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NEWS IN BRIEF: VoIP call centres on rise despite downturn

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21st Jan 2009
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Call centres which use VoIP phones are likely to do better in light of the worldwide economic slump than many other sectors, according to a new study by Infonetics Research, which found that the IP contact centre (IPCC) market reported growth of 37% compared with 2007.

Worldwide, businesses bought $851 million in IP contact centre equipment, up 37% from $622 million in 2007. The firm said the Asia Pacific region was particularly strong, although vendors as a whole reported good sales.

The drivers for growth were two-fold. Infonetics said that the transition between TDM phone systems and IP phone systems is still in progress and will continue, which creates market opporunity for IP call centres. Secondly, the improved efficiency and capability that IP call centres can deliver still promises a better bottom line for businesses that rely on such centres for sales and customer service. IP call centres can drive costs out of customer interactions by making them quicker and tying up agents for less time per call so they can handle more calls.

Inevitably, the pace of growth will not be matched this year because sales of IP phone equipment will drop off due to the overall economic climate. "We expect companies to scrutinise expenditures a lot in 2009," said Matthias Machowinski, the author of the report Unified Communications and IP Contact Centre Market Share and Forecasts. "We still expect IP contact centre sales to grow but if you go from 37% to 5%, let's say it could be considered a disappointment."

He said added that the IPCC market will slow down in 2009, but should do relatively well as customers find IP contact centres, self service and automation cost effective ways to deliver on customer service. "The communicator market continues to be fluid, with growth not yet following established patterns and market share positions shifting one period to the next as PBX vendors battle each other and Microsoft," Machowinski continued. "It's an exciting market to watch and one that should thrive in 2009, even as the overall enterprise telephony market declines due to the economic environment."

Avaya still leads the IPCC market but lost share to Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent, while Nortel takes the lead in unified messaging license market share. Avaya maintains its lead in revenue market share but Cisco is now a close 3rd in both categories.

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