The demise of the CPE based PBX has been heralded and predicted more times than most people can remember, but the fact remains that a lot of resellers are still doing well selling PBX systems.
Hosted telephony has made a lot of noise about replacing the PBX with an OPEX based solution but the market share gained by hosted solutions must be disappointing for its proponents. Today all the talk surrounds cloud based provision of applications including telephony but we wonder how much short to medium term impact this is having on the CPE market.
Will any one model or format for telephony really prevail?
I don’t believe this will ever really happen. The market changes regularly, new ideas and developments within unified communications are continuing. It may be that a certain model, for example Lync, or a certain format e.g. Hosted ,Cloud or On-premises appliances will be a leader for some time. However, the advancements are happening at a reasonably fast pace and it is therefore very difficult for any one model/format to prevail.
We have moved from software on servers with cards, to appliances, to cloud platforms. Who’s to say what’s next? This is why it’s important that those who do see themselves as the forerunners in this market ensure they work cross platform and balance interoperability between the manufacturers to deliver a simple solution.
Microsoft Lync will have a huge part to play in the short term, not because of it being a very good solution, but because it is a trusted brand. In regards to which platform will ultimately prevail, I feel very much the same in that no single platform will come out on top. One will lead until something new arises, but at this point in time, I can only see Cloud or Hosted solutions providing a reasonably long term solution to the masses. Most companies don’t want server rooms and appliances clogging up high cost space and costly IT Technicians to ensure everything works smoothly. The Cloud/Hosted solutions offer something different at least for now.
Is Microsoft Lync grabbing telephony and UC market share?
This is certainly the case. Microsoft Lync has been grabbing the headlines for some time and it now seems to be grabbing the market share as well.
Microsoft Lync does possess something stronger than a lot of its competitors which is its brand. Most Directors of companies trust the Microsoft brand as a business solution, so why would you bet against them?
Can we look forward to a hybrid PBX solutions model where every customer application is objectively assessed on its merit for the best solution that fits the user?
For all intents and purposes this is already the case. You can do anything you want with Asterisk, granted you generally would have to do it yourself, but the facility is there. Other IP PBXs are already coming with more options straight out of the box and customers just choose what they want.
Finally, cloud based services offer a tick box solution to customise your PBX. I would say the future looks set to take advantage of further customisation, but not in the way Asterisk did it. I believe this will take place through specific additions to your PBX, that ultimately lead to a telephony system that solely does what the customer requires it to do, and fundamentally no more and no less.
Visit Comms Business magazine to see these comments as originally featured in the November 2013 issue.
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