More businesses turning to VoIP?

Technical barriers coming down, says analyst...

Technical barriers coming down, says analyst...

Voice over IP (VoIP) business services are set to grow as net telephony increases its foothold in the enterprise.

Business customer share of worldwide hosted VoIP service revenue will increase from 26 per cent in 2007 to 41 per cent in 2011, market research company Infonetics Research predicts.

Worldwide revenue from hosted VoIP and managed IP private branch exchange (PBX) services leapt up 52 per cent to $24bn last year, it reports. Growth in 2006 stood at 66 per cent, Infonetics said in a report entitled VoIP Services and Subscribers. It expects strong double-digit growth until at least 2011.

Infonetics said hosted VoIP services continue to far outpace managed IP PBX services, with residential services fuelling the market.

While consumers have embraced VoIP, businesses have been comparatively slower to adopt net telephony due to "various roadblocks", according to Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise voice and data at Infonetics.

But he said this is set to change as technical issues standing in the way of enterprise adoption are resolved.

One example is session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking interfaces being added to equipment by many PBX manufacturers, which makes it easier for business telephone exchanges to be connected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) via the net.

PBX makers have also greatly expanded the list of certified service providers which will fuel growth in SIP trunking services, the analyst added.

He said in a statement: "These kinds of developments will boost the overall VoIP business services segment for years to come."

The number of worldwide residential and small office/home office VoIP subscribers grew 60 per cent between 2006 and 2007, hitting 75 million, the report adds, with the largest gains in North America and Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The market researcher believes EMEA will this year break away from Asia-Pac, which has been leading the VoIP arena for several years, and head up the market through to 2011.

The dominant consumer VoIP service provider in EMEA is France Télécom, while Comcast leads in North America and Softbank in Asia Pacific, according to Infonetics.