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Enterprise Apps to Drive Hosted VoIP Service

In North America and Western Europe, large companies will play an increasing role in VoIP adoption, according to a recent study from ABI Research. Hosted services will be used on a more regular basis as well, becoming a stronger engine for enterprise VoIP growth in the future.

"Increasingly, hosted services will interest larger organizations and will be offered by a greater number of service providers -- as premises-deployed, small-business VoIP solutions become more cost-effective -- targeting advanced features and applications," says Stan Schatt, ABI Research vice president and research director.

The hosted services market for VoIP applications initially focused on smaller companies. Typically, SMB companies do not have the IT staff or the budget to install their own VoIP systems. As a result, they often rely on service providers for VoIP services that include the type of features found in large enterprise phone networks.

Larger companies tend to deploy their own solutions just because they have an IT staff and a significant budget. That said, I wonder if the available technical staff could be better utilized if they were working on business alignment projects that were requested by the CEO.

"However," adds Schatt, "there are some large companies scattered in myriad locations that opt for hosted services." Service providers have not focused on large-enterprise-hosted phone services, but this is likely to change in the future as telecom operators face new competition in the smaller-business market from cable operators, and other alternative service providers.

"And as the forecast period progresses, larger companies will adopt hosted services. This is attributed to several factors, including hesitance to invest in new premises equipment and an interest to upgrade satellite offices that require larger equipment installations than if the volume of users were centralized in one location -- thus making a hosted service more economically feasible."

ABI Research believes that service providers will take their experience with easy-to-serve small companies and adaptively re-size the applications to favor larger companies.

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