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Rapidly Expanding Hosted IP Provides Opportunities

By Kelly Teal
March 10, 2010 - Article
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The unified communications industry will claim $30 billion in market share by 2013, according to Wainhouse Research. The service revenue aspect of that sector will top $17 billion in the same time frame, In-Stat Research found; and, the firm added, SIP trunking will interconnect unified communications “islands,” saving users plenty of money. Finally, VoIP penetration among U.S. businesses alone will reach 79 percent by 2013, compared to 42 percent at the end of 2009, In-Stat reported.

Leading the way is hosted communications services, one of the fastest-growing areas of telecom today. In short, more enterprises want someone else to handle their IT needs, from contact center platforms to unified communications, and the options are continuing to increase. To that point, providers and resellers that haven’t started offering hosted IP services had better do so right away.

Statistics, though, don’t mean much until you see them in action. There was plenty of opportunity to do that last week at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, where hosted IP services dominated conversations, panel sessions, and exhibits.

ACT Conferencing, for instance, displayed its corporate audio/video/Web platform’s new interoperability with Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) hosted unified communications software. While that might sound like rivals helping rivals, ACT said it’s the wave of the future.

“You have to participate in and understand what folks like ... or you’ll lose customers,” said David Gladding, ACT’s senior director of global sales.

TelCentris Inc., creator of the VoxOx softphone, now offers Internet telephony providers and agents a choice of platforms. The San Diego-based company talked up its hosted PBX and SIP trunking products. For businesses, that means lowering costs while adding productivity features such as unified communications, executives said. Plus, TelCentris offers a fully hosted call center that ties into the existing phone system, said CEO Bryan Hertz.

Masergy, headquartered in Plano, Texas, sells IP VPN managed services to the Global 5000. It has watched demand for hosted products soar as large businesses try to consolidate data centers to achieve greater efficiencies and lower costs. Other network services consist of cloud-based network management that allows for secure remote access. In fact, the past five months have been the best in Masergy’s history, said COO Chris McFarland, and 75 percent of Masergy’s new customers are coming from channel partners.

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