A recent report from Infonetics Research shows that sales of unified communications, including cloud-based phone services like those offered by Phone.com, jumped 27 percent from the first quarter of 2013 to that of 2014. At the same time, worldwide sales of PBX systems and components fell by eight percent!
The message is very clear—hardware, premises-based systems are on the decline and cloud-based systems are on the rise.
Even though companies like Phone.com have been touting the benefits of cloud-based solutions for many years, what seems to be happening is that the unified communications industry has passed the point of critical mass, and is no longer being questioned on its applicability or viability for companies of all sizes. Cloud solutions simply make too much sense when it comes to capital outlay, flexibility to add and delete accounts, diminished management requirements, and the inevitable obsolescence of hardware systems.
Companies like Microsoft, Avaya, Cisco, NEC and Mitel will continue to offer physical phone systems, but their hardware is no longer on a growth path. They have now been overtaken by cloud-based communications. Larger organizations may retain premises-based systems for some time to come, but even these companies will add hosted solutions as a more economical alternative for smaller facilities.
Finally, I believe that as cloud communications become mainstream, we will see an escalation in the erosion of the communications systems of the past, and even greater growth rates for services like those offered by Phone.com.