"Today we dial; tomorrow we click," predicts Geoff Johnson, research vice-president at Gartner.
"Voice will be embedded in everything and mobility will be crucial. Calls will be made by clicking through a document or an email rather than dialling a number."
Clicking for calls will cut costs by 15-30%, estimates Gartner. VoE will allow workers to verbally reply to emails or chat with partners when working on a jointly written document. It will stand alongside instant messaging as a quick way of contacting colleagues.
As the focus of voice technology switches from hardware to software, new players with desktop clout, such as Microsoft, will take on traditional suppliers.
Gartner advises CIOs to evaluate IP technology now and prepare for VoE inveigling itself into applications such as ERP and voice-aided web browsing.