in the mainstream market.
While pure demand is driving the uptake of IP telephony equipment, Mr Maschowinski believes that there are a number of distinct factors which are all helping to push VoIP services to the top of the business agenda.
On a basic level, the introduction of IP-based voice and video conferencing is allowing companies to access resources which were previously unavailable. While in the past it was often necessary to send employees on expensive courses which would also require them to spend time away from the office and travel long distances, services such as tele-learning are reducing the need to physically attend these kinds of event.
The result of this is lower costs to the company and improved productivity. It also increases job satisfaction for individual employees and gives them a more flexible set of working conditions than ever before.
Another benefit of IP telephony on which businesses are focusing is the improved quality of the voice and video feeds thanks to the increased bandwidth available. Companies feel confident when they get in touch with customers, clients and business partners via voice or video because things will not only look and sound better over VoIP, but there is also a much lower chance of suffering from a dropped connection. This improved reliability has greatly enhanced the experience for business users.
Infonetics Research found that in 2011 there was significant growth in the number of companies that were investing in IP telephony imbedded in a PBX solution. The market expanded by 80 per cent year on year, which suggests that while companies are keen to move away from traditional solutions and adopt VoIP services, they still want to benefit from a manageable in-house PBX set-up which is future proof as well as being backwards compatible with older equipment.
Analysts found that IP telephony was favoured because it offered a winning proposition of lower costs combined with an uncomplicated integration into the internal infrastructure which is already in place in most businesses. Usually a technological leap forward requires that all of the old equipment is thrown out and new kit is installed at great expense. However, IP telephony is far more sensitive to the needs of businesses and as such does not lead to expensive upfront costs which might otherwise stifle thoughts of adoption.
Analysts believe that upwards of £14 billion will be spent by businesses across the world by the year 2016 in order to develop IP telephony and video-conferencing services. This figure may seem high but given the trillion-dollar nature of the IT industry as a whole, it is really not excessive. However, the low-cost, scalable nature of VoIP services means that companies can be frugal with their spending while still keeping pace with the rest of the market, providing the best of both worlds in these times of economic difficulty.