The cloud-hosted VoIP market is nothing less than amazing. It is one of the fastest growing technology markets in North America and the rest of the world, particularly with small-to-medium-size businesses. More and more service providers are getting into the picture, wanting a piece of the lucrative and burgeoning market.
You may come to wonder: Is there really a big market for VoIP service providers? Where is the industry headed? What are the opportunities for new service providers?
The industry impresses when you look at numbers alone. A report by Frost & Sullivan shows the astonishing growth of the hosted VoIP industry in the last few years. A 5% growth each year is a minimum.
The year 2013 ended with users at a high 5 million. This represents a 30.5 percent increase from 2012's number of users. That's an increase of more than a million cloud VoIP users.
Much of the growth is attributed to the adoption of business VoIP. This segment has close to 40% of overall VoIP sales in 2014. That's an almost 10% growth from the previous year. In business VoIP, it is still managed IP PBX taking a big chunk of the sales share. However, what's extremely promising is how cloud unified communication solutions has become the new growth segment since last year. There are consistent jumps in the demand for enterprise cloud-hosted VoIP services each year. It enjoyed an 8% increase in demand in 2014.
Such a lucrative market should be incentive enough for new cloud-hosted VoIP service providers to get into the game.
With all this happening in the cloud VoIP industry, what could possibly be holding back its more rapid adoption? The answer lies in three main attitudes about VoIP.
Traditional phone works fine: If your business has invested a lot in complex in-premises legacy phone systems, switching to VoIP is understandably a hard decision. Cloud-hosted VoIP provides a good reliable and affordable option.
Distrust with the new technology: VoIP's reliance of internet connection can be a concern for some. Likewise, there is still the persistent issue of security.
Crowded and confusing vendor market: Sometimes, it's just a matter of not knowing where to start. The vendor market in some locations may be crowded, and provides little guidance on an efficient way of shifting to VoIP.
A new entrant in the cloud-hosted VoIP market should keep in mind the results of a 2013 survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan. In it, samples from the business VoIP European and US market ranked security (86%), reliability (85%) and price (81%) as the top considerations in selecting a service provider.
It then comes down to making sure your VoIP business can offer these “benefits.” These shouldn't even be considered benefits, really – these are requisites. A good way to compete in the cloud-hosted VoIP industry is to differentiate your business through the qualities that client-companies look for: security, reliability and price.
Foremost when it comes to ensuring security and reliability is monitoring your service 24/7. This puts you on top of your service performance and enables you to respond to possible network problems in a timely manner. Call monitoring or VoIP testing is your first layer of security. It ensures that your service is reliable – you can be counted on to offer consistently powerful connections.
Likewise, persistent VoIP monitoring implies that you are more capable of supporting unified communications (UC) services, which include several conferencing and mobility tools. UC is a key factor in the massive switch to business VoIP. Talk to VoIP Spear about setting up VoIP monitoring from our global testing locations.
VoIP monitoring solutions by VoIP Spear can provide you valuable insight on your service's performance and quality. Monitor and improve your network first – then, differentiate your service with “perks,' such as hassle-free troubleshooting and support, UC management solutions and others.
The biggest VoIP market today is still the underserved small- to medium-scale business (SMB) segment. These smaller businesses are deemed more likely to seek affordable and reliable technology solutions that help them become more competitive. Cloud-based VoIP is perfect for this market because of its scalability, flexibility and low barrier to entry.
Thus, service differentiation means catering to specific needs of this market. Cloud-hosted VoIP service providers should take care of basics: reliability, quality, VoIP monitoring, ease-of-use and back-office efficiency. And then, that's when you can up-sell with enhanced mobility, collaboration tools, soft clients and more.
There is still a big growth potential in cloud-hosted VoIP, especially with SMBs. But it is important to guarantee the basics first in order to shatter barriers to adoption.