Millions of people use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) every day. Skype is mentioned in conversation as casually as Twitter. So how come more people don’t understand what VoIP (and Skype) actually is?
Broadly defined, VoIP is a number of transmission technologies that deliver voice communication over the internet or other IP networks. But, don’t expect the average VoIP user to tell you this.
Let’s explore the three main reasons why people don’t understand VoIP.
1. There’s no need to know: This is probably the reason people don’t understand a lot of things. They don’t care because they don’t need to care. As far as they know VoIP is just a fancy way to make cheap phone calls. They don’t realize that VoIP is all around them and that, even without knowing it, they’ve most likely used it because a huge percentage of all phone calls travel along the IP network at some point.
But can you blame them Most people don’t care how their car works if it gets them from point A to point B. Even when the car breaks down, they just want to know who can fix it and for how much, not why it stopped running. The same goes for VoIP.
Most VoIP users know that they need an internet connection, but nothing more. When call quality worsens or outages occur, most don’t investigate why it’s happening. Like the typical driver whose car won’t start, they just want to know who can fix it.
2. Ads tell only part of the story: For the most part advertising does a poor job of explaining VoIP. Most ads are simple promotions for cheap phone rates and free features. For example, you would not know only from watching the countless Vonage ads that have run on TV over the years that VoIP is behind the cheap unlimited calling rates and features.
But, it’s hard to blame Vonage and other VoIP providers for not explaining the technology. There is no evil plot to keep the public uneducated about VoIP. If you are spending precious advertising dollars trying to sell a VoIP service, would you try to explain what exactly VoIP is? The technical details are best left to be explained once you’ve cantacted a sales representative on the phone.
3. Change is scary: Let’s be real, people don’t like the unfamiliar, and VoIP is still new. It took decades from the time Alexander Graham Bell made the world’s first phone call in 1876 for there to be a telephone in the majority of homes. It was only about 15 years ago that the first Internet phone software was created. It’s no wonder that VoIP isn’t the norm yet, much less understood.
Will most people ever get what VoIP actually is? Will VoIP knowledge ever proliferate through the masses? Probably not. The best thing to do is continue educating, one person at a time.
Or not. VoIP works either way.