The History and Future of VoIP (Part 1)

Whenever we adopt new technology into our lives or businesses, it sometimes helps to create context. In other words, when we understand how and why the technology evolved, we have a better idea of how we can use it to our advantage. For Orange County business owners, switching to VoIP might seem like little more than finding a cheaper way to have phone service. But when you know where VoIP came from and where it is going, you might begin to see numerous ways you can use the technology to make your business more competitive. Let’s take a quick look at how VoIP technology developed and where many experts believe it is going in the next few years.

Precursors to VoIP

VoIP is short for “Voice over Internet Protocol,”—but the idea of sending voice signals between computers pre-dates the Internet itself. The precursor for today’s Internet was a research project by the Defense Department called ARPANET, developed in 1969 as a way for military computers to communicate with each other remotely. For the next two decades or so, the ARPANET network was mainly used to connect computers across research-heavy institutions. In 1973, MIT successfully transmitted the first “voice packets” over the network, and in 1978, researchers at USC developed the first phone service over ARPANET. Then, as the Internet began to evolve during the 1980s, a developer named Brian C. Wiles created RASCAL in 1989, a rudimentary software program designed to let gamers talk to each other over their phone modems. All these developments set the stage for today’s VoIP.

The Emergence of VoIP

The first appearance of VoIP as we know it came from a company called VocalTec in 1995, which released InternetPhone, a system by which two parties using the same software could communicate by voice over their computer speakers. Not long after, VocalTec began expanding its features, developing an Internet voicemail feature, computer-to-phone, and phone-to-phone Internet capabilities—demonstrating that VoIP could ultimately be used for more than just vocal communications. Over the next decade, VoIP technology would explode and enjoy widespread use, especially as broadband Internet became faster and more efficient.

To learn more about how today’s VoIP systems can benefit your Orange County business, call 1-877-NetServ today.