Industry Outlook: the Forecast for VoIP in 2021
The global market for VoIP has exploded in the last few decades, driven by more and more advanced business technology and an increasingly digital world. According to Researchmoz, the VoIP market will be worth as much as $1.3 billion by 2025, driven by cost savings, compliance, and ease of installation among other factors.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 caused a significant downturn in the industry as offices and hotels closed all over the world, the industry as a whole is poised to bounce back stronger than ever. Looking forward, here are some of the VoIP trends we’re keeping an eye on.
Wide Adoption of 5G
5G networks are still in their infancy, but wide adoption should catch on quickly. 5G should enable faster connection speeds, better response rates, more reliable calling, and increased network capacities, and VoIP providers are scrambling to incorporate the benefits of 5G into their systems.
As of 2019, many major VoIP operators have incorporated 5G compatibility into their networks, and the number of subscribers is expected to hit more than 600 million worldwide by the end of 2021.
AI For Customer Service
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a slight misnomer, since there doesn’t yet exist a truly artificial intelligence, but evolving algorithms and machine learning are beginning to get close. These algorithms already inform much of our interaction with the internet, like product suggestions on retail sites and the order of social media posts, and we anticipate that AI will continue to grow in the realm of VoIP.
AI chatbots can help consumers with basic questions at any hour of the day without the need for a human service representative. It can also analyze your service interactions across channels, helping you optimize workflows and phone trees. Many consumers have begun to expect chatbots and other AI elements in business, so VoIP providers will start incorporating them to keep up.
Growth of UCaaS
UCaaS (unified communications as a service) is simply another term for cloud-based phone infrastructures. There are pros and cons to hosting your own communications infrastructure, but in the majority of cases, a remotely-hosted telephone network is much more efficient, upgradeable, and cost-effective than hosting your own.
Increased Emphasis on Mobility
The COVID-19 pandemic drove home the importance of mobility — with businesses unable to run out of their corporate offices as usual, the need for a seamless transition to a remote model was paramount.
VoIP systems can be instrumental in facilitating a more mobile approach to communications. Rather than tying one phone number to a specific jack in the wall, that number can be forwarded to any phone number, anywhere in the world. Service people can answer calls from off-site, managers can roam freely while staying in touch, and communication will be faster and more efficient.
VoIP Integration With IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly, with 22 billion connected devices in 2018 and a projected 50 billion by 2030. As the popularity of smart lights, thermostats, switches, door locks, and more continues to grow, customers will begin to expect IoT devices in every hotel room.
VoIP and IoT are a perfect match. Companies can set up smart offices, monitor data like occupancy and energy usage from a central database, and offer more sophisticated functionalities to their guests.
The Decline in Analog Telephones
Analog telephones have been declining for decades now, and we expect that trend to continue. According to Statista, landline usage has dropped by nearly two-thirds since 2004, supplanted by mobile phones and VoIP systems with much more flexibility and functionality.
Businesses know that their customers communicate in a wide variety of methods and are eager to keep up with the shifting landscape of communication by incorporating texting, online check-ins, and mobile apps into their technology offerings. Single-purpose, analog phone lines are on the way out.
Hotels are notoriously slow to adapt to new technology, but it’s becoming increasingly untenable to stay stuck in the past. If your hotel is still using analog phone systems to handle internal and external calls, now is the time to upgrade.