Introduction: Long-term noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is an established treatment for end-stage COPD patients suffering from chronic hypercapnic respiratory failure. This is reflected by its prominent position in national and international medical guidelines. Areas covered: In recent years, novel developments in technology such as auto-titrating machines and hybrid modes have emerged, and when combined with advances in information and communication technologies, these developments have served to improve the level of NIV-based care. Such progress has largely been instigated by the fact that healthcare systems are now confronted with an increase in the number of patients, which has led to the need for a change in current infrastructures. This article discusses the current practices and recent trends, and offers a glimpse into the future possibilities and requirements associated with this form of ventilation therapy. Expert opinion: Noninvasive ventilation is an established and increasingly used treatment option for patients with chronic hypercapnic COPD and those with persistent hypercapnia following acute hypercapnic lung failure. The main target is to augment alveolar hypoventilation by reducing PaCO2 to relieve symptoms. Nevertheless, when dealing with severely impaired patients, it appears necessary to switch the focus to patient-related outcomes such as health-related quality of life.