Although the world enterprise IP telephony (IPT) endpoint market is expected to feel the consequences of the current economic downturn, an increasing number of enterprises are recognizing the benefits granted by both IP desktop phones and enterprise soft clients.
The IP desktop phone is no longer a simple device, but rather a highly intelligent and integrated communication endpoint, interoperable with enterprise hardware/software platforms and communication applications.
On the other hand, last year, it was anticipated that PC softphones would be the natural transition to more sophisticated unified communications (UC) clients. Presently, this new generation of soft clients is swiftly penetrating the market, and in many cases, replacing their old counterparts.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (conferencing.frost.com), World Enterprise IP Telephony Endpoint Markets, finds that the market earned revenues of over $2.68 billion in 2008. The world enterprise IP desktop phone market continued to grow in 2008, generating $2.57 billion in total revenues. Though steady revenue decline is expected until 2010, the market is expected to gradually recover by 2011 and continue with a healthy growth pattern until the end of the forecast period in 2015.
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"The penetration of session initiation protocol (SIP) devices, the steady decline in price points, and the continued increase in the overall value proposition of IP desktop phones in terms of features and applications are some of the factors that will bode well for the market, driving adoption," notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Alaa Saayed.
In terms of models, the year 2008 saw the extensive introduction of third-generation IP desktop phones by various market participants. Their main characteristics include larger color screens, wider support for productivity applications, better synchronization with multiple endpoints, improved wideband audio functionality, and "green" benefits, such as improved power efficiency.
Enterprise soft clients, on the other hand, have been relentlessly penetrating the market in the last two years, mainly driven by the overall software revolution, the strong case around UC, and the growing demand for enterprise fixed-mobile convergence.
Today, due to the growing interest in Unified Communications and the continued shift from hardware-based to software-based solutions, more telephony vendors are aggressively pursuing bundling strategies – combining platforms, server software, advanced UC clients, as well as access to either a-la-carte or bundled applications. This scenario has boosted considerably the penetration of enterprise soft clients such as PC desktop softphones, advanced desktop UC clients, and mobile clients.
In terms of units shipped, the world enterprise IP soft client market more than doubled its size, from 1.0 million clients in 2007 to almost 2.4 million clients in 2008. This prominent increase in client shipments has been driven not so much by an upsurge of customer demand, but by the effective penetration strategies that many IP telephony providers have been implementing to sell their telephony packages and UC bundles/solutions.
"Although fixed-mobile convergence clients are expected to be the future growth catalyst of enterprise soft clients, advanced UC-related desktop soft clients are rapidly proliferating in the enterprise space, and would gradually take away some market share from basic PC desktop softphones in the next two to three years," adds Saayed.
The economic slump, price pressures, and the lack of interoperability and integration among vendors have been some of the main challenges for the IPT endpoint vendors.
IPT endpoint vendors should provide affordable endpoints while offering the best possible value to meet customers' expectations. They should also show evidence of a compelling return-on-investment (ROI) for both IP desktop phones and enterprise IP clients and ensure interoperability with multi-vendor platforms along with continuous integration with recently launched applications and platforms.
"Vendors should develop channel partnerships, seek key company agreements, and explore the global markets," concludes Saayed. "A wide variety of IPT endpoint options for different kinds of enterprise employees, such as desk-bound workers, corridor warriors, road warriors, and telecommuters could form the basis of a sustainable growth strategy."
In terms of usage, and despite the growing variety of enterprise IP communication endpoints, IP desktop phones continue to be the dominant devices for deskbound enterprise users. While demand for desktop IP clients such as basic PC softphones and advanced UC clients is increasing significantly, in most cases, these endpoints are complementing the customer's hard phone, rather than replacing it.
The changing nature of the workforce, need to boost employee productivity, and growing implementation of integrated UC interfaces have been some of the main factors encouraging the demand for desktop click-to-call softphone type interfaces. Meanwhile, enterprise mobile client penetration has grown considerably over the past few years, representing about 13.5 percent of the total enterprise IPT client market today, comprised of desktop soft clients and mobile soft clients.
World Enterprise IP Telephony Endpoint Markets is part of the Conferencing & Collaboration Growth Partnership Service program, which also includes research in the following markets: World Enterprise Telephony Platform Markets, World Unified Communications Markets and World Enterprise Headset Market. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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World Enterprise IP Telephony Endpoint Markets / N58D