The analyst reports that worldwide hardware spending on unified communications (UC), IP telephony and legacy TDM kit stood at $10.4bn last year, an annual drop of 21 per cent. But the picture was beginning to brighten by the year's end, with Q4 spending rising three per cent sequentially to $2.2bn.
Infonetics predicts that the market will return to growth in 2010, fuelled by increased spending on pure IP phone systems. Last year Cisco led the pure IP PBX arena, although Aastra and NEC made "big gains" as the market leader saw sales drop.
Infonetics reports that the lion's share of desktop extensions are now delivered via IP, rather than legacy technology. The number of extensions at the average firm is expected to increase by 15 per cent over the next two years. The projected growth has been attributed to companies increasing headcount and revenue as the economy recovers. Spending on applications is expected to spike 14 per cent this year.
The market for UC and voice over IP (VoIP) services performed impressively last year, with global revenue growing by a fifth to $41.6bn. IP connectivity services are the market's biggest growth area, followed by hosted VoIP and UC services and managed IP PBXs.
Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise voice and data for Infonetics, claimed the business comms market had been "hit hard" last year. But he asserted that "the bleeding has stopped and 2010 promises to be a better year ".
"It appears that businesses are increasingly embracing a hosted services model, as their capacity needs will depend on how robust the economic recovery is, and hosted services allow them to more easily ramp their capacity needs up and down without a huge cash layout for equipment," he added.
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