With all of the talk of cloud computing and hosted communications, it is easy to forget that there remains a fairly strong market for physical PBXs. Of course, the traditional TDM based PBX market is falling, but the Hybrid (TDM/IP PBX) and IP PBX markets continue to generate new sales in all geographies and regardless of business size. And the overall size of the market is increasing quarter over quarter over quarter and year over year. However, in addition to technology TDM transitions to IP, and premises equipment versus cloud/hosted communications decisions, economic conditions are also affecting purchasing decisions.
In a yet to be released report by Infonetics, it is reported that in the third quarter the global enterprise PBX market, (TDM, hybrid and IP PBXs), grew 2.8% for the quarter but a 5.6 percent year-over-year decline was observed in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This decrease is attributed to the uncertainty and economic stress these geographies are experiencing. Given the political climate and consumer fears in these areas, I would not see a change to this trend in the immediate future.
The battle for enterprise customers in this space continues to be won by Cisco and Avaya with nearly 50% of the market. NEC and Siemens round out the top four providers of PBXs to this customer base. Other important PBX vendors include, Microsoft, Samsung, ShoreTel, and Mitel with all continuing to show growth.
Business communications solutions using IP PBXs and Hosted Unified Communications reflect the growing need for diverse applications that support BYOD, collaboration and the integration of telecommunications and business processes.
After mixed results upon its introduction, Microsoft Lync now leads the Unified Communications (UC) application market experiencing 40 percent growth in the third quarter. Research and Markets forecast hosted UC to grow at a CAGR of 20.99% from 2011-2015.
Interestingly, mobility offers the best opportunity for leading communications vendors and service providers to change the dynamics of market leadership in UC. Ultimately, the vendors or service providers that best combine UC and mobility will generate significant market pull.