State Of Technology: Networking Growth In VoIP, Video6:00 PM EST Fri. Jun. 20, 2008
VoIP and other technologies related to unified communications (UC), including IP videoconferencing and unified messaging, are among the areas where VARs expect to see the fastest revenue growth this year, according to results of Everything Channel's 2008 State of Technology: Networking survey of solution providers.
Network integrators say that the move toward IP communications is critical to their success, giving them both the opportunity to build high-value solutions and to pull through product sales and services around the network infrastructure on which it all rides. More than 40 percent of solution providers said they are providing VoIP solutions, while VoIP, unified messaging and IP videoconferencing are being eyed as the best hopes for growth in the future.
What does all that suggest? That the two overarching technologies—networking and IP communications—are now inextricably linked.
While VoIP continues to play a central role in the IP communications market, solution providers say they are now finding success by branching out even further, looking to add other pieces of the communications pie. If there's a single piece that could be said has the most new traction in the market, it's IP videoconferencing. Nearly 22 percent of the solution providers surveyed plan to add IP videoconferencing to their portfolios this year.
Stalwart infrastructure technologies such as wired networking, wireless networking and network management also continue to be strong performers, as they form the foundation on which these new UC solutions rest.
Surveyed solution providers named network management as their most profitable technology segment, with VoIP close behind. Meanwhile, technologies such as 802.11n high-speed wireless and Gigabit Ethernet switches are driving equipment upgrades.
Dimension Data sees wireless and mobility solutions as one of its big bets, said Nadeem Ahmad, director of global technology at the Reston, Va.-based solution provider.
Despite economic tremors, solution providers in the networking space remain optimistic. Nearly 30 percent of partners expect the networking market to grow in the next 12 to 18 months, while 54 percent expect it to remain flat. Only 11 percent said they expect the networking space to cool down. VoIP and wireless are the top two technologies solution providers said will help drive market growth.
To seek out those growth opportunities, many network integrators are targeting SMB customers, with both wired and wireless networking, as well as VoIP, expected to play particularly well among customers with fewer than 100 employees.
A majority of solution providers said they try to provide multi-vendor, best-of-breed solutions, with less than one-third preferring the single-vendor approach. That leaves plenty of room for vendors seen as the most strategic partners, such as Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, SonicWall and Linksys to jockey for channel hearts and minds.