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February 27, 2007

Contact Center Technology Shipments Showing Better Growth than Predicted

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

The contact center market has seen tremendous growth over the past few years, especially with outsourcing and offshoring opportunities. Much of this growth has been driven by the increased need for customer interaction channels for businesses that operate globally and others that only offer services and products online.
Along with this growth has been a surge in the worldwide market for basic contact center equipment, software and seat licenses. This market has been running at more than $2.9 billion per year on first-half 2006 contact center shipments, according to a recent report by InfoTech, a division of Access Intelligence.
This market growth does not account for such services as installation, maintenance or managed support. It also does not include such advanced capabilities as IVR, speech recognition, integrated e-mail, Web collaboration, interactive chat, etc. The underlying telecom infrastructure needed to support contact center operations is included in this growth. In its research, InfoTech measures revenue as received by manufacturers from direct and indirect sales. The global average manufacturer revenue per seat was $913.
The major source of industry volume continues to come from the North American market (United States and Canada). Agent seat shipments, both new and add-on, in this region was slightly fewer than 700,000 for the first half of 2006, annualized to 1.4 million per year and first-half revenues of $663 million, annualized to over $1.3 billion per year. This measured volume has already exceeded what Frost and Sullivan forecasted in 2004 that the North American market would hit $1.25 billion by 2011.
The EMEA market is also an important area for the contact center industry as it is the second largest market for contact center shipments. Frost and Sullivan predicted that the EMEA market would grow to roughly $750 million by 2010. InfoTech research estimates that revenues in this region currently are more than $900M per year. Annual shipments for the EMEA market accounts for approximately 994,000 seats.
While the contact center market in North America is considered to be mature, technology developments and adoptions are expected to drive growth. The volume of new and add-on seats remains strong, however shipment growth remains flat. As more North American contact centers move to IP, it is expected that these centers will lead the way in adoption rates and total investment dollars.
InfoTech views the situation in APAC to be the opposite of that in the North American market. Because of outsourcing, the annual growth rate of contact center shipments and revenues is higher in APAC. As a result, many expect that the area is an increasingly strong source of industry revenue. Researchers feel, however, that the relatively low cost of labor may not drive adoption of IP-based productivity-improving technologies as quickly as it will in North America and Europe.

Want to learn more about contact centers? Then be sure to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. The papers are authored by industry leaders, who, in turn, receive qualified sales leads from interested parties. Check here for the latest in CRM information.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC (News - Alert) and has also written for To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.

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