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The coming IP Communications uptick

Over at TMCNet in preparation for ITEXPO West, Rich Tehrani is asking people how the $787 billion economic stimulus package will help the communications market.  I need to get back to Rich with my response, but it’s not not a simple answer.

I think a lot of people are going to be buying new, shiny IP Communications gear over the next year for a multitude of reasons, some related to ROI, some related to the coming headache of IPv6, and some related to the stimulus package.   Where do you assign credit where credit is due?

First things first: The stimulus package.   Stimulus money isn’t moving as fast as people would like — welcome to the world of government procurement and bureaucracy.  There will be a directly measurable uptick in the purchase of IP communications related equipment and services from the $7.2 billion or so earmarked for extending high-speed broadband to underserved/unserved areas, so there’s one plus for the IP comm industry.

Indirectly, many companies will take advantage of new business to improve and expand their own communications infrastructure — you aren’t going to wire all the shovels (well, or even wireless, for that matter), but the office and management infrastructure is still necessary.

Independent of that, companies are looking to improve the bottom line with saving money and better efficiencies.  As the new fiscal year rolls into 2010, a number of businesses will take their fresh pot of money and us it to replace the circa 2000 or older PBX and Key systems to something that’s more flexible and modern and has a lower maintenance contract. Or it’ll be the UC/business process integration bit, or something else, but it will have a ROI of 6-8 months or better in most cases OR it just needs to get done (i.e. legacy equipment with attached expenses and headaches).

And speaking of headaches, there’s the whole IPv6 thing on my mind.  John Curran of ARIN says that there are only 24 months of IP addresses left under the old-style IPv4 at the current rate of consumption and then after that — na-da.  A lot of companies are going to have to shift to IPv6 for no other reason than they have no other choice.  Sure, there’s gateways and lots of magic tricks to bridge between different numbering schemes, but there’s going to be a big push to be “Pure IPv6″ ASAP.  So that’s going to drive a certain amount prep among the forward thinkers in the IT and networking departments.

Add it all up, and life in 2010 should be good for hardware manufacturers (Cisco, Juniper, others), service providers, and the folks who support them.

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