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UC Expo: Millennials, Collisions & Video April 28, 2016

Posted by Dominic Black in Uncategorized.
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Last week at Olympia London we saw many vendors repeat the same messages as they addressed the impact of millennials on the workforce, digitisation and video. Cisco highlighted the importance of using collaboration tools to create ‘collisions’ in the workforce – we understand the point they were trying to make but the term is often perceived with negative connotations, particularly in the insurance industry!

Microsoft’s put significant effort into the event with a big presence on various stages and in the exhibition space. They are now strongly positioning themselves in the UC space and Cavell believes that their success will continue in the coming years, especially in Large Enterprises. Microsoft also demonstrated their Cloud PBX for the first time in the UK which allows users to run Skype for Business services in Office 365. Handset manufacturer Yealink were also showcasing their Skype for Business integrations with their new range of handsets.

What Cavell are seeing more and more of is vendors driving innovation by encouraging developers to develop on their platform. We are interested to see how this plays out in the future as all major vendors, including Broadsoft, Genband, Cisco, Microsoft, are undertaking various Hackathons. Cisco’s announcement in March shows their commitment to having external developers use their platform as they hope their Spark Innovation Fund of $150m dollars will drive development.

“Disrupt or be disrupted.” – Marianne Calder, Cisco opening keynote, UC Expo 2016

Cavell will looking in-depth in the next few months of what how the relationship between Service Providers, Vendors and Developers will change in the future as this is an area where there is some really interesting changes that we think will impact the Voice market in the future.

Cavell are off to Orlando next week for GENBAND Perceptives 2016 where Matt Townend is speaking. We look forward to seeing all those who are attending there!

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Is Microsoft Lync (Skype for Business) going to be side-lined to Messaging and Presence as Genband announce WebRTC web client for Lync? April 17, 2015

Posted by Matthew Townend in Uncategorized.
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GENBAND yesterday announced the introduction of what they claim to be the first WebRTC-based Real Time Communications Client for Lync to seamlessly combine real-time communications with Lync Instant Messaging (IM) and Presence.

“We’re shaking up the economics of delivering Unified Communications (UC) and offering a compelling way to integrate previously bespoke communications technologies,” said Carl Baptiste GENBAND’s Senior Vice President, Enterprise Solutions. “We’re offering enterprises the best of both worlds by combining our own high availability voice, video and collaboration with Lync’s IM and Presence; creating a single, web centric, client.  Our RTC Client for Lync is delivered like a web page but operates like a traditional desktop or mobile application. More importantly, it looks familiar to Lync users so they don’t need to be retrained and IT organizations aren’t burdened with the cost and complexity of expanding Lync infrastructure to support real-time communications.”

This announcement is interesting from two points of view. Firstly it is interesting that another provider is building a Lync solution for Voice and Video as it appears that Microsoft have not had the break through they might have expected in this area. Also, the service provider community seem a little more wary of Microsoft since they rebranded Lync to Skype for Business, as Skype as been a clear competitor of Telco’s for years, and solutions like this may give another avenue to embrace the clear benefits of Microsoft desktop without having to risk tying your future wholly to “Skype for Business”.

Secondly this is an example of how Web RTC is starting to be used to deliver experiences to the customer straight from the browser that would have previously required bespoke application development. With Genband pushing WebRTC strongly, its good to see them incorporating its benefits in the core of their own services

To find out more go to: www.genband.com/media-center/press-releases/genband-introduces-first-webrtc-based-real-time-communications-client

UK IP/SIP Market Continue to Grow Strongly February 12, 2013

Posted by Matthew Townend in Uncategorized.
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illume completed its survey of VoIP Service provider in January, the survey showed that the SIP/IP trunking market shows no sign of slowing down with growth of 25% June-December 2012. The market was 757,928 trunks at the end of 2012, a growth of 60% year on year.

The survey saw strong performance among key players in the market and an increasing focus from Softswitch vendors such as Broadsoft, Genband & Cisco on the need for their story to incorporate SIP/IP trunks alongside Hosted services.

We explored with the providers what were the key customer drivers and although costs versus ISDN is still the most important there is an increasing understanding that other benefits such as “Flexibility” & “Business Continuity” are also key.  Among the providers serving the larger enterprises we also saw the importance of SIPT as an enabler for Unified Communications growing in importance.  

In the coming year we expect to see more focus on what applications can be layered on top of a SIP trunk,  and how Services Providers can really address Hybrid Hosted & SIP environments and bring benefits of Unified Communications to both traditional PBX & hybrid customer scenarios.

This year we saw a number of new entrants in to the SIP market and a number of new announcements. In December we saw the launch from Talk Talk business of their “Next Generation ISDN30 service” which caught our eye. In effect this service utilises a SIP network and a gateway to deliver a customer the choice to terminate; ISDN, SIP or a mix of channels, bringing the customer some of the flexibility and service benefits associated with SIP to a traditional ISDN environment. We have seen this approach used in other international markets; recently we have been working in the South African market where a number of competitors to Telkom used this approach to attack existing ISDN market, effectively offering like for like services.

One of the other issues on everybody’s lips has been what the impact of Microsoft Lync is, our survey showed that less than 20% of providers had tested with Lync. The providers who have been approved for Lync, indicated that although they had seem some business coming through it was still a relatively small percentage of their overall base, although having the capability had opened up a number of customer discussion they may not have had if they were unable to offer such a capability. Microsoft are clearly generating a lot of enterprise interest behind Lync but its still unclear if it will really replace the PBX.

2013 Forecast & Report

illume and its parent company Cavell are investing in its research capability this year and plan to expand its portfolio and team . On the 19th of February we will launch our annual Hosted VoIP Forecast and report & our SIP/IP trunking report & forecast both of which will enter into more detail on the issues discussed above as well as providing our forecast for the market. If you would like to find out more about Cavell or our research capabilities please visit www.cavellgroup.com or email Matt Townend matthew.townend@cavellgroup.com

Microsoft Lync – Opportunity or Threat to Service Providers October 15, 2012

Posted by Matthew Townend in Uncategorized.
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Within our Global Service provider customer base we are being asked more and more about our opinions of Microsoft Lync. Service providers are interested to understand its real role in the market as it certainly appears to be getting traction in certain segments of the market..  In principal it can be seen to have a number of roles:

–          Fully Converged Unified Communications: The capability to replace an onsite PBX, and provide additional video, presence and messaging capabilities

–          Supplement PBX Infrastructure: Provide advanced Unified Coms capability, but utilise existing PBX for voice

–          Singe Customer Hosted Capability: Provide either full or partial capability for a single customer in a data centre environment

–          Multi-tenant Hosted Capability: A service provider builds a solution it can offer to multiple different customers from one technical environment, competing with the likes of Broadsoft/Genband

Evidence of Current Market Acceptance

illume has found it difficult to get clear evidence from Microsoft on how successful it is being in these areas. However at the recent UK Convergence Summit Steve Tassell from Microsoft commented that “Globally there are over 3 million voice lines are connected using Lync” and “We have hundreds of thousand of true PBX type Voice seat deployed in the UK”.

From our surveys we are struggling to see that there can be so much adoption of Lync as a true operational PBX replacement. We would have expected to see evidence of a massive growth in SIP trunking, among the Service providers who are offering connectivity to Lync.  So far in the UK although seeing an upturn in interest in terminating Lync there are still only a limited number of providers certified, which can be found at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/lync/fp179863 and in our last SIP trunking survey at the end of July there was no massive increase in Lync related SIP trunks in the UK.

I think the confusion maybe one of terminology, I am sure that Microsoft has deployed the number of Licenses with the full functionality they mention, but whether they are all being used in a full operational PBX replacement  mode maybe the question.  Indeed over a beer recently a customer told me they were looking to deploy Lync as a PBX replacement, and contacted their Microsoft partner only to be told they already had the licenses they needed.

I think there is little doubt that Microsoft Lync is already having a significant impact in the Unified Communications space, the question is whether this will indeed lead to a full replacement of existing Voice capability and technology.  I think we are starting to see market acceptance and probably 10s of thousands of Voice line already operational in the UK, and this is surely starting to impact traditional PBX vendors.  Also its clear that a large number of Microsoft customers could easily migrate to the solution at some point in the future.

I think on the downside the migration from PBX is going to be slower than suspected, as in a large number of markets enterprises already have fairly advanced  IP PBXs and it may be hard to convince them to forsake these in the short term, unless they are at a renewal point or the  UC benefits are so compelling to overcome any such objection.  So in short-term there we believe there will be significant numbers of full Voice customers, but the major opportunity will be in offering other UC capabilities.

The other market that Microsoft Lync has been positioned to attack is the Hosted Multi-tenant space, where service providers offer a capability to multiple customers off one infrastructure. This market is quite a developed market with the likes of Broadsoft, Genband and Cisco HCs being quite advanced in this space. Microsoft has demonstrated a potential architecture for Service Providers, via their partner SIPCOM.  The architecture seems to utilize a number of technology partners including Brocade, Juniper, Hp etc. I am less convinced that Microsoft will be successful in this space for a couple of reasons:

Service Providers Committed:  Most service providers in the World have already made a choice of platform for this space, be that Broadsoft, Genband, Cisco or another vendor. So the ability for Microsoft to displace this technology may be very difficult

Technical Solutions: Service providers have found that deploying these infrastructures, when they are from one vendor always is more difficult than they expect. So to deploy a architecture where there are multiple parties is likely to put them off.  I guess Microsoft is likely to offer to do this for SPs but generally my experience is Service providers do not like to outsource these choices.

New Partner Ship Opportunities

Microsoft has a very established partner ecosystem, and a large number of these partners will have limited understanding of the Voice and Data infrastructure world. There is a great opportunity for service providers to build new partner relationships with these Microsoft partners, to help delivers solutions together and as new channels for your services.

Summary

We think in the coming 12 months there is going to be a very real opportunity for Service providers to deliver the infrastructure to terminate voice traffic from Lync, by offering SIP trunking and Gateway based solution. We also think there is an opportunity to offer hosting infrastructure that can be used to host Lync Customers whether for voice or not.  We are more sceptical about the opportunity for service providers to offering a multi-tenant infrastructure for Lync, and will keep close eye on how this progresses. I guess the nagging thought Service Providers will have, is whether the closer integration between Skype and Lync will lead to more traffic being terminated over Microsoft’s own network and only time will tell on that one.

UK IP/SIP Trunking Market reaches 570,232 July 23, 2012

Posted by Matthew Townend in VoIP Numbers.
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Following the completion of illumes biannual industry research, we can report that the IP/SIP trunking market has reached 570,232 trunks. This figure represents  continued strong growth from the previous period, and shows no signs of slowing up with Service Providers reporting strong funnels in the coming months.

We also looked at where this base was being sold in terms of company size please see chart below:

As you can see by the chart above the market is still dominated by large organisations, who generally have delivered IP/SIP trunks over quality enabled networks. However we are starting to see the impact of both EFM and FTTC  technologies, which will open up the SME opportunity further.

Also Enterprise provider were starting to see customer utilise Microsoft Lync as a replacement to an onsite PBX, and 60% of providers we undertaking testing of Microsoft Lync with their SIP/IP Trunking solutions.

We will be updating our Market reports in August to reflect this latest report. To find our more about our research please go to http://www.illumeconsulting.co.uk/research.shtml

Hosted VoIP market reaches 995059 seats July 22, 2012

Posted by Matthew Townend in VoIP Numbers.
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The VoIP market continues to perform well, although the growth slowed slightly with the market hitting 995,059 seats at the end of June 2012.  While undertaking our research it was also clear that we are starting to see the impact of the new “Multi instance” services being offered by Cisco, Mitel & others with Ciscos HCS service and Mitel MICD services. We have seen recent launches from Talk Talk and Vodafone in the UK market and we know of many global providers looking to role out Cisco’s HCS service in the near future. These launches are normally focussed at the enterprise, where some customers prefer multi instance approach, to the traditional multi tenant. It also signifies a more aggressive move from traditional PBX players into the hosted market, as CPE sales continue to decline.

For the first time illume has also published the split of users by company size showing that there was 22% of the market in 1-10 employee segment, 21% of the market in 11- 50 employees segment,  15% of the market in 51-500 & 42% in the 500+. We also looked at the split of Data usage and its clear that EFM and FTTC technologies are starting to have an impact, but managed ADSL and VPN technologies being most prominent.

The other theme that came through our interviews, was that providers were focussing heavily on the use ability of their services and interfaces rather than a race for new features. Also providers were skill sceptical about the likely success of Microsoft Lync as a Multi tenanted hosted offering.

illume will be updating its market reports and forecast in August to reflect these latest market changes.