Report: Hosted IP Voice Will Storm the Enterprise
An IDC study predicts that the IP Centrex market will grow at a compound annual rate of 282 percent, as businesses increasingly hook their desktop IP phones to a centrally located, off-premise switch.Market research firm International Data Corp. says in a new report that VOIP adoption is growing fastest among U.S. businesses opting to outsource the switch. IDC pegs the size of a market called "hosted IP voice" or "IP Centrex" at $7.6 billion by 2008representing a compound annual growth rate of 282 percent. The study finds the market at $60 million by the end of 2004. For enterprises, hooking desktop IP phones to a centrally located, off-premise switch does away with the risk and trouble of picking a CPE hardware vendor, says the report, released Sept. 27. Such a move realizes the mobility and cost-savings benefits of IP telephony without the capital expense of an IP PBX and its ancillary power backups, or the need to train or recruit VOIP-savvy maintenance staff. To carriers, it represents a way to stem losses to IP PBX and data network vendors, and a way to keep their own Centrex (traditional hosted switch) customers, if at a smaller revenue per user.
The IP Centrex offering typically includes the PBX-like, four-digit dial and transfer features known to Centrex users, plus enhanced features made configurable through Web GUIs. These can include personal call-routing policies, conferencing, Web-retrievable voice mail, contact-center call routing, presence/availability information and instant messaging.