Voice systems and telepresence are hurting, but vendors see growth in other enterprise infrastructure areas
Voice and telepresence are both suffering as vendor revenue in those areas continues to decline, but other enterprise infrastructure areas are growing. New research from Synergy Research Group shows that wireless LAN infrastructure products are growing the fastest – something that comes as little surprise as more enterprises roll out Wi-Fi deployments with the latest 802.11 technologies.
The Synergy report shows that revenue for WLAN products grew by about five percent in the last four quarters, whereas Ethernet switches grew at four percent, data center servers were a little above two percent, unified communications applications grew about four percent, routers were barely above zero percent, voice was down two percent and telepresence was down almost five percent.
It's good news and bad news for the vendors involved. It's interesting to note that Cisco leads six out of the seven market categories. The exception is data center servers, where Hewlett Packard Enterprise reigns. HPE came in second in the Ethernet switches, routers and WLAN categories (the last is thanks to its 2015 acquisition of Aruba Networks).
"Cisco remains in a league of its own, accounting for a third of the market and gaining market share in the only segment where it is not the current leader," said Jeremy Duke, founder and chief analyst at Synergy Research Group, in a statement. "Across these hardware-oriented product areas HPE is the only broad-based challenger to Cisco's dominance and it has been steadily increasing its share of the market. However, what we are now seeing is the strong growth of cloud, hosted and collaborative software solutions, which is introducing competition from non-traditional areas and causing market boundaries to blur."
The other number two vendors shouldn't come as much surprise – Dell in data center servers, Avaya in voice systems, Microsoft in UC applications and Polycom in telepresence.
But there are some up-and-comers gaining market share in each category, including Microsoft in UC apps and voice systems, Arista Networks in Ethernet switching, Mitel in voice systems, HPE in WLAN, Huawei in telepresence, Lenovo in data center servers and Cisco in data center servers.
Whether this could mean significant changes in market share and dominant vendors in the seven categories over the next several years is anybody's guess. It seems unlikely there will be a repeat of the huge shake-up in networking that happened in the late 1990s, but transitions could happen.