Call centre technology is set to be a massive growth area over theogies attract more subscribers. next few years, according to two recent reports.
In its study entitled Computer Telephony in European Call Centres, analyst Datamonitor predicts that the overall spend on computer telephony systems by call centres in Europe will increase from the current $550 million (#330 million) to $1.2 billion (#750 million) by 2002.
The report's author, Steve Morrell, said that the growth will be boosted by a move from being "switch centric", where the intelligence is embedded in the telecommunications side, to "server centric" through the availability of more functional computer software.
If Europe follows the experiences of the US, much of this spend will come from call centre outsourcing specialists, according to the Frost & Sullivan report US Call Centre Services Market.
"Improved call centre technologies are attracting more call centre subscribers for carriers, service agencies and systems integrators," said the company's telecommunications industry analyst Kim Antonnacio. "Unfortunately, the rapid advances mean that systems can become obsolete in as little as three months."
The UK, which Datamonitor has calculated to account for 41% of today's European budget, is in danger of seeing its leadership gradually eroded by Germany, which currently has 21% of the market.
Datamonitor's prediction is based on the grounds that German telcos have been quick to offer the infrastructure required to support a telecommerce culture and this benefits call centre growth.
In addition, the older centres have to keep pace with the move from the switch centric to the server centric migration - an expense the new German centres avoid.
"Strong growth in the German call centre market has coincided with the emergence of CT (computer telephony) products priced well within the reach of relatively small call centre operations," said Datamonitor's Morrell.
"As a result, many German call centres are choosing to invest in a set of CT technologies from the outset."
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