What's Driving the Demand for the Softswitch?
October 02, 2013
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The world of telecommunications is changing. While it seems like we hear that on a fairly consistent basis, this could be due to the rate of change. With new technologies, capabilities and solutions emerging on a regular basis, users are scrambling to install the latest platforms to get the most bang for their communications buck.
A recent Telecom Reseller (News - Alert) post highlighted just how much activity is taking place when it comes to SIP phone sales. It’s apparent that the softswitch is in demand, but readers want to know why. According to The Eastern Management (News - Alert) Group, there are a number of drivers contributing to the growth of SIP phones in the marketplace. In a study of 17,000 information technology managers, the firm discovered specific contributors to growth.
The call for unified communications applications is a major contributor to the demand for the softswitch as more than 85 percent of new PBX (News - Alert) systems support SIP protocol. IT managers are no longer willing to be locked into a single vendor, especially if feature choices are limited. Given the costs and limitations that go along with the monolithic solution, an increasing number of IT professionals are turning to the PBX.
Microsoft is also helping to drive the demand for SIP phones as this software giant is still a newcomer in the communications market. A growing number of IT managers are finding out about the power of Microsoft as the backbone of its UC applications. It also helps that a number of SIP phones are optimized for or at least compatible with Microsoft, such as Aastra, Polycom (News - Alert), AudioCodes and HP.
The demand for the hosted PBX is growing, especially for enterprise operations. Hosted PBX sales were typically targeted to small and medium business customers. This segment, however, accounts for less than 10 percent of the market. Companies of all sizes are realizing the potential benefits and starting to make a change. Given that there are still millions of analog and digital phones installed that will need to be replaced, demand is expected to explode.
Open-source solutions are also helping to drive the demand for SIP phones. When PBXs are built on open-source software, like Asterisk (News - Alert), this opens up a larger part of the market. For businesses shopping for the right solution, 10 percent of PBX systems available now qualify as open source. The low end of the market is seeing much activity in this space and is expected to continue to grow.
Overall, businesses of all sizes are recognizing the benefits associated with flexible communications solutions, driving the trend toward change.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey