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Prognostications for the future of IP telephony.

So, the election day has come and gone. Are you tired of the perpetual prognosticating, polling, researching, questioning, querying, disseminating and conclusion drawing?

We didn't think so.

In the spirit of keeping you up-to-date on developments in the world of IP telephony and its applications to the contact center, we thought it would end the year well to look ahead and see what's coming in said IP contact center arena for 2005 and beyond. To provide readers with as broad a picture as possible, we've tapped the world's most prestigious high-tech research firms for a spectrum of opinions. Oddly enough, they all agree: IP telephony is hot and will continue to get hotter. Excerpts are included below.

* Research company AMI-Partners has predicted that worldwide IP telephony spending in the SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) market will stand at $1.2 billion by the end of this year. Researchers predict that VoIP equipment, such as IP-PBX and IP phones and adaptors, will comprise $1.1 billion of these sales, a figure that is up 50 percent from 2003. The same report indicates that IP Centrex and other VoIP services will account for approximately $145 million the total figure. AMI-Partners predicts SME IP telephony spending will surpass $4.5 billion in 2008, indicative of a 2003 to 2008 compound annual growth rate of 41.3 percent.

* Research organization IDC estimates that IP communications are significantly hitting the mainstream market, with 14 percent of medium and large organizations having IP telephony equipment and software already implemented. IDC research director for telecommunications, Landry Fevre, has stated, "The perception of VoIP has now changed and is no longer a technology to be implemented only by early adopters and risk-takers. The government, healthcare and finance sectors are leading the way in integrated IP communications."

* According to a report by the META Group, when an "impending event" requires reevaluation of telephony requirements, businesses consider implementing IP telephony in 90 percent of the cases.

* Research firm In-Stat/MDR predicts very strong growth, approximately 100 percent year after year, for IP Centrex/hosted PBX through 2008. In-Stat/MDR notes that although current use of network-hosted voice applications is most common in companies of 40 to 60 users per site, the number of users per installation is now trending upward.

* The Radicati Group has predicted that global revenue from corporate IP telephony business. Forty-four percent of corporate telephone lines will be IP-based by 2008, having risen by over 14 times the current installed base.

* Infonetics Research has predicted that worldwide spending on enterprise IP-PBXs will grow by 45 percent during the next year.

* Because of the increased mobility enabled by IP telephony, Sage Research theorizes that companies implementing VoIP are able to greatly reduce the amount of time the average employee spends playing "phone tag" by about 3.9 hours per week, a number which translates into nearly 25 days per employee per year.

* Although North America has led the way in terms of IP telephony implementation, growth is rapidly escalating in other parts of the world, most notably in the Far East and Western Europe. According to Gartner, shipments of IP phones in Western Europe will total 2.6 million units in 2004, with 3.5 million units predicted for 2005. Annual growth will reach approximately 61 percent in 2008.

* Frost & Sullivan predicts that revenues in the European IP VPN services market will grow to 3.58 billion by 2005, when almost 40 percent of the identified potentials within the European market will have implemented an IP VPN solution.

* According to a recent global survey conducted by Australian PROGNOSIS systems management software developer, Integrated Research, three out of four global IT managers surveyed stated they have already deployed IP telephony, or intend to do so within the next 12 months. Of these respondents, 67 percent had an initial implementation of fewer than 500 phones. Sixty-six percent stated they would expand their IP telephony deployment to over 1,000 phones within the next 24 months, indicating that a phased implementation is the preferred integration approach for IP telephony. A 2003 study from the same group indicated that respondents' highest priority business driver for IP telephony was increased value through IP applications (66 percent response), followed by lower infrastructure costs (64 percent).

* In terms of opportunities for wireless VoIP, a predicted growth area, ABI Research predicts that dual mode cellular/voice over WiFi-enabled handsets will surpass 50 million by 2009--accounting for seven percent of the overall handset market.

* With regards to the home/consumer VoIP market, Gartner has prognosticated that the cable industry is poised to add more than six million new VoIP subscribers to the existing base of circuit-switched cable-telephony customers by 2008.

--The Editors

Customer Interaction Solutions[R]

A Special Editorial Series Sponsored by FrontRange Solutions, Inc.

To learn more about FrontRange's VoIP solutions, please visit http:// TheContactFront.com/Control and www.tmcnet.com/channels/ip-contact-center.
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Title Annotation:INNOVATIVE IDEAS FROM THE IP CONTACT CENTER EXPERTS
Publication:Customer Interaction Solutions
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:817
Previous Article:What to buy and how to buy.
Next Article:Telephony convergence--something for everyone.
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