Report predicts strong growth in softphone market

A new report claims that softphone acquisition is likely to rise sharply over the next six years, with a global market expected to be worth $217.2 million by 2017; the equivalent of 2.9 million unit sales.

Softphones permit the transmission and reception of voice calls via a desktop computer or laptop, without the need for any conventional telephony hardware. They are already used fairly extensively in many call centres.

According to the report by research organisation Global Industry Analysts (GIA), the demand for softphones is likely to increase among the wider business community for two main reasons.

Firstly, softphones can help companies save on the costs of phone handsets.

Secondly, the increased prevalence of business VoIP (voice over internet protocol), and the rise in the use of internet protocol (IP) telephony, are both likely to encourage a closer working relationship between the phone and the computer. This is because IP telephony and business VoIP both use the internet rather than conventional telephone lines for voice calls and other telephony transmissions.

That IP telephony and business VoIP are both likely to grow is a fact generally agreed on by most industry observers, mainly due to: easier management of business phone systems connections; the ability to use the same extension regardless of geographical location; and decreased call costs.

Even though business VoIP handsets are an option, the GIA report predicts that business VoIP is still generally likely to encourage the use of softphones.

Even for those businesses unlikely to be able to afford to change their existing business phone systems, it is believed that IP telephony and business VoIP will still become a widespread feature, owing to the relatively inexpensive option of adapting conventional phone lines via session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking connections; or by subscribing to the services of a host business VoIP provider or VoIP reseller.