Recent studies by Transparency Market Research are reporting growth projections in the global VoIP market from $70.9 billion (2013) to $136.76 billion (2020).

The wonderful world of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) opens up endless collaboration possibilities that embrace mobility and Bring-Your-Own Device (BYOD). VoIP allows businesses to operate their Unified Communications (UC) platforms with incredible capabilities. The employee can now perform such acrobatics as making calls directly from the email inbox with the ability to transcribe the call; have voicemails transcribed and sent to email, have emails converted to voice files and sent to voicemail. Collaboration goes to new levels with VoIP and UC in the enterprise.

VoIP is still an emerging technology that offers today’s business environment several advantages, such as advanced communication technologies and the potential for deep cost cutting. The fact that VOIP is still evolving may be a contributor to it not being well understood.

Industry insiders are suggesting that in just a couple years at least 75% of new offices won’t ever use the hard phone and the public switched telephone network (PSTN). In its place will be VoIP, with heavy reliance on the personal computer as a soft phone with a VoIP client, or mobile phone technology that will act in the same way as your desk phone once you leave the desk. These same analysts are predicting that the norm for interactions will become video plus screen sharing hence the growth of VoIP in this scenario.

If this is true, what will the office space of the future function like and what will offices of today have to do to optimize migrations to a VoIP system, or to improve an existing one, in order to be as technologically savvy as a new office of the future?

The reality is that while VoIP represents a marked improvement to today’s office place, and has many benefits, many businesses have yet to institute it completely for any number of reasons. Reluctance to abandon hard phones completely, due to end-user attitudes and work methods, or just the uncertainty of what would happen in the event of a total network outage, feed into the fear of a total change to VoIP. So while new businesses in the coming years may feel more bold towards adapting a completely VoIP system, the majority of offices will probably be a hybrid of softphones, deskphones, and cloud-based services, operating to enhance employee collaboration while managing costs (as UC teams work to manage support for these multiple devices). In that sense, the office of the future is already here.