BT projects that the current on-premise telephone system will be taken over by hosted VoIP (voice over IP) and unified communications, spelling the death of the landline number.
John Carter, MD at telecoms firm DMSL, which also owns hosted VoIP provider Cloud Telephones, says that landline telephone numbers will be replaced by IP addresses in ten years' time.
"By 2025 BT has broadcast they will no longer supply traditional ISDN lines," he said. "It will just be fibre and through IP or through WiFi. Telephone numbers will go.
"The on-premise old telephone system will be taken over by hosted VOIP. We’re seeing that and it’s being led by the input of fibre and better connectivity."
Paul Gibson, sales director at Cloud Telephones, added: "The tipping point at the minute is expected to be 2018, when the sales of IP telephony will outsell traditional phone systems.
"If you’re a business buying a telephone system now, the forecast end of life is only ten years away. And this is the great opportunity for IT resellers to take the message to their customers: Why would you buy an outdated phone system? It’s like buying a black and white TV when you know colour TVs are around."
At the moment a landline office number can be linked to a mobile phone using hosted VoIP, so for example if a call is made from the paired mobile to another smartphone, the second phone will think the call is coming from an office, not a mobile.
However, while this makes it possible for people to use other numbers to mask where they’re physically calling from, Carter says it won't be a security issue.
"It won't, because the telephone numbers will go - it will be purely over VoIP," he said. "There won’t be a telephone number in the future. When I’m ringing you, it’s from an IP address. We had a reseller ask us : 'The reason I won’t do it is because what happens if someone hacks it and our customer is left with a huge bill?'
The answer is – they can, but it’s protected. Gamma will absolutely protect you if there’s a hack."
Elsewhere, mobile and telecom body The GSMA is in talks with manufacturers like Apple and Samsung to abolish physical SIM cards, which could see electronic SIM cards introduced instead.
The FT reports this type of electronic SIM card can be embedded into a smartphone and reprogrammed remotely to work with any applicable mobile operators.
But the electronic SIM is not expected to replace the Apple Sim, a piece of plastic that could be included in the iPhone 7 and beyond.
Read the upcoming August issue of PCR for a more in-depth interview with Cloud Telephones
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