Buyers in line for VoIP gear next year

Corporations will increase spending on network gear in the first half of 2004 in several product categories, according to a new report.

Evan Hansen Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Department Editor Evan Hansen runs the Media section at CNET News.com. Before joining CNET he reported on business, technology and the law at American Lawyer Media.
Evan Hansen
2 min read
Corporations will increase spending on network gear in the first half of 2004 in several product categories, including call centers, Internet Protocol telephony, data services and security, according to a new report from online telecommunications marketplace Telezoo.com.

Thursday's report, which studied data compiled from user activity on Telezoo's Web site, found strong buyer interest in voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) products, with Cisco Systems' CallManager receiving the highest consideration rates among potential buyers of IP PBXs (private branch exchanges). Runners-up were AltiGen Communications' AltiServ Office, and Shoreline Communications' IP Voice Communication System.

Cisco also led the competition in VoIP gateway products, which link IP networks to the traditional phone network, although Telezoo noted significant customer interest in Oki Network Technologies' BV1250 VoIP Gateway and Quintum Technologies' digital Tenor VoIP MultiPath Switch.

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More broadly, Telezoo said customer doubts about shifting to IP PBXs have faded in 2003, laying the groundwork for strong sales of VoIP gear and services in 2004.

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"While primary research on Telezoo buyers indicates that many of them believe IP PBX technology is not mature enough yet to replace the traditional TDM (time division multiplexing)-based PBX system, the pressure of containing costs and a general demand for VoIP have turned browsers into buyers in 2003," the study concluded.

Other trends noted in the report were generally predictable, such as brand recognition and vendor stability being key factors in buying decisions.

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In one surprise result, however, the report found that corporate network gear buyers may be preparing increased spending on Internet access in 2004. Qwest Communications International and Cable & Wireless' T1 products earned the highest consideration rates, Telezoo reported, although XO Communications' T1 Dedicated Internet Access gained some ground.

Cisco dominated in two of the four categories Telezoo identified as likely growth leaders in 2004.

In addition to VoIP, Cisco edged out most other vendors in call center products, with Cisco's IP Contact Center and Avaya's Merlin Magix Integrated System topping the list. More than 50 percent of the traffic in the call center category originated in Asia, Telezoo said.

But Cisco trailed in the security category, placing behind Check Point Software Technologies' Firewall-1 in consideration rates among Telezoo site visitors. Cisco's PIX 500 Series Firewall and SonicWall Pro 330 came in second and third, respectively.

Telezoo also reported strong buyer interest in managed VPN (virtual private network) services, with vendors AT&T and XO receiving the most attention.

It said its study analyzed more than 3 million queries from professional information technology managers on 4,000 products and services, worth some $45 billion in potential sales.