VoIP is everywhere today. In fact, whether or not they have ever heard of VoIP, most people have used VoIP once or twice (or maybe many times) without realizing it. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is quite simply a technology that allows voice data to be sent over the Internet.
Many people get confused because they don’t quite understand what VoIP means. VoIP is not a company or a website or even a brand name. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a general name for a type of technology that allows users to send voice data over an Internet connection.
VoIP has all kinds of applications, and there are lots of companies that sell products related to VoIP. Probably the most popular VoIP platforms in public use today are Skype and Google Talk. These platforms, owned by Microsoft and Google respectively, are widely employed for free video and voice chatting. But these two platforms, while by far the most widely known VoIP services, are not necessarily the best for everyone. They certainly aren’t the most fully-featured.
The most apparent way that VoIP is employed in the public sphere is through VoIP Internet phone service. Skype and Google Talk are both platforms for free Internet phone service. With these kinds of services, customers need to have a “handle” with that specific company. For example, with Skype, customers need to log in with an email address and then make a Skype user name. With Google Talk, users just use their gmail account to call other people with gmail accounts. Customers can also use Google Talk to call regular phone numbers for free from their PCs. This limited free-use Internet phone service doesn’t give a very good impression of the full range of capabilities available with VoIP technology.
Most people have used one of those services at some point to talk to family, friends, potential employers, co-workers, etc. But this is not the limit of VoIP applications. Here are some of the coolest ways you might see VoIP technology show up in the real world:
One of the coolest things about online gaming is that it has led to the creation of small communities, something that older gaming platforms couldn’t achieve. Today, online gamers can play in virtual platforms against people who live on the other side of the world. And in online role playing games, gamers can build teams with other gamers. These teams can be fairly large, and can be composed of gamers living all over the world.
VoIP has made this kind of gaming feasible. Online real-time gaming uses VoIP technology to allow players to communicate directly with each other as they play. This is why all online gamers wear headsets when they play.
One study reports that in all, the video game industry is worth some $74 billion worldwide, and is expected to rise about $100 billion by 2015. In large part, this massive growth in the video game industry is due to the advent of mobile gaming technologies, and mobile gaming technologies have been massively improved by VoIP.
Military and Government VoIP
The US military employees VoIP in all kinds of ways. VoIP is a very secure means of transferring voice data and many branches of the government and military use VoIP for their internal telephone services. Military telephone communications have some of the highest requirements for secure networks, and VoIP has stood up to these requirements.
However, conversely, it is also becoming easier for security agencies like the FBI and CIA to use VoIP wiretapping in the defense of homeland security. In recent months, there have been several reports issued on developments in the world of VoIP that have made it easier for government agencies to improve surveillance of VoIP calls without putting VoIP clients at risk. Several companies have recently released patents specifically designed to give police agencies the ability to investigate VoIP calls.
Military families are also benefitting from VoIP’s rise in popularity. It can be hard for soldiers to stay in contact with their families overseas, but secure VoIP networks make it easy for soldiers to enjoy video chatting with their faraway families.
And families stationed overseas with service members have found that VoIP service is an excellent choice for phone service. For these families, most of their friends and relatives live back in the US, so they want cheap and regular phone service with the people they left at home. VoIP service provides extremely cheap rates on international calling, often as low as $0.01/minute, and sometimes free.
Military families may also need to relocate regularly as their service member gets reassigned. It is easy for VoIP customers to bring their phone service with them every time they move without worry of extra fees or technical difficulties.
Landline and Mobile VoIP
VoIP isn’t just a service for the PC. With the latest in VoIP technology, it is easy for people to get setup with a VoIP service for their regular landline phone. VoIP service providers offer plans for residential VoIP and business VoIP so customers can implement VoIP phone solutions for their landline phones both at work and at home.
Residential services usually cost around $5/month, and business services cost around $20/month per extension. When compared with traditional telephone services, this can add up to savings of over 80% on customers’ phone bills.
Customers aren’t tied to your PC anymore when they use paid VoIP services for regular phone service. Customers can make calls from any phone, not just from the computer. And VoIP technologies for mobile phones are continuing to improve all the time. Now, people can use mobile VoIP from any smartphone or tablet as long as they have access to the Internet. This means that with VoIP service, customers can save money on home phone calls, work calls, and calls from mobile phones. Every time customers use a mobile VoIP app instead of cell minutes, they can save a lot of money.