David Galton-Fenzi, group sales director at distributor Zycko says that during 2006 the western European market for VoIP witnessed increasing adoption amongst businesses, looking to take advantage of the benefits which include: reduced telecom costs, improved communications facilities, such as video conferencing, and mobile working capabilities. As a result, the total revenue generated through VoIP in western Europe last year was £296 million, and that figure looks set to more than double this year.
“Initial adoption has already been created in the enterprise business environment, but demand is now clearly mapping itself into a range of smaller businesses and verticals.
However, in order to take a ‘slice of the pie,’ service providers and integrators must be able to differentiate their offerings because the market is set to become increasingly competitive in this and the coming years.
Applications that improve business performance are key
Since VoIP calls themselves are not a revenue driver, service providers will have to look at more advanced applications to maintain and increase end user interest through differentiation and added value.
For example, applications that allow end users to click on a contacts’ name in a computer database to automatically make VoIP calls or participate in collaborative internet-based brainstorming sessions will be key in driving long-term revenue growth for the channel.
The demand for such business productivity applications, which stem from the latest evolution of VoIP largely consider the 3rd generation, will grow steadily this year.
Third generation VoIP has the ability to deliver huge benefits across many vertical markets. For example, if an accountancy team integrates its VoIP functionality into SAP accounting software, then company accountants and credit controllers will have the ability to click on any account entry and have their VoIP handset dial straight through to the contact – who may be ‘logged on’ across a range of communications devices.
This will not only be more convenient, but also enable end users to be more productive and benefit from the advantages of presence awareness.
2007 will be the year of network convergence
Recently commissioned Zycko research, carried out by Vanson Bourne, questioned 300 IT managers and found that over two thirds plan to upgrade their networks this year in order to boost performance and cope with forthcoming converged solutions.
There is no doubt that the industry is rapidly moving away from its initial VoIP adoption phase and into mainstream adoption, with bespoke applications that offer multiple benefits now becoming available to a wider range of businesses.
With continued development of such applications, the VoIP market will become mainstream in many UK businesses throughout 2007, but in order for systems integrators and service providers to grab their slice of the pie they need to be able to demonstrate increased business benefits over their market rival and application development is key.”