Four VoIP trends to watch for in 2013

It’s that time of year again. We’ve rounded up the hottest VoIP trends that should be on your radar this year. Look for new technologies and old technologies to be applied in new ways in the coming months. This year we’ll see the role VoIP technology plays evolve into a more unified communication system. Companies who stand to integrate a VoIP strategy into traditional telecommunications will see real returns this year.

  1. The Growth of Mobile VoIP. In 2013, look for a dramatic shift in how voice traffic is carried with the rise of mobile VoIP applications. All around the world, our mobile phone either is now or is rapidly becoming our only phone. We expect to see VoIP start to displace mass market, legacy mobile voice infrastructures. A recent report from market research firm In-Stat estimates the total number of mobile VoIP users will reach 288 million by the end of 2013. Juniper Research has gone further, suggesting that Mobile VoIP users will reach 1 billion in the next five years. Improvements in network technology, increased competition and the move by telcos to join the Over the Top (OTT) market will all come together to give the mobile Internet voice market a major boost. For the first time, we’re seeing Skype competitors making headway in the consumer VoIP market. Mobile VoIP provider, Rebtel has now passed 20 million active users, with 2012 revenues of $80 million. The business of over-the-top telephony services will remain hot throughout 2013 with new companies nabbing business away from carriers by becoming users’ default mobile messaging service.
  2. Transitioning to the All IP Network. Back in November, AT&T; petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to plan for the retirement of traditional phone networks and transition to all-IP. This year, we can now agree that the change is inevitable. The communications market is very quickly evolving to a broadband, IP market where the traditional services simply become applications riding on an IP infrastructure. This new IP based trend has made the traditional regulatory approach completely outdated. “This telephone network we’ve grown up with is now an obsolete platform, or at least a rapidly obsolescing platform. It will not be sustainable for the indefinite future. Nobody’s making this network technology anymore. It’s become more and more difficult to find spare parts for it. And it’s becoming more and more difficult to find trained technicians and engineers to work on it.” —Hank Hultquist, VP of AT&T’s federal regulatory division Replacing the PSTN with IP communications networks will require trusted mechanisms for guaranteeing identity, reliable communications delivery and preserving privacy when needed. Building controls at IP borders will allow service providers and enterprises to build trusted networks that protect the IP that people truly care most about—their identity and their privacy.
  3. BYOD VoIP Fraud. VoIP fraud is a significant and growing problem in the telecommunications industry. Recent reports from the Communications Fraud Control Association suggest that phone fraud is growing at a rate of 29% per year. Even big names like Cisco aren’t safe from being hacked, as a recent scandal demonstrated. In the New Year, we will see a major growth in the need for VoIP fraud detection services. One trend to watch for is the growth of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) related VoIP Fraud. New research from BostInno shows at 57% of employees use personal devices for business purposes, regardless of whether their company supports BYOD. Experts agree that it’s not a matter of if but when consequences for inappropriate use of personal devices will surface, especially if there is no plan in place to accommodate such use. This practice leaves companies vulnerable to critical security risks. Any handset that you don’t have control over can be compromised. A single fraud event can easily cost a company between three and fifty thousand dollars. In many cases, this number can be even larger. But simple solutions are already on the market that can detect, and even stop fraudulent activity over VoIP. Look for an announcement from TransNexus later this year about improvements to our innovative NexOSS and SDReporter fraud detection modules.
  4. VoIP in the Cloud. The time for dabbling in cloud computing is over, say industry analysts. 2013 is the year that companies will commit to implementing a cloud strategy. Within most enterprises, IP PBX, and unified communications (UC) servers will vanish from enterprise premise since it doesn’t matter where servers physically reside in IP networks. Networks offering high bandwidth, quality of service (QoS), identity, and privacy assurances will become even more critical for ensuring high-quality, highly available and trusted services.