The Rapid Adoption of VOIP
VOIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol, is a technology that has taken the web community by storm. While there are many people who still have not heard of this powerful tool, it is very likely that it will be commonly used in the near future. For those of you who are not familiar with the subject, VOIP is a tool that I believe is the replacement of current telecommunications technologies. It basically allows users to make phone calls over the Internet without having to use either a standard phone line or a cell phone. The voice of the caller will be digitized and transferred over the net. While there are some latency issues that may occur, it is very likely that VOIP services will be greatly enhanced in the future.
One of the most well known VOIP companies is Vonage. They are one of the few companies that actually run commecials on television. However, they are just one of the many VOIP companies that are offering their services over the web. This technology is revolutionary for a number of reasons. First, it allows small businesses to compete against large corporations in the telecommunications industry. In the past, this was nearly impossible to do. A few large conglomerates like Ma Bell owned all the phone lines, and anyone who wanted to compete had to go through them. In most cases, Ma Bell could force out any competition they encountered.
This led to a market that was dominated by only a few companies. Making telephone calls was expensive, and the service was less than desirable. It was common for people to run into billing problems with the company. The introduction of VOIP has changed this forever. Small businesses can now offer communication services to their customers, and it can be done for a very low cost. Twenty years ago, making a phone call to a foreign country could cost as much as $15 dollars a minute or more. People are now able to make telephone calls over the Internet to any location in the world for less than $30 per month. Not only is the VOIP industry a threat to standard phone lines, which have largely been replaced, it is also a threat to the cell phone industry, which is currently dominating the market.
I firmly believe that VOIP like services will eventually weaken the traditional cell phone market. Why is this? Because as the Internet becomes more wireless, devices will be designed to seamlessly function with it. Instead of using radio waves to transmit phone calls through the use of a cell phone tower, people will be able to make a wireless connection the the Internet and use it to make calls around the world. While most people are paying about $60 per month for their cell phone service, the prices would drop substantially if phone calls could be made over the Internet instead. While there is no guarantee that this scenario will occur in the future, it is likely that the Internet will continue to facilitate the advancement of the communications industry.
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