Although voice business declined last year, the overall prognosis for the industry is still positive. The IT downturn has improved vendors’ focus on applications that demonstrate clear ROI, putting them in a strong position as technology markets begin to recover. The entrance of major tech companies such as Oracle and Microsoft will also drive industry growth.
A new report forecasts that the voice business market will return to positive growth in 2002.
According to Datamonitor’s report, Voice Portals and Applications, the supply-side market for voice business technologies and services was worth $629 million at the end of 2001, a decline of 3% from 2000. However, the market should return to positive growth this year, reaching $4.33 billion by 2007.
The silver lining of this delay has been a transformation of the industry: vendors have been forced to apply their technologies to actual business needs. As a result, many vendors have been able to demonstrate return on investment (ROI) to enterprises and service providers.
Currently, the greatest opportunity for voice technology vendors is customer-facing enterprise applications. These applications have a proven ability to cut costs, and though enterprises are not investing much, when they do invest, it is in applications that can demonstrate ROI.
But while the service provider market is suffering from the generalized telco malaise and less proven application business cases, it will be the greater growth opportunity by 2003-04. This will benefit the enterprise market in later years, by exposing consumers to voice technologies.
The Financial Services industry continues to drive voice business, serving as a proving ground for emerging applications. The Retail Banking and Investments & Securities verticals are introducing speech technology to the masses, and will remain the largest voice services markets. Over the next few years, the Healthcare & Pharma sector will be a major new opportunity, with a compound annual growth rate 10% above any other vertical market.
There are a number of exciting developments in the speech recognition industry. Deployments are on the rise, revenues will soon return to positive growth, and the industry is ready to solve many business needs.
Large technology vendors such as Oracle, Sun, and Microsoft have increased their presence in this space. While this has caused some concern among voice vendors, it nevertheless represents significant opportunities for the market.
Related research: Datamonitor, Voice Portals and Applications (DMTC0848)
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