When did you first start using VoIP? Were you using it for personal reasons or for commercial use? Since VoIP first came onto the scene in the late 1990s, it has evolved tremendously to include a variety of capabilities that it wouldn’t have otherwise had. VoIP has changed from a casual way to call long-distance friends for free via the internet into the future of office communication.

As a VoIP integrator in Chicago, Medlin Communications has been able to watch its evolution over the thirty years we’ve been in business. Keep reading to learn more about how VoIP started, where it’s headed, and how that impacts your business.

Ready to get the right system installed? Get a free spec and quote for your  project.

In the Beginning

VoIP was first developed by a company called VocalTec as a way to get around long-distance phone calls. After patenting the audio technology that made VoIP possible, VocalTec developed the first internet phone, which was a spinoff of “audible chats” that could be held online.

At first, these inventions were focused on consumer capabilities. They were inexpensive ways to have long-distance phone calls and communicate with friends. However, due to its status as a new technology, there were plenty of bugs in the software. Poor call quality and lost connections created a difficult experience for customers.

Due to the communication bugs and difficult usage, by the end of 1998, VoIP accounted for less than one percent of all phone calls.

VoIP Becomes Accessible

The advent of Skype marked a big change in the world of VoIP integrators in Chicago. Skype was the first platform to truly create good quality phone calls over the internet that was free and easy to use. The new VoIP platform was first released in 2003, at which point the percentage of VoIP phone calls increased to nearly 25 percent. Skype was the first VoIP platform to not only combine voice calling over the internet for free or extremely low cost but also included instant messaging and group calls.

Skype gained popularity among consumers for its ability to connect people cheaply and replace costly text messaging. By 2005, Skype had introduced video chat as well, which skyrocketed its popularity and truly brought it to the forefront of the field. As a VoIP integrator in Chicago, we started to notice its prevalence on the communications scene and its potential for business communications.

Businesses Start to Turn to VoIP

In the early 2000s, other companies began to jump on the VoIP bandwagon. Soon IP phones were beginning to move into offices. Unlimited domestic calling was provided for one flat rate and several different integrations for VoIP into an office evolved as well. Now users could connect their VoIP system directly to the ethernet, use an analog telephone adapter, or install an app directly onto their computer.

It wasn’t until the 2010s that businesses truly began to use VoIP exclusively. Companies can now choose between cloud-based platforms or on-premise hardware to use internet phone calls. As a VoIP integrator in Chicago, we’ve had enough experience with both to understand the best ways to integrate VoIP with different office networks.

After Skype was acquired by Microsoft in 2011, Microsoft began to combine Skype’s VoIP capabilities with its other products. This led to the creation of things like Microsoft Teams, which combines group chat, video, VoIP, email, and more. Products like Microsoft Teams began to truly turn the workplace into a digital environment.

The Rise of Integrated Communication Platforms

Communication platforms are slowly becoming more and more integrated, and VoIP systems are no exception.

With the rise of VoIP systems, disparate platforms will slowly merge into one unified communication center. For example, Medlin Elevate Unified Communications brings together phone systems, mobile networks, desktops, video conferencing, screen sharing, remote office work and more in one seamlessly integrated system.

Another example is Avaya IP Office which is not an ordinary phone system. It simplifies communications by providing remote capabilities, unified communications, and countless add-on software packages as either premise based or cloud based solutions.

[Wait] -> Are you using technology to support and grow your business? You  should be.

Avaya software packages provide robust tools that provide detailed call reporting, all-in-one integrated video, voice, and chat communication, screen sharing, and more.

Things have drastically changed as the days of a phone operator have evolved into taking calls directly through your computer. Products such as Elevate and Avaya are transforming office’s digital structure, continuing the charge in VoIP systems evolution.

VoIP Takes Your Office Digital

Gone are the days where an employee has to be in an office in order to collaborate with coworkers. VoIP has changed the office landscape to include digital communication and collaboration hubs that allow employees to work together no matter where they are in the world. As VoIP has evolved from leaving choppy voicemails to complete digital communication, it will continue to evolve until new emerging technologies make working from home just as good as working from the office.

As a VoIP integrator in Chicago, Medlin Communications has seen VoIP develop over the years into what it is today. It would be foolish to believe that it will stop here. We believe in planning for the future. We help our customers create future-proof VoIP systems by working with cutting-edge products, staying on top of the latest developments in VoIP technology, and performing a customized ROI analysis on premise-based and cloud solutions to determine the best option for your business now and in the years to come.

The most future proof system is one that works well for your company and can scale with you as you grow. We walk through VoIP installation step-by-step to customize a solution that works for you and your company. Voice. Data. CRM. It’s all converging into one centralized Hub and it’s only going to get more mobile from here.

At Medlin, we’re ready. Are you?