Recently Facebook announced adding a VoIP feature to their app, meaning Facebook will allow free calls over the internet to its users. This isn’t out in the UK just yet, but will no doubt be rolled out internationally in due course.
On 16th January, Facebook added a free voice calling feature to its iOS Messenger app in the US. They offered no additional details as to when the feature would be available on other operating systems or when it would launch internationally.
So what impact could this have on technology? The biggest consideration here is the sheer size of Facebook – with over a billion members (over half of which use it on a mobile device), the site has one of the largest customer bases in the world. If the business model is constructed properly, then the product may well overtake the success of Skype.
With the ever-increasing blurring effect between business and home technology, we predict that an app such as this will quickly be adopted for business use. BYOD is one of the main culprit of this – workers using their personal equipment (such as smart phones) for work. This allows for a certain amount of overlap between work and personal habits.
Facebook in itself is a great example of this; originally intended as a social media tool for Harvard students to communicate online, it is now used by businesses for marketing as well as personal use. Either way, it’s not hard to make the leap between business VoIP in the office and Facebook VoIP on your smartphone.
As it is now, it’s difficult to tell how successful Facebook VoIP will be – particularly as we have no timescale as to when it will be available to android users everywhere. But it certainly has potential due to its possible customer reach.
What is now just a seed could grow in just a few short years into the most prominent VoIP service in the world. In the meantime, it will at least further raise the popularity of VoIP in the mainstream domain.