Strange though it sounds, the economic slowdown in the global economy has benefited the voice business market: vendors have been forced to transform ‘cool technology’ into real business solutions. The market will grow strongly to 2007. However, current vendors will face tough competition from technology giants and vertical players alike.
The voice business market looks set to return to growth by the second half of 2002.
Datamonitor’s new report, Voice Portals and Applications, reveals that the voice business market, defined as the business applications of speech recognition and associated technologies across networks, will grow rapidly over the next five years despite last year’s decline.
By 2007, the supply-side market for voice business technologies and services, worth $629 million today, will grow to $4.33 billion. Growth rates will rise between now and 2006 as voice business gains more traction with enterprises and telcos in particular, and as end-users become more familiar with speaking to machines.
The market will grow fastest in areas where voice portals and applications provide rapid ROI, whether through cost savings or new revenue generation. In the short term, most vendors will target enterprises with large call center costs or call volumes, and demonstrate voice technologies’ ability to cut costs – even by shaving just a few seconds off calls.
From 2003-05, carrier voice portals and applications will grow faster than enterprise portals. Carriers hope to increase revenues though increased network minutes and premium services, and premium voice can help them achieve this. But the increasing uptake among carriers will benefit the enterprise market, as consumers will be more used to voice technologies. It will be the fastest growing again between 2005 and 2007.
At present, enabling software providers dominate the market – but with the increased presence of large technology providers such as IBM and Microsoft, things are bound to change. To protect their position, enabling software vendors will capitalize on their experience and brand by shifting towards application development and services.
Competition will increase even further as new application developers and service providers enter to focus on specific vertical markets: particularly in specialist sectors such as financial services, telecoms and pharmaceuticals.
Related research: Datamonitor, 2002: Voice Portals and Applications (DMTC0848)