EMEA IP telephony market "worth $3.5 billion"

A new report claims that the market across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for internet protocol (IP) telephony phones and exchanges is worth nearly $3.5 billion, based on figures released for 2011.

The report, by the International Data Corporation (IDC), says that this year-on-year growth in IP telephony was particularly strong in the Central and Eastern European zones, where the market grew by 35.5% in comparison with 2010 figures.

Year-on-year growth however was also witnessed in Western Europe, standing at 7.3%.

The IDC report noted that technology across the industry in the different parts of the EMEA region had shown increasing signs of convergence, although different IP telephony service and equipment suppliers had focused on particular aspects of what they were able to offer prospective clients.

These selling points, the report said, included provision for videoconferencing and the ready adaptation to their use with staff’s own personal mobile devices (the so-called ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) trend).

Other facilities promoted included unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), whereby the end user can access communications from differing sources at a single point, and the capacity to offer remote, hosted IP telephony services, such as those offered from a business voice over internet protocol (VoIP) provider or VoIP reseller.

Looking ahead, the report’s author, Michael Vorisek, a senior analyst with IDC, commented that IP telephony and business VoIP solutions were likely to be increasingly promoted as routes into the area of UC&C, adding that:

“Vendors’ strategic choices for IP PBX architecture, endpoints, and technology alliances are… increasingly being defined by their overall UC&C strategies.”

The report’s depiction of a buoyant IP telephony market concurs with other recent reports, which home in on the flexibility and cost-related advantages for many businesses of replacing or adapting traditional business phone systems with those using IP and business VoIP communications technologies.