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My colleague Charlene O'Hanlon has an interesting post up at CTO Edge questioning the significant growth in VoIP predicted by In-Stat Senior Analyst Dave Lemelin.
Indeed, the In-Stat numbers are surprising. Lemelin suggests that VoIP, which is used by 42 percent of organizations at the end of last year, will explode to 79 percent in 2013.
The technology has been around for the past 15 years at least, and it has matured to the point where adoption is bound to occur. But such an increase in such a short time-and a time when budgets are limiting any new technology adoption-seems a little far-fetched to me.
I certainly agree. Seventy-nine percent is a big number. But there are reasons to believe that it's doable.
For one thing, the In-Stat press release says that the numbers represent companies with at least one location using VoIP. This means at least some portion of the the increase will be due to organizations first dipping their digital toes into the VoIP waters. Indeed, it would be interesting to see whether the average size of VoIP implementations (as a percentage of organizations' overall telecom spending or some equally telling metric) grows significantly over the term of the study. My guess is that it will.
There are other reasons the 79 percent figure makes sense. The end of the recession-hopefully, it will soon be an unpleasant memory-figures to unleash pent-up demand by organizations replacing telecommunications equipment that was pushed to, or even beyond, its end-of-life due to the bad economy. A related issue is that vendors and carriers are getting out of the legacy (time division multiplex, or TDM) game. Thus, companies who have to upgrade their telecom infrastructure are going to be pushed toward VoIP, since the pickings will be slim in the legacy world.
Finally, the move to VoIP services will be encouraged by the growth of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking, which increases the value of VoIP in a number of ways. A key is that it enables the connection of formerly isolated pockets of VoIP users, giving decentralized organizations the capabilities and flexibility of a consolidated entity. In other words, SIP trunking enables a national or even international organization's communications infrastructure to function in many ways as if it is on a single campus.
The bottom line is that Charlene is right on the target in pointing out how aggressive Lemelin's projection is. There are solid reasons, however, to think that the number is within reason.