For the last three years now, VoIP Logic has released a free annual study about the hosted voice service provider market. The newest study shows that change is still the only constant, while offering insight into other parts of the field.
The 2015 VoIP Service Providers Market Report from VoIP Logic shows that there are three major services appealing to the market. Hosted private branch exchange (PBX) services are out in front, followed by session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking services and data networking. Data networking includes things like IP service, point-to-point circuits, and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS).
Moreover, the study noted that Polycom had lost market share in desktop telephones, but much of that slack was made up by Yealink, which boosted its market share sufficiently to even pass Cisco telephones. Yealink now represents the second most popular option in the hosted PBX market, according to the study. There was also something of a deviation from the norm; while mobile device use in business has grown considerably, softphone clients for Web browsers are actually growing faster than mobile applications.
Even the sales methods of successful firms were studied. The low-touch methods like Web-based selling are on the decline, but high-touch methods like the use of resellers and partners is on the rise. Almost a full quarter—24.9 percent—of firms in the hosted voice service provider market are four years old or younger, and that may be contributing to changes in sales methods. Even the most important variable in sales has
changed; last year it was having an existing customer relationship, and this year it's price. Brand recognition and bundling with other communications services both saw big changes, as brand recognition increased 17.2 percent in importance while bundling dropped 20.1 percent.
Change is the biggest constant in this market. With new firms emerging and old firms fleeing the market, customer values and customer-enterprise communication are sure to change. Change should be expected to some degree; with new technology supplanting older technology, customer demand changes. It's odd that the value of existing relationships would fall against price, but then, if customers are expecting some more difficult times ahead economically, it's not surprising that companies might be circling the wagons a bit.