Channel players will be on the frontline in migrating users to voice over IP (VoIP), as the value of Europe’s telephony market swells to $4.4bn by 2008, according to research by market watcher Datamonitor.
The firm said service providers, VARs, system integrators and ISVs will help end-users to “realise the true value of IP”, especially in financial services, the public sector, healthcare and manufacturing.
Kathleen Klasnic, lead analyst of vertical market technology at Datamonitor, said that if IP telephony vendors and the channel take full advantage of the opportunities, then the VoIP market in western Europe alone could be worth $2.6bn by 2008.
Andrew Saunders, divisional managing director at distributor Crane, said: “The market is large and expanding, so these figures don’t seem unrealistic. The channel will have an increasingly important role to play.”
Klasnic said adding value will be vital. “The channel will find opportunities arising from VoIP, such as tying VoIP into specific software applications for vertical markets,” she said.
“Resellers just selling kit will be pushed out of the market. We will see vendors developing programmes to tie the channel into this technology.”
Bernie Dodwell, alliances manager at Westcon, said: “VARs also need to look at the bigger picture. There are so many additional opportunities in this space that VARs are currently missing, such as wireless handsets and call recording services.”
Datamonitor’s report contrasts with an earlier ABI Research report that said worldwide VoIP services will win fewer new subscribers over the next five years than conventional fixed-line and mobile phone offerings.
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