Report Touts VOIP Test Market

The VOIP testing market is heading for some good times, according to market researchers, but some in the business say it won't be a separate market for long.

The crystal ball gazers at Frost & Sullivan say the market for VOIP test equipment is set to rocket in the next five to six years (see VOIP Boost Spurs T&M).

The research company believes the launch of VOIP services around the world will propel the VOIP test and measurement market balloon from $133 million in 2003 to $607 million in 2010.

The F&S team notes that current demand is for R&D toolsets, as carriers and enterprises check out VOIP and take the first steps to deployment. As the range and scope of services grow and mature, they reckon a bulk of spending will go to monitoring and maintenance products.

It's tough to gauge exactly how much the market will be worth, but vendors say they've noticed a significant upturn in business. "There's been a massive uptick in activity in the past nine months," says Alan Clark, CEO of VOIP test solution specialist Telchemy Inc., which markets its products to large equipment companies and probe and analyzer vendors. Clark says Telchemy has recently added three new customers to take its total to 16.

All four companies involved in the recent Light Reading Webinar, "VOIP Testers: Mission-Critical Tools" -- Acterna Corp., Empirix Inc., Navtel Communications Inc., and Spirent Communications -- noted an increase in demand for VOIP test solutions.

"We think the biggest growth area will come in installation, maintenance and, probably most of all, in the area of VOIP monitoring," says Empirix marketing director Gordon Eddy. "We're making a significant investment in this area, and believe this will be a major growth area in the next couple of years as VOIP is deployed by carriers and enterprises." But one of the speakers for that event says the market may be short-lived. Bahaa Moukadam, the VP of Spirent's IP Telephony Group, agrees that the market will experience strong growth, but he says "market requirements for test gear will migrate in the next two to three years from pure IP telephony to converged test tools that can test voice, video, and data together. "By 2010, there won't be a separate VOIP test market as there is now."

The market is also going to draw niche competitors. "New players usually follow the money, and this is a hot area," Moukadam says. Eddy at Empirix agrees: "A number of new competitors are popping up in the niche areas of VOIP testing and monitoring markets, despite the recent meltdown in the telecom space. There is an allure to this space, and folks are carving out specific test niches to try and exploit."

— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch

A recording of the Light Reading webinar "VOIP Testers: Mission-Critical Tools" is available in the Webinar archives.

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