By David Byrd
Tomorrow I will be one of four speakers in a morning session at COMPTEL offering ideas for engaging in new business models. During this session, we will discuss potential new revenue streams and products, such as hosted communications, Wi-Fi, machine-to-machine (M2M) platforms and IPTV. Given the range of subjects it should prove to be a lively session moderated by yours truly. What follows is a preview of my discussion regarding hosted communications.
In its simplest form, hosted communications is a business phone system in the cloud providing a set of the most used PBX features. At its most complex, it is unified communications (UC), unified messaging with collaboration tools and applications supporting video and mobility across smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices.
The latest market data shows why it’s time to add hosted communications to your product portfolio. Hosted communications and cloud computing are experiencing enormous demand. The demand has expanded beyond SMBs to include many enterprise customers. Infonetics released information indicating that the demand grew for the number of hosted seats or users by 22 percent in 2011. Moreover, hosted business VoIP and UC is expected to see the number of installed seats double in just four years from 2012 through 2016. This rapid and broad demand provides you the opportunity to sell to your existing customer base and improve your ability to acquire new customers. There is no market leader and the unserved market is greater than 4 million businesses.
Infonetics estimates $377 billion will be spent on VoIP and UC services from 2013 through 2017. This amount of new potential revenue and margins ranging from 35 percent to 60 percent should garner any businesses attention, but given the changes in our industry with falling prices for voice services and transport, finding a complementary product offering with strong margins is very appealing.
And it’s not just Infonetics painting such a rosy picture for hosted communications: The Radicati Group sees the market for hosted UC alone growing from $2.8 billion in 2010 to $5.5 billion in 2014.
It’s not often that we are provided notice of a market with this much potential where the barriers to entry are low, there is no set market leader and we are still in the early adopter phase of the market adoption life cycle curve.
David Byrd is chief marketing officer and executive vice president of channel sales for
. He previously spent five years as vice president of marketing and sales for Broadvox and before that was vice president of channels and alliances for Eftia and Telcordia.