Faced with increasing price pressures, vendors in the European business telephony markets are beginning to heighten focus on software and applications, moving away from the margin-sapping hardware business. However, in these new high-growth high-margin markets, the installed base of private branch exchange (PBX) remains a key competitive factor. Thus, most vendors are aggressively targeting the PBX installed base.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (enterprisecommunications.frost.com), European Business Telephony Markets, finds that the market shipped more than 21 million lines in 2005 and estimates this to reach 25.5 million in 2011.
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“Growth in shipments was driven by the buoyant replacement market fuelled by the adoption of Internet protocol (IP) and by greenfield deployments in emerging markets such as Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary,” notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Shomik Banerjee. “European skepticism toward Internet Protocol (IP) telephony is gradually on the wane and led by multinationals headquartered in the United States, enterprises have started deploying IP telephony on a larger scale.”
Approximately 83.7 per cent of lines shipped were IP capable, out of which around 4.3 million were IP users with some kind of IP end point. Most large vendors have developed an IP capability within their systems and in a race against time, vendors with considerable installed base are marketing their IP portfolio rather aggressively.
Notably, vendors in the European business telephony markets have stepped up their efforts to endorse session initiation protocol (SIP). As the margins in the network continue to decline, vendors are being forced to look at new growth opportunities in the way of enhancing their application suite and adding business process integration functionality. In the real world of multi-vendor networks, standards such as SIP play a pivotal role in enabling these new opportunities.
However, increasing price pressures remain a key barrier to the further growth of the European business telephony markets. Despite the 6.2 per cent year on year (y-o-y) growth in lines shipments, revenues declined by 0.2 per cent y-o-y. There is also the threat of alternate business models such as managed and hosted service eating into the on-premise proposition.
“Microsoft’s entry into the unified communication space has given a fillip to the software based solution market,” explains Banerjee. “The entry of Microsoft has not only made software-based solutions a de-facto alternative to hardware based PBX, but also has pushed the case for enterprise convergence through unified communication.”
Developing a strong ecosystem is crucial for vendors to survive the ongoing transformation in the European business telephony markets. This apart, vendors will also have to actively endorse open technologies.
European Business Telephony Markets is part of the Enterprise Communications Growth partnership Service program. It provides in depth analysis of the PBX and KTS market. Interviews with the press are available.
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