While voice and data convergence is continuing to spur growth and opportunity in the SMB space, system integrators need to pay more attention to the user experience, according to IDC.
The report, Australia Business Voice over IP Services and Equipment 2006-2010 Forecast and Analysis: Golden Egg Hidden in Services, found the convergence of voice and data over an IP network has continued to accelerate over the past year. However it predicted IP Phone and IP Private Branch Exchange (PBX) revenue will start to slow down over the next five years to about half the rate of 2005 and 2006.
"Opportunities over the next five years will be in managed convergence services, specifically in managed VoIP security, network capacity/support, application management, hosted voice solutions and contact centres," IDC telecommunications research director, Landry Fevre, said.
Once this growth begins to slow, however, system integrators and vendors must address the user experience with converged managed services, IDC Telecommunications associate analyst, Yue Li, said.
"From the users' perspective, they don't care whether the solution is based on IP or whatever technology, as long as their problems can be properly solved and productivity can be enhanced," she said.
The rising user base will provide ample opportunity for the channel through partnerships for managed and hosted VoIP solutions.
"The market is transforming from hardware-based to software-based," Yue Li said. "With increasing deployment of telephony applications, such as unified communications and vertical applications, vendors and channels will generate revenue from network maintenance and software upgrade."
IDC expected the IP Phone and IP PBX revenue to grow by 14.49 per cent to reach $606.76 million by 2010. The report states market growth will slow down from 2007, to about half the 2005 and 2006 growth rates.
The total market revenue of Australian VoIP service, including managed/hosted VoIP and IP Centrex will grow at a rate of 39 per cent to $462.12 million in 2010.