Next week we will look at three of the most popular conference call platforms allowing for online communication and collaboration: Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
But a discussion on this requires an understanding of the technology that makes it possible and how this technology has shot to popularity over the last few years.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP or VoIP) is technology that enables the transmission of voice and multimedia content over the Internet or other IP-based networks. Put simply, VOIP allows you to make phone calls and conduct voice communication using the same networks that you use for browsing the internet and sending emails.
An example of a platform that uses this, familiar to everyone, is WhatsApp.
Traditional phone calls rely on a fixed line through copper wire. So, you can see why the convenience of mobile technology is rapidly replacing this.
In 2020, the Australian Media and Communications Authority (AMCA) reported that people using only a mobile phone to make calls in Australia had doubled from 29% in the 12 months to June 2015, to 60% in 2020.
In the USA the trend is more pronounced. In June 2023 the Washington Post reported that ‘barely a quarter of Americans still have landlines.’
The pandemic lockdowns accelerated the use of VOIP. Conference calls were the only way possible to escape the house and connect with loved ones and colleagues during our time of government-imposed incarceration.
You can’t help thinking whether it was all planned…
So, what’s the attraction with VOIP? Here are a few indications:
VOIP often costs less than traditional telephone services, especially for long-distance or international calls. Since VOIP uses the existing internet infrastructure, the additional costs are typically related to data usage rather than minutes or distance.
VOIP allows you to make calls from various devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and specialized VOIP phones. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can communicate using VOIP.
VOIP services often come with additional features like call forwarding, voicemail, caller ID, video conferencing, and instant messaging.
Since VOIP is not tied to a physical location like traditional landlines, you can take your VOIP-enabled device anywhere and make and receive calls as long as you have an internet connection.
VOIP can be integrated with other digital services, such as email and collaboration platforms. This integration can enhance communication and productivity.
VOIP systems can easily scale to accommodate growing communication needs, making it suitable for both individuals and businesses.
VOIP allows for international communication without the high costs associated with traditional international calling.
But it’s not all good news, as most of us in Papua New Guinea would be aware.
The challenges of VOIP
- requires a good internet connection;
- relies on a continuous power supply;
- can experience latency and jitter especially when there is network congestion and possibly bad weather;
- it may only be as good as the specific VOIP service being used.
That said, fixed landlines face similar issues and as there is more local administration and hardware involved, there is probably more that can go wrong. 😁
Next week: Skype v Microsoft Teams v Zoom.
Do you have any comments?
Return to our Facebook page to like this article or add your own comments: