VoIP: Taking the next step

VoIP: Taking the next step

Implementing VoIP is not unlike making a cake: there are lots of layers and many different ingredients to blend.

NSC managing director, Craig Neil, would agree. The first thing he does when he goes into a customer site is check the network readiness of the organisation by assessing the hardware and software ingredients. He then thinks about how he will go about pulling them together.

With many rollouts under the system integrator's belt, Neil said he was seeing an uptake in IP telephony as companies prepare for the next frontier: the implementation of unified communications (UC). VoIP is an essential piece of the UC package, and the first step in deploying the technology, he said.

With IP telephony a key ingredient, the UC mixture involved a tablespoon of hardware, a hearty dose of software, a sprinkling of services and much elbow grease in terms of integration, Neil said.

VoIP and the walk towards UC is driving market uptake. Often, the discussion of one leads inevitably to a chat about the other. Neil said many companies were starting to see the cost savings, increased flexibility and improved security offered through IP telephony and want to move towards an integrated unified communications environment.

IDC expects local IP phone and IP PBX revenue to grow by 14.49 per cent to reach $606.76 million in 2010. Last year, the Australian IP telephony (IPT) market grew by 16 per cent in terms of revenue compared with 2005. Cisco was the leading vendor in the IPT market.

IDC expects 11.2 per cent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) over the next five years from 2006 to 2011 in the IPT market. Hybrid IP PBX IP lines revenue will grow at 22.5 per cent CAGR in the next five years. Meanwhile, the worldwide UC market was worth $US19.3 billion last year.

According to IDC, UC revenue comprised of IP PBX, hardware desktop IP phones, conferencing applications, instant messaging applications, integrated collaborative environments, unified messaging, soft switches, media gateways, mobile enterprise applications, VoIP support services, WAN application delivery, hosted IP services, VoIP management solutions, and wireless business services revenue.

SMBs scoop up VoIP
IDC telecommunications associate analyst, Yue Vivian Li, said the VoIP arena this year would be dominated by moves in the SMB space. The top end of town was maturing, so she suggested resellers look to the smaller fish for big market opportunities. "There's more traction in the SMB space," Li said.

"SMB VoIP adoption is still not that high, so expect more adoption here." Vendors are also cranking up activities in this space.

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