MARKET ANALYSIS: What networking enables

MARKET ANALYSIS: What networking enables

IDC forecasts growth in most areas but the news may not be so good for PBX

The underlying trends in 2011 are the continued explosive growth of video communications, mobile devices and media tablets. On the surface, they may seem to be very different areas, but in fact we are seeing advances of one area driving adoption in the other. The solution glue is known as unified communications (UC) and the market trend, consumerisation of IT.

IDC sees significant growth in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) for videoconferencing with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36 per cent in 2014. This is driven by improvements in the network space as well as better and cheaper devices with built-in CODECS. As a result, video conferencing is being deployed by smaller companies, more branch offices and will extend across desktops and mobile devices. We are also seeing more demand for video conferencing ‘in the cloud’ which can now be deployed across existing LANs as opposed to having to set up a separate dedicated environment.

This is also a relatively new development.

The backing for video in the cloud is continued advancements of SIP Trunking. This protocol is the enabler for delivering IM, presence, conferencing and collaboration to provide services dynamically behind firewalls and supporting the business model of moving UC to the cloud. One of the early challenges with SIP Trunking was that firewalls were never designed to open and close ports, on the fly and to set up live communication sessions. This caused some IT managers to hesitate.

However, when adding up the costs of having dedicated premise-based equipment at each site, the cost of local integrators for support and other hidden costs of keeping a multi-vendor environment and business case of moving UC to the cloud looked a lot better. It coincidentally tied in with other priorities – such as centralising IT to support an increasingly distributed workforce. With SIP Trunking, vendors are now able to start forecasting ‘attach revenue’ from ‘access’ for the first time. It has also enabled new technologies, such as the ability to virtualise voice, which is opening up new opportunities in disaster recovery.

Another trend we observed is that Australia entered the post-PC world last year when smartphones out-shipped PCs. This was several quarters ahead of the global trend. By the end of 2011, IDC is forecasting between 11 and 12 million smartphones and media tablets being shipped. With these devices entering the workplace and IT managers having to accommodate what their executives and sales teams plug into the corporate network, we are starting to see demands for mobile management (giving IT managers much needed visibility) and mobile security solutions to give comparable safeguards to the PC.

With UC applications moving towards the desktop/devices space and onto a cloud delivery model, the prevalence of the once all-mighty IP PBX is under threat. There is still a demand for PBX, but unfortunately some resellers still put emphasis on shifting boxes despite the shrinking margins. This is likely to create consolidation among vendors, soul searching within pockets of the channel and buying behaviour for distributor communities who appear to have been blind-sided by the disruption cloud.

The last trend that arises is architectures. We expect to see is an important role for large vendors, such as Cisco, Juniper and HP in building architectures which can move from datacentres, across switching and through to end points – like mobile phones and media tablets in delivering a secure and robust end-to-end solution. In the past few weeks, we saw Cisco debut the Cius in Sydney which embedded its entire UC suite and HD TelePresence into the tablet.

We also noted that Juniper is moving aggressively into enterprise, WLAN, mobile device management and mobile security through the acquisition of Smobile. Our channel research shows deals are increasingly being won and lost on architectures (as opposed to point products) and this is where we expect to see a lot more focus on vendors really educating the channel.

- IDC associate research director of telecoms and services Australia, Dustin Kehoe

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Tags consumerisation of ITHPNetworkingciscoIDCjuniperCiusSmobileunified communications (UC)

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