Polycom's Thorson: Hosted VoIP is HOT

WebRTC a complement but not a substitute

Taking advantage of a slightly quieter summer, we sat down recently with Chris Thorson, Director of Marketing at Polycom to talk about unified communications current market trends, with a particular focus on desktop voice.  Polycom has become well know more recently for its video and collaboration solutions, but it also still offers a broad portfolio of conference and desktop phones.

An industry veteran, Thorson observed that as voice communications has evolved from analog to digital to VoIP, with each shakeup the major players have changed.   The transition to VoIP brought have specialists in call control, applications, and devices often coming from different suppliers, although the most recent trend for call control and apps is for these to reside in the cloud.

Thorson also noted that growth in cloud based VoIP (also market as hosted VoIP) is “hot”—approaching a 30% growth rate year over year.  Growth for hosted is especially good for the small business sector because, according to Thorson, “lots of SMBs don’t want to bother with phone systems.” 

Good growth for hosted voice doesn’t suggest premise-based call control or apps are stagnant; rather, these solutions’ growth rates are growing year-over-year in the mid-single digits.  Thorson is bullish on growth opportunities since the life cycle for an average PBX is, in his observation 5 to 7 years, and the last major overhaul for most PBXs was “in response to the Y2K factor,” with replacements for these systems mitigated by a the global recession over the last few years. 

Looking to the future, when asked about how WebRTC will fit in, Thorson suggested that while WebRTC can be complimentary to today’s voice solutions, it is not a substitute, especially when it comes to multi-party voice. 

Our thanks to Thorson for sharing his views on the state of voice solutions. 

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