Heavy Reading Eyeballs VOIP Control

The players in the niche session border controller market can breathe a little easier -- it looks as if time is on their side.

Larger VOIP softswitch players have no firm plans to incorporate session border control features into their products, even while service provider customers are starting to ask for them, according to a report released recently by Heavy Reading, the market research arm of Light Reading.

This should come as good news to purveyors of that specialty product, the session border controller (SBC). (See Session Controllers Stir IPO Interest.) One of the big questions about that market has been whether the products would eventually just turn into features of larger products. For now, the Heavy Reading report says, that isn't so.

"Most major softswitch vendors are not ready to address session border control as a strategic part of their next-generation network plans,” says Graham Beniston, the Heavy Reading senior analyst who wrote the 117-page report.

The softswitch vendors, Beniston says, are relying on partnerships with smaller SBC specialist companies to deliver SBC functions to their customers. Rather than develop their own expertise, he says, those vendors are likely to acquire smaller specialists when the time is right.

Meanwhile, the larger incumbent vendors are still looking down from 30,000 feet. “Suppliers such as Alcatel, Ericsson, Lucent, and Siemens are still shaping their ‘big picture’ VOIP architectures and are concentrating their strategic thinking on that area," Beniston says. “This should help SBC specialists maintain a leadership role in defining their market.”

The new report -- "VOIP Session Border Controllers: A Heavy Reading Competitive Analysis” -- provides an exhaustive feature-by-feature look at 40 different SBC products from 23 suppliers and includes head-to-head comparisons.

The SBC space has been referred to by some in the investment community as “the last frontier” of products in the VOIP infrastructure. The mean age of the main players in the SBC space is probably around five years.

Then again, the market isn't huge. Infonetics Research Inc. expects revenues from SBC sales to grow to more than $430 million per year by 2007.

VOIP industry observers say service providers and others have only during the last two years begun including SBC functionality in their requests for proposal (RFPs) and identifying the devices as distinct and crucial network elements.

The data in the Heavy Reading report was compiled from interviews with SBC vendors and other research, and was written for use by service providers, SBC vendors, systems integrators, consultants, and members of the investment community.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

VOIP Session Border Controllers: A Heavy Reading Competitive Analysis is available from Heavy Reading at $3,495. For more details, please click on this link.

dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 3:23:14 AM
re: Heavy Reading Eyeballs VOIP Control As the article implies, SBCs offer no extra value that a soft swithc or other VoIP product could not do. When the time comes, SBCs will just become another check box in a product feature set.

SBC companies are delivering a product to a temprary market.
materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:23:10 AM
re: Heavy Reading Eyeballs VOIP Control The SBC guys could have a solid "exit strategy" via acquisition once those giant vendors scope out the situation from their high perches.
turing 12/5/2012 | 3:23:05 AM
re: Heavy Reading Eyeballs VOIP Control As I said in response to your same message in the other article about this topic: that's what people said about firewalls, yet CheckPoint and Netscreen still seem to do ok. Routers, PCs, and servers all have some firewall features in them, but it doesn't stop the stand-alone firewall market from being successful.
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