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Is VOIP Growth Slowing?
Via the VAR Guy, VOIP blogger Garret Smith talks about the apparent slowing of growth in the VOIP market. Smith discusses residential and business, which are very different animals, but appears to see slowing growth in both markets. This notion of a softening market, at least in North America, also emerges from a just-released study by the market researchers at Infonetics.
Via the VAR Guy, VOIP blogger Garret Smith talks about the apparent slowing of growth in the VOIP market. Smith discusses residential and business, which are very different animals, but appears to see slowing growth in both markets. This notion of a softening market, at least in North America, also emerges from a just-released study by the market researchers at Infonetics.Among the points that Garrett Smith makes about enterprises, I'll buy this one, at least to a degree:
Business customer profiles are changing - With this second wave, the business profile is changing. These new prospective purchasers are larger, less willing to take chances and in need of more education and hand holding than the first wave. New needs requires new strategies and time to develop and implement, which usually results in a lag.
I'm not sure the need is so much for hand-holding and education, at least on the part of IT/telecom folks (end users may be another matter), but I do believe it's true we've moved from a first wave of early adopters/pilots/limited deployments, into a second wave of broader deployments. And this brings a need not so much for hand-holding and education of IT, but just heavier demands on the network and those who run it--demands for bulletproof QOS, better management/monitoring tools, that kind of thing.
And I definitely disagree with this point:
Product and service offerings are stagnant - There has been a real lack of innovation within the VoIP hardware and service spaces. A lot of the buzz and attention has faded. There are few very new "business drivers" coming out.
At least on the enterprise side, there's no lack of innovation at all. It's almost the opposite problem--cool technology like Unified Communications is running ahead of most customers' willingness or ability to buy. The part about "few business drivers" is on the mark and describes this problem. It's not that the innovation isn't there; it's that not enough people see a reason to buy it yet.
The bottom line, I think, remains that--contrary to what we've been conditioned to believe--new technology doesn't necessarily speed up replacement cycles, at least not in the enterprise voice market. If the market is softening a bit, I still don't expect it to take any serious dives. Nor do I expect it to take off, even if the economy bounces back. The history of the IP telephony industry is that IP-PBXs have replaced TDM PBXs at basically historical rates. I don't see anything changing that.