Allied Business Intelligence's latest numbers on the VoIP services market are very interesting. The broad area covered by the report-which includes integrated access, SIP trunking, and hosted and managed services-is expected to double to $20 billion by 2015.
The story behind those numbers seems to be even more interesting. The takeaway is that larger firms are moving to the cloud:
Traditionally, hosted VoIP services were targeted at SMBs, especially companies with between twenty and fifty employees, but sweet-spots are emerging among larger enterprises as well. Today, hosted IP PBX services are being deployed on massively scalable cloud architectures and adopted by an increasing number of organizations, including large enterprises looking for legacy replacements. Businesses have started routinely evaluating the merits of premises-based IP PBX systems versus hosted IP PBX services when contemplating new telephony investments.
It's not stated outright in the release, but it seems that bigger companies started looking at off-premises approaches during the recession as a way to refresh technology without massive capital investment. They liked what they saw, and the migration is set to continue when business improves. That trend, coupled with the accompanying growth in the cloud's sophistication, apparently is shifting money spent by larger organizations to outsourcing. Or, put another way, spending among increasingly large organizations is moving from capex to the opex.
The hosted or cloud-based market-the precise definitions are somewhat confusing and partially or fully overlap-is growing. VoIP Planet's review of Fonality's Connect hosted service, which is positive, makes the point that it is a crowded field. Last week, cloud-based UC and VoIP provider PanTerra Networks partnered with 360networks to offer its wholesale services west of the Mississippi River, according to 360networkis.
VoIP and its related technologies, such as IM, video and sophisticated data services, are growing in value. It also is growing in complexity, especially as broadband and fiber make it increasingly feasible to provide increasingly sophisticated services with only minimal gear at the customer locale. The fact that larger companies are doing this will subtly shift the way the sales channel functions, the type and amount of equipment that is sold, how it is configured and who the buyers are.