With less than 30,000 voice-over-802.11b handsets shipping last year, the Voice over Wireles LAN (VoWLAN) market is extremely small and immature. According to research firm In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com), however, the market has growing interest and potential--enough to result in rapid growth in end-user revenues over the next several years.
"This market will thrive for two reasons," says Gemma Paulo, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR. "Wi-Fi wireless LANs have a growing installed base, so these customers are looking to add voice to their existing wireless networks. In addition, the LAN telephony market is growing, and In-Stat/MDR expects a percentage of this business to be wireless IP handsets. As demand from verticals such as education, health-care, retail, and logistics increases, the VoWLAN installations will enjoy healthy growth." In its new study "Voice over WLAN: Will the Market Finally Answer?" the researcher predicts a $507-million end-user revenue total in 2007, compared to $16.5 million last year.
Other findings in the report include:
*A growth area in the VoWLAN space is the still-forming market, apart from traditional Wi-Fi handsets specifically for on-site use by an employee.
*In the handset VoWLAN market, top verticals remain health care, education, and retail--the same verticals that have driven large-scale enterprise WLAN rollouts over the past few years.
*A combination of Wi-Fi, and 2.5 or 3G, mobile phones is the ultimate vision for the business environment, where this mobiel phone seamlessly switches between cellular and 802.11.