Alexis Argent, founder and director of VoIPon Solutions, is featured in this August 2013 issue of Comms Business Magazine.VoIPon in Comms Business MagazineCommenting in the ‘Market Report: The Future of Communications Platforms’ feature, Alexis spoke about the demise of CPE based PBX, Microsoft Lync and Hybrid PBX Solutions. 

The demise of the CPE based PBX has been heralded and predicted more times than most people can remember. Hosted telephony for example 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?

Ultimately people will always be predicting that some technology or other is about to become defunct. At present, OPEX based hosted telephony still means more cost over the longer term. Plus all the attendant risks that can come with outsourcing, but I agree that proponents of OPEX may well be disappointed with its traction in the market. However, we’re not talking about a completely new technology here, compared to say, the mobile phone, which exploded as it met a previously unfulfilled need. OPEX is competing with an existing solution – businesses already have CPE PBX’s, and there will always be that element of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

That said, things do break, and over time there’s no question people will move to hosted telephony when it’s time to upgrade – but businesses will always need a compelling reason to do so. Long term, as in, the next five to ten years, cloud based systems (and not just telephony but email, CRM and ERP) will prevail.

Especially as the cost continues to come down, the web continues to speed up, tighter SLAs are introduced and people become more comfortable with outsourcing. After all, no-one really likes having to look after their infrastructure.”

Is Microsoft Lync grabbing telephony and UC market share?

In the enterprise market, Lync is gaining market share, although this is largely because of free offers or huge discounts. In the SOHO and SMB market, it probably isn’t. At present there are significantly better and more affordable solutions out there for small to medium businesses.” 

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?

I’d argue that hybrid PBX solutions already exist in the form of VoIP gateways, which can connect a traditional analogue / digital PBX to a hosted telephony system or platform. Sangoma gateways, for example, are high quality, feature rich and flexible enough to provide a best fit solution for individual businesses.”

Visit Comms Business magazine to see these comments as originally featured in the August 2013 issue.

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