VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and encompasses a number of different technologies and ways to communicate. It has existed for a number of years, but really started to gain steam around 2004 when tech like Skype started to become popular. If you have used Skype or Google Voice before, you have experienced one form of VoIP. Another early and popular provider of VoIP for the residential space was Vonage. Since then, most service providers have set up their networks to handle VoIP, and often run even the older analog lines through their VoIP data cabling.
In the corporate space, many of the leading telecommunications companies have been pushing VoIP technology forward and pioneering new features and ways to use it. These companies have created full phone systems that operate on VoIP connections that provide the same, or often better, experience that the old analog and digital systems provided. From a user end stand point, its familiar and natural to use. From a technical stand point, its quite different, but it is much easier to learn how to service and implement than previous types of systems, though it comes with its own challenges.
VoIP has recently been synonymous with Cloud, but that is not the case. VoIP just means that you are running your voice service over the internet, but your phone system can still be located on your physical premises. Cloud on the other hand means that you phone system is hosted offsite, meaning only the phones and your internet switches and equipment are at your location. Both of these options have their ups and downs, but in effect, at least for the users, the experience remains essentially the same.
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