Growing VoIP and Unified Communications Market Means More Opportunities for MSPs

By Laura Stotler

A recent report from Infonetics Research shows that managed service providers (MSPs) should anticipate hosted VoIP and unified communications services seats to more than double between 2012 and 2016. The report also found that global service provider revenue from business and residential VoIP services reached nearly $58 billion in 2011, representing 16 percent growth from the previous year.

The Infonetics report indicates that MSPs have a chance to take advantage of the burgeoning VoIP and unified communications industries, which show no chance of slowing growth. The research also indicates that further VoIP penetration in the SMB market is expected to take off, and as VoIP utilization grows end users will not accept any downtime for their business critical phone systems.

Higher expectations from end users create a challenge for VoIP systems performance as well as MSPs and IT professionals, who are reliant on both VoIP vendors and keeping up their end of SLAs to make customers happy. MSPs may capitalize on the trend by offering VoIP monitoring as a standard IT service to boost revenue and provide their clients with extra assurance through an important, value-added service.

The VoIP opportunity provides a number of advantages to the SMB market, including lower costs and portability, but in order for those types of voice systems to be cost effective, money cannot be wasted on downtime due to bandwidth issues. MSPs typically use remote monitoring tools to ensure that VoIP systems are performing well and that network bandwidth utilization is optimized.

Remote monitoring and management (RMM) software can also show bandwidth draining applications and make suggestions to alleviate the issue. Monitoring traffic flow can ultimately enable an MSP to deliver a better-value added service by improving the speed and quality of VoIP systems while also expanding relationships with clients as they feel more comfortable with moving additional applications to the cloud.

The Infonetics research also shows that unified communications services revenue increased by 33 percent in 2011, with the number of seats increasing by 44 percent. Another important trend pointed out in an Infonetics study, is the growing gap between large and small VoIP providers in North America. By the end of last year, the top hosted VoIP service providers had more than 100,000 VoIP and UC seats, while others had few than 50,000 seats.

"After a banner 2010, 2011 was another year of consolidation in North America among business VoIP service providers,” says Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP and IMS at Infonetics Research. “Though there are still a large number of VoIP service providers in North America, consolidation is starting to separate the large providers from the rest of the pack."

Want to learn more about Managed Service Providers? Then be sure to attend MSPWorld, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Since its inception, MSPWorld has been the only event with a single, vendor-agnostic focus of supporting Managed Service providers and their respective ecosystems. MSPWorld in Austin will delve into the most pressing channel and end-user issues that MSPs and their customers confront every day. For more information on registering for MSPWorld click here.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

MSPToday Contributing Editor

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