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This Frost & Sullivan research service titled European Open Source Telephony Market provides an in-depth analysis of the open source telephony market, covering market drivers, restraints, trends and forecasts.
Cost Benefits Driving Adoption
Open source telephony is gradually gaining traction in Europe due its cost advantages over IP PBX, proprietary call centre products and those supporting proprietary technology. Frost & Sullivan's analysis shows that the cost of an open source telephony 'line' can be up to 40 per cent less than an averagely priced IP PBX/Communication Manager. Total cost of ownership (TCO) comparison indicates a similar picture and the cost benefits are far greater in a call centre environment and in settings where the proportion of 'professional services fee' is higher. Hence, lower prices for similar capabilities are compelling a large number of businesses to turn to open source telephony solutions.
However, open source telephony vendors face a huge challenge in competing against participants that use proprietary technologies. These vendors benefit from their well-established (legacy) market position, brand image, strong distribution network and strong relationship with the customer base. All these factors create a sound competitive advantage, which could hinder the business growth of open source telephony vendors. "The biggest challenge that the open source market has been facing and gradually overcoming is the issue of negative market perceptions," notes the analyst of this research service. "Open-source projects are relatively young and thus, struggle with market concerns and perceptions of lack of support, scalability, functionality or reliability."
SMBs Offer Good Growth Opportunities for Open Source Telephony Vendors
The SMB sector is a natural target market for open source telephony applications in terms of both scale and cost. What is more, small businesses are less cautious and more open to new solutions than larger businesses. With almost 20 million SMBs in the European Union (EU), the SMB sector holds enormous potential for open source telephony vendors. Solutions targeted at the SMB sector should be affordable and have functionalities relevant for SMBs. They also need to be easy to install, maintain and use, since small organizations usually do not have IT resources comparable with the larger ones.
Overall, the European open source telephony markets recorded annual shipment of 739,000 lines in 2007, and are forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 71.1 per cent during the period 2008-2013. This is a very sound growth rate, especially when compared to the traditional telephony market, which, over the same period, is projected to decline with a negative growth rate of 1.9 per cent. "The anticipated entry of carriers is likely to be a growth trigger for the market in the future," says the analyst. "Either as a reseller or a hosted/managed service provider, carrier activity is expected to affect market growth rates from 2011."