Soft phone sales

As companies combine voice and data on to the same network, many large firms are replacing their time division multiplexing private branch exchanges (PBXs) with Internet Protocol (IP) equipment, though not all employees are getting IP phones at their work stations.

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VoIP is hardier than PBX

About a third of all spending on PBXs is done by large companies, according to Infonetics Research of Campbell, Calif. The company this week released a report, dubbed Enterprise Telephony by Organization Size.

Matthias Machowinski, Infonetics’s directing analyst for enterprise voice and data, said multinational firms get fewer hassles and save money when they combine both voice and data on to one network.

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“You can gain lots of benefits by not having to run parallel networks, one for voice not for data,” he said.

Last year, PBX makers sold US$8.5 billion worth of IP equipment, a 12 per cent increase from 2007, Machowinski said, adding the total PBX market is US$9.6 billion.

“That’s how prevelant IP PBXs are,” he said, adding in many cases companies are using IP to control calls but not necessarily extending it to the desktop.

But some companies are installing telephony software on to employees’ workstations, and sales are going “through the roof,” Machowinski said. Manufacturers sold 385,000 soft phones last year, up 55 per cent from the year before.

But many companies are migrating to IP when they decide to upgrade equipment, not because they necessarily prefer IP over TDM.

“I don’t think companies are saying, ‘Wow look at this IP PBX, let’s get rid of this existing TDM PBX.”

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