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More Businesses Embracing OTT VoIP to Create Office of the Future

July 20, 2015

Companies today are minding the bottom line more than ever before. Since telecommunications bills are a significant expense for most companies, it’s no surprise that more organizations would choose to embrace voice over IP (VoIP). In recent years, many organizations have scrapped their traditional long-distance service and replaced it with an Internet business telecom system based on voice over IP. While the cost savings have been significant – about 50 percent, Gartner has estimated – many companies are looking for more, and they are turning to free or very low-cost solutions that can be found with overt-the-top (OTT) applications such as Skype.

OTT communications involve making calls over the Internet without paying someone for dedicated telephony lines. In fact, when users tap OTT applications in public Wifi hotspots, for example, the cost to the caller is zero. While this may be irritating traditional telephony providers, there’s not a lot they can do about. When AT&T first launched its Apple iPhone, the company tried to impose a restriction on VoIP services over its 3G network. Outrage from users and pressure from the FCC caused AT&T to drop the restriction. There truly is nothing stopping users of OTT services going forward, and OTT is coming to the workplace.


Software Advice, an online hub for VoIP software reviews, recently surveyed workplace users of OTT apps to help businesses decide whether they should embrace open-source and freemium solutions, or seek out more robust paid communications solutions. It’s not just traditional telephone service providers whose business models are having to change because of OTT use…it’s also wireless carriers.

“VoIP has also begun replacing cellular voice services,” according to the Software Advice report. “The maturation of 3G, 4G and LTE data networks has made it much more feasible to transmit calls over wireless data networks versus cellular networks. Analysts predict that by 2017, one in seven subscribers to mobile voice services will use VoIP instead of cellular service.”

While larger companies may choose the more formal structure, greater feature set and better security of business VoIP solutions – Microsoft’s recently released Skype for Business, an adaptation of its former Lync solution – smaller companies are finding the sky’s the limit without cutting telecom expenses for not only phone calls, but also text and instant messaging, which the report found were the most-used OTT solutions in the workplace, used daily by 82 percent and 73 percent of respondents, respectively.

The preparation for the mobile office based on low-cost VoIP applications may become even more critical in the future as more companies move to virtual working and meeting, and so-called “smart technology” that will allow users to collaborate using virtual desktop technologies. While workers are still somewhat limited in how much work they can do over a mobile device, these barriers are likely to disappear in the years to come, according to a recent study conducted by Samsung for its Smarter Futures series and highlighted by the Web site Enterprise Apps Tech. Samsung has said its predictions don’t include eliminating formal offices altogether, but suing smart technology to transition business communications to create a more collaborative environment.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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