European businesses will be the heaviest adoptors of converged voice and data networks in the future, according to 3Com senior marketing executive Janice Roberts.
Voice over IP, call centres and telemedicine will be among the key drivers of converged networking, Roberts said as she outlined 3Com's converged networking strategy on the eve of the Cebit show in Hannover this week.
"In three years we expect 30 per cent of major corporations worldwide to deploy converged networking applications," said Roberts.
Around 80 per cent of converged networking applications are expected to be deployed outside the US, according to Roberts, with European businesses taking the lion's share.
3Com anticipates the market for converged networking products will be worth $20 bilion in revenue within three years. Of this total, Roberts said 3Com wants $3 billion.
The company will achieve this through the many alliances and acquisitions 3Com is compiling, most recently the converged networking alliance announced this week with Microsoft, Dell and Siemens, and its smart phone alliance announced yesterday with Alcatel.
For large and medium sized business, 3Com will use its partnerships with Microsoft and Siemens to develop product portfolios. 3Com and Siemens have already co-developed an IP PBX, the Superstack PBX 1000, and are in the process of expanding and soldifying their relationship, according to the companies.
Microsoft meanwhile is providing 3Com with streaming media technology. 3Com has just agreed to use the technology to stream Internet video events to all its employees worldwide. The companies are also working together on home neworking applications.
For the smaller business, 3Com will use the resources of NBX, a converged networking vendor it recently acquired. NBX has developed systems that integrate voice and data communications for small business Lans and Wans.
3Com, like other networking vendors, is now addressing the problem of improving the quality of voice calls made over IP networks in the belief that it will be an important money spinner.
"I believe Lan telephony is one of the key early areas of converged networking," said Roberts. "We're looking to deploy voice over IP networks, but IP networks are not really designed for real time IP."
3Com is addressing poor call quality using 'packet protection technology'. Around one in three packets in an IP communication are typically lost, or 'dropped', making voice communications poor quality. Using this intelligent packet protection technology, dropped packets can be recovered automatically, Roberts said.
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