Is fear of missing out what’s really driving sales of hosted voice for resellers – and if it is, is that a problem for the resellers and the industry?
Astronomical forecasts like this are impressive but we see them all the time. It would be easy to imagine they are designed simply to persuade businesses and consumers to switch over to VoIP right away, and to encourage resellers to start pushing the technology harder for fear of missing out (FOMO).
This is a term has fallen into regular use now, largely due to the phenomena of social media. It’s been used in marketing and advertising for decades. A quick Google search (here’s just one example) will reveal that it is being widely and pro-actively used. In particular, it is seen as a way to influence millennials and following generations who have grown up with social media and use it extensively. But it’s not just younger consumers who can be swayed by FOMO – businesses can be targeted as well.
Impossible to ignore
Should we pay attention to research figures on hosted voice then? It’s actually very difficult, even for the most cynical of us, to ignore them. Certainly, no business would want to get left behind while everyone else was adopting a better and lower-cost technology. It would not be common sense to ‘miss out’ on such an opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce costs. It would also look like that business was behind the times.
Similarly, from a reseller’s perspective, if you think that a market really is taking off, it would be foolish to stand aside and let your competitors pick up business. There is no question that sales of hosted voice services are growing at a healthy rate, so VoIP it is a service that every B2B reseller really needs to have in its portfolio.
There are no real barriers to entering this market. The technology is quite simple, and VoIP is very easy to sell. The business benefits of hosted voice services are well-known and understood. With fibre-based broadband services now becoming much more widely available, many businesses are upgrading their lines. When they do, it is relatively easy to also sell the hosted VoIP service as an add-on. For a small business upgrading to BT’s Superfast Enhanced service, for example, which is available in most urban and commercial areas now, it’s straight-forward and makes sense to upgrade to BT Cloud Voice at the same time.
Real drivers for growth
Another current driver is the big PSTN and ISDN switch-off due to take place in 2025. Many businesses are moving across to higher-speed broadband now because they can already get a better service at a lower price. There is no point in waiting for another five years to make the change.
Then of course, there is the continuing migration to the cloud. More businesses have now experienced cloud services and are more than happy to consider the option of implementing cloud-based phone systems.
None of these market drivers fall into the category of FOMO and put into this perspective, the global market growth predictions look quite conservative. In March, Gamma, which is one of the leading providers of hosted voice services to business in the UK, announced its full-year results for 2018, stating that user numbers of its Cloud PBX service increased from 331,000 to 435,000 – up more than 31%. The company’s revenue growth, year-on-year, was 18%.
Gamma is one of the most successful providers of VoIP and has probably exceeded the overall market growth. But we’d suggest that these real-world, matter-of-record figures are closer to the real level of growth in business VoIP. That said, we are probably in the peak period for migration to VoIP now, and while growth of between 20% and 30% might not be sustainable until 2024, we’d expect it to be well into double figures for the next two years.
Fear – of missing out or of anything else for that matter – is not what’s selling business VoIP. It is being sold and adopted because of the very real benefits it brings to businesses, and on the crest of the digital transformation wave.
As more organisations migrate to fibre-based connectivity, switch away from PSTN and embrace the cloud, they are taking the opportunity to move to hosted voice. We only have to look at the growth we are seeing in sales of BT Cloud Voice and from VoIP market leaders like Gamma, for evidence. It has nothing to do with fear and everything to do with businesses feeling entirely comfortable with hosted voice and being ready and eager to embrace it.