Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone services are not just growing technologically, but they are growing in variety of usage as well. As VoIP becomes more popular, subscribers in the residential and business VoIP markets keep finding new ways to use VoIP services.
VoIP is so popular because it’s a cheaper, better phone system that comes with more included features than landline features are ever willing to offer. Because VoIP calls convert traditional analog signals into highly compressed packets of digital information, calls that take up very little bandwidth can be transferred through the Internet. Consumers are using this core concept, along with features like softphone and IP video chat, to improve communications in more aspects of everyday life than ever before.
Hardcore computer gamers have shifted their focus onto VoIP services, and especially softphones. The term "softphone" is a combination of "software" and "telephone," and is used to describe VoIP services that use a computer to make calls, and obviate the need for an actual handset. Online gamers have particularly picked up on this feature because VoIP uses so little bandwidth that they can run it simultaneously with their multiplayer games that don’t otherwise have voice communication.
With VoIP, it doesn’t matter if the game came with a way to communicate or not, because users can simply map their VoIP service to a keyboard shortcut and start giving orders to their teammates. Since in-network VoIP-to-VoIP calling is free with virtually all providers, gamers don’t pay a penny past their monthly rate for the privilege of trash-talking their opponents.
VoIP also makes working from home much easier and more productive. Businesses with telecommuters will appreciate the fact that employee’s homes can be integrated into the company’s internal calling network, and as mentioned before, these calls are free.
IP video services also make telecommuting easier for employees because they can still have clear and reliable face-to-face communication for company meetings. When combined with low international rates, telecommuters are even closing business deals with overseas clients, all from the comfort of their favorite armchair.
Smartphones have also revolutionized the world of VoIP, because they are essentially pocket-sized computers with an Internet connection, a speaker, and a microphone. This sounds a lot like a smartphone if you ask me, and consumers seem to agree. More and more often, people are paying for less minutes and more data, and then using a third-party VoIP client to make cheap VoIP calls.
Mobile VoIP services are useful for both the residential and business consumers, because the rich features included with service transform a cell phone into a fully-featured office phone system, complete with call waiting, forwarding, and even music on hold.