Research carried out among 17,000 IT managers by the global research and consulting company, Eastern Management Group, found that sales of SIP phones, both corded and wireless, are growing steadily for several reasons - among them the growing popularity of hosted PBX and PBXs built on open source technologies.
The research identifies that although most hosted PBX sales are to small and medium size businesses and account for less than 10% of all PBX endpoint sales, the market is experiencing significant growth.
"We know this from our own dealings of companies that are in the SME bracket - they are increasingly switched onto the features and benefits of hosted telephony," said James Passingham, CEO of independent managed communications provider, Foehn.
EMG points out that today's target customer for a hosted PBX is typically a multi-location small or medium business (under 10 branches) and the initial hosted PBX sale is 1-3 locations and 10-25 SIP phones.
"In the UK, SMEs represent a sizeable proportion of the overall business market and the rise of hosted PBX is presenting significant marketing opportunities, certainly evidenced by the number of suppliers in this vibrant sector," added Passingham.
The report also highlights the fact that many new PBXs are built on open source software frameworks, such as Asterisk from Digium. With open source continuing to mushroom in popularity among businesses and organisations in the public and non-for-profit sectors, the open source PBX represents a massive market and is driving the adoption of SIP phones.
EMG identifies that approximately 10% of all new PBX systems qualify as open source, a trend that is benefiting the low end of the market, with 75% of open source endpoints being on PBXs with fewer than 50 end users. Open source PBX appliances also have an average of 54 phone extensions.
"EMG concludes that it is 'bullish' about the market for SIP phones, although does - as you would expect - factor in potential dampeners such as the world economy and unemployment," said Passingham. "From our own experience of marketing and selling +both hosted and open source solutions, SIP has come of age, partly because Internet access is faster and at the heart of communication in most businesses, but also because hosted and open source PBXs are driving take-up, as borne out by EMG's research."