Voice over IP (or VoIP as it is colloquially referred to) is a technology that allows for the transmission of voice communications over the Internet. Prior to the application of VoIP, voice communications were sent out exclusively over phone lines.
VoIP communication came in to mass-market use in 2004, coinciding with the widespread market permeation of broadband Internet. Faster connection speeds and greater accessibility lent itself to the cultivation of a multitude of technologies that utilized Internet protocols in non-traditional ways that allowed for the expansion of communication capabilities. Prior to the cultivation of IP programs like Skype, communications services were relegated to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to transmit and process telephonic transmissions.
Interactive voice response applications typically involve mechanized telephonic exchanges automated by a markup language (typically VoiceXML) that allows data transmission and exchanges between two parties. These call flows can be used to route customers to additional IVR applications or connect them with live agents who can further assist them with matters beyond an automated systems’ capabilities.
Prior to VoIP integration, IVR systems and applications ran on either PTSNs externally or private branch exchange networks that were implemented internally. With the widespread integration of VoIP into standard Internet protocols, IVR systems can now operate on PBXs, the PTSN or VoIP networks.
There are several benefits of using VoIP protocols to automate telephonic exchanges. In general, there are bandwidth savings if you use certain protocols for encoding audio. A packet switch is cheaper than a circuit switch, and it offers more bandwidth overall.
Companies operating in the telephonic space were often times required to purchase both data and voice T1 lines, but now instead of buying both types of lines, companies only need purchase data T1s since most come equipped with voice functionality as well. This Telco-IT convergence can yield extensive savings on both the developer and the client side, as the necessary hardware costs are minimized and systems can function at a higher level with much less infrastructure in place.
In addition, developers can gain virtually unlimited access to source code because it is all open source on VoIP, making technological advancement substantially more swift and succinct. VoIP offers maximum scaling capabilities because you can rely on Internet protocols, as opposed to being restricted to finite PCI slots that hardware is wired for. This also lends itself to denser deployments because VoIP yields expanded technological capacity and increases total processing power. Additionally, VoIP servers allow for increased capacity, as there are many more ports available as a backbone for voice communications.
One final advantage to utilizing VoIP technology is that it minimizes power consumption and allows for processing power decrease by improving efficiency and utilizing less energy. The green aspects of VoIP will be discussed in a future article.