Top 10 predictions for VoIP and convergence in 2009

* Suppliers to be focused on execution and less on innovation

We've got to admit that making predictions for 2009 is a little tougher than usual given today's economic challenges and uncertainty, but we're willing to give it a shot provided our readers are willing to understand our perspectives come with less optimism than we normally project. Given the disclaimer, here are our Top 10 predictions for VoIP and convergence in 2009 ...

We've got to admit that making predictions for 2009 is a little tougher than usual given today's economic challenges and uncertainty, but we're willing to give it a shot provided our readers are willing to understand our perspectives come with less optimism than we normally project. Given the disclaimer, here are our Top 10 predictions for VoIP and convergence in 2009 ...1. Infrastructure suppliers will be highly focused on execution and less attentive to innovation in 2009, striving for operational excellence critical in tough times. We expect to see more focus on delivering what has already been promised than on promising what might be delivered.

2. As part of solid execution, systems suppliers will start to focus on the user’s experience. Note that our “apostrophe” in the preceding sentence shows a single possessive: we believe that the 2008 focus on role-based VoIP and convergence features will boil-down with attention paid to every “single” user’s experience wherever possible.

3. Growth in VoIP and UC systems will come more from the SMB market both because more suitable product is now available to supply the market and because the SMB can be more nimble than the large business in deciding how UC can quickly improve on solving a business problem—thus more quickly proving a business case ROI.

4. Video over IP will grow as a way to improve B2B communications, but will it will still largely remain an internally-focused platform within the enterprise EXCEPT when used by the sales force to simultaneously improve customer service yet reduce corporate expenses.

5. IP-Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) growth and innovation will languish as service providers try to figure out deployments on an “application at a time” basis. And service development platform (SDP) architectural progress will fare no better in the service provider environment.

6. WiMAX/ 4G/LTE wireless infrastructure builds will proceed in 2009, but will have no demonstrable effect on enterprise fixed mobile convergence since the service providers’ focus will largely remain on providing consumers with faster broadband vs. offering targeted business FMC depends on 4G mobility.

7. Enterprise infrastructure suppliers will take up the slack where the service providers fall short with 4G-based FMC, and the lion’s share of 4G applications innovation will come from mobile unified communications. Mobile video applications that need 4G will remain elusive (please see points 4 and 6 above).

8. Consolidation among infrastructure suppliers will continue, although some of the consolidation may result from “involuntary” consequences. Consolidation among service providers is less likely.

9. UC deployments will continue to grow, and everybody will keep working toward interoperability with everybody else. However, proving the ROI thresholds will be more important than ever, so suppliers need to be prepared with the best possible modeling tools that prove the case for UC.

10. Our predictions in 12 months for 2010 will be a little more optimistic, and things will get better in 2009.

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