Infonetics Research is poised to release its "Enterprise Unified Communications and Voice Equipment" report on March 4, but it has already released some preliminary analysis as well as the vendor market share reports.
The report’s content is already set to shake up a lot of folks in the field, thanks to two critical conclusions found therein, among plenty of others likely to hit.
The early word coming from the Infonetics Research report had two critical points associated with it: one, while demand went up for PBX supplies overall, revenue was down. And two, there's likely to be a major showdown brewing in 2013 and beyond in terms of the various vendors of unified communications (UC) material, as they duke it out to get the business that is out there.
The PBX market, according to Infonetics Research's Diane Myers, had previously seen two years' worth of growth, but found itself in a fairly tough environment for 2012. The overall market conditions led to the thoroughly bizarre situation of shipments growing, and therefore sales growing, but revenue winding up down as pressures on pricing continued to grow as well.
Not only were businesses interested in PBX technology, but they were interested in getting the best deal they could, making much easier by the growing numbers of businesses overall who sought PBX technology in the first place. A combination of bigger interest but a constant demand for lower prices led the industry overall to suffer.
The EMEA region saw a huge hit in the market – a 10-percent loss over the previous year – while the North American and APAC regions picked up 2- and 1-percent gains, respectively.
This leads nicely into Infonetics Research's second point: get ready for a showdown. All these firms in the market – sufficient numbers of firms to allow companies to do a lot of dictating in terms of pricing – mean there's likely to be some frontrunners who decide there are too many firms in the market. Those firms will use their power accordingly to try and get some firms out of the industry.
Some of the big matchups likely will include Microsoft taking on Cisco, and a possible side battle between Cisco, Mitel and ShoreTel, the only vendors who put up revenue gains in 2012 over the previous year.
While Cisco is holding its lead for the sixth consecutive quarter, Avaya and Siemens are also making gains as the rest of the top three.
Given that the global market for PBX / KTS hit $8.1 billion in 2012 – and given further that this represented a drop of 4 percent from 2011 – it's easy to see why there are so many companies eager for a slice of the PBX pie. That means some major battles are likely to get fired up in earnest before the end of 2013, and by this time next year, the overall picture may look much different from the one we're seeing even now.
Only 2014 will ultimately tell what the 2013 PBX market looked like, but it’ll be a battle to watch nonetheless.