What does 2024 hold for VoIP and digital voice calling?
2023 has been a year of intensive speculation in the tech sector that has left many businesses anticipating the arrival of a new generation of technologically advanced software tools. Some will be old, familiar apps with improved functionality. Others will be new, introducing capabilities that were hitherto unachievable. With 2024 beckoning, we zero in on three trends that are likely to characterise VoIP.
1. Deeper integration between VoIP and other business software tools
Since its earliest beginnings, VoIP has delivered value, and this continues as it evolves. Many features that were once considered state-of-the-art, and reserved for the largest enterprises are now affordably within the reach of even SOHO businesses.
VoIP remains a pillar among today’s digital technologies, and it will continue to evolve in the future. AI opens up a seemingly infinite world of possibilities for enhancing the capabilities of SaaS applications.
For 2024, expect increased integration between VoIP and other enterprise systems. The biggest benefits are likely to be seen as a result of artificial intelligence (AI) enhancements. Generally, this will result in more efficient business operations. Consider these two examples:
- Greater VoIP integration with business applications: VoIP platforms will integrate more deeply with CRM, ERP, and other business applications, streamlining workflows and providing contextual information during voice calls. This enables more effective communication and accelerates productivity.
- AI-powered VoIP transcription and translation: A VoIP system integrated with AI-powered transcription and translation could break down language barriers during meetings and conference calls between participants who do not share a common language. This would allow all stakeholders to participate fully in discussions, regardless of their native language.
2. Potential to use AI-enhanced VoIP IVR to manage inbound calls
As AI continues to transform many areas, expect VoIP telephony Interactive Voice Response (IVR) features to become more sophisticated. Ultimately, this enables IVR to feel less automated by being conversational. It does this by using voice chatbots instead of recorded messages to interact in real-time with callers when picking up and directing an inbound enquiry.
However, with AI-generated voice responses, callers may feel a little disadvantaged. No matter how well trained, AI is still just a machine and is unable to ‘feel’ human emotion or truly empathise with a caller’s situation.
Other downsides that may negatively reflect on businesses using AI voice chatbots include a limited capability in handling complex issues, and the potential for miscommunication and misunderstanding caused by colloquial words or regional accents.
From the perspective of retention and churn, the danger is that customer experience becomes depersonalised, the antithesis of what good customer service is all about.
Looking at the bigger picture, ultimately, more than any other technological advance that has come before it, AI is a tool for social change. There are clear negative impacts and this increases the potential for an AI ’backlash’, and perhaps even social unrest.
3. Accelerated VoIP migration: Less than 2 years to ‘The Big Switch-Off’
The Big Switch-Off of legacy 2-wire and ISDN telecoms services in the UK and Ireland is now less than two years away. This means that businesses and consumers will need to switch to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) by the end of 2025.
There are many reasons why we are likely to see accelerated VoIP migration in 2024. First, businesses are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits of VoIP, such as its lower costs and increased flexibility. Second, the availability of high-speed broadband internet is making VoIP more accessible than ever before. Third, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a widespread acceptance of remote and hybrid working, which has increased the demand for VoIP solutions.
If your business is yet to migrate to VoIP, there are a number of things that you can do in preparation for the big switch-off. Firstly, assess your current telecoms needs so you can determine the best VoIP solution for the business. Secondly, you should start planning and budgeting for the migration. Thirdly, make sure you factor in all the elements necessary to choose a good B2B VoIP telecoms service provider.
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