Technologies are evolving so rapidly that making predictions of trends would be a challenging task. Nonetheless, it worth taking a peek inside the crystal ball and see what the future portends for IP PBX.
Rise of the session manager
Typical IP PBX software is based on VoIP with architecture comprised of softphones or IP phones relating to IP PBX server. The architecture was born of necessity since, in the early days, PSTN ruled and it was necessary to follow a similar model with IP being the transport mechanism. The future will see the rise of IP session manager with multi-media functionalities, not just voice and that leads us to WebRTC.
WebRTC to the forefront
More and more small, medium and larger enterprises are likely to switch to session based or hosted IP PBX that have WebRTC in the forefront, not an add-on to the IP PBX software. WebRTC has been around for some time and currently, it is offered as integration to PBX software. WebRTC permits browser-based audio and video chats and conferencing. Including IP PBX features like call transfer, click to call and other IP PBX features should not be mission impossible. It depends on how developers take IP PBX solutions in this direction by offering custom WebRTC clients with IP PBX features. Mobile integration becomes standard and so does UC in the time to come.
Similarly in communications, what we will eventually have is a common-services layer for things like presence and user identity, some of which will be shared with other applications. A set of platforms will sit above this layer—perhaps one for voice, one for video, one for social media—with a higher-level, abstraction layer for the middleware functionality. In fact,
AI, IoT, Hosted
These are the tech buzzwords and affect IP PBX software too. The future is likely to see the rise of more intelligent IP PBX software that will recognize voice commands – the same way your smartphone does—and initiates a call. It may even give feedback, or, if endowed with enough AI, take care of routine chats like a secretary does and switch the line over to his human master, drawing inspiration from smart IVRs. Then think of a scenario in which a manager wishes to call the shop floor to know the status of a machine. IoT could enter into an alliance with IP PBX with bi-directional communication. Since the cloud will be looming larger then ever on everyone’s IT horizons, naturally you will expect IP PBX to be available as a hosted solution.
Possibly, IP PBX, which operates in a separate SIP world, could change. A common service layer could provide functions like user authentication at one layer, voice video and social media at another layer and middleware functionality. It is an interesting time for IP PBX. It could be mutating and the far future could see the present IP PBX rendered obsolete much like PSTN and give rise to something more coherent in communications.