Solution providers said they expect to ring up increased IP telephony sales as they bring in the new year. While cost savings and the productivity improvements that stem from tying in remote workers will continue to drive VoIP sales in 2005, other technologies linked to converged networking, such as video-over-IP and voice-over-wireless-LAN (VoWLAN), are also spurring adoption, solution providers said.
"We're looking at a three-fold increase in growth just on our VoIP business next year," said Doug Bowlds, vice president at AAC Associates, a Cisco Systems partner in Vienna, Va., whose IP communications division represents about one-quarter of its $15 million in revenue.
AAC Associates has seen widespread acceptance of VoIP among its education, local and federal government customers, Bowlds said. "We have a whole lot more success stories to point to." Growing interest in applications that add video to converged networks is also driving sales of IP telephony to customers that previously wouldn't consider moving to VoIP, Bowlds said.
"Video is helping us extend it to other areas. For example, police [departments] typically have stayed away from VoIP, but once we start showing what they can do [when we add] IP video surveillance, they start getting really interested," he said.
Bowlds said his biggest challenge for 2005 will be finding enough VoIP engineers to fill the open spots on his growing staff. He currently has 15 VoIP-specialized engineers and is looking to add 10 more during the next 12 months.