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Boom predicted for IP telephony, wireless LAN spending

Wireless LAN and IP telephony are already hot, but IDC expects spending to double by 2009, fueled by implementations in retail, finance, government and professional services.

As if IP telephony and wireless LAN (WLAN) spending wasn't already at a rolling boil, research firm IDC predicts spending in key vertical markets will explode over the next few years.

According to two studies by Framingham, Mass.-based IDC, the amount that major U.S. verticals markets fork over for IP telephony and WLAN gear will more than double by 2009.

Dan Corsetti, a senior analyst with IDC, suggests the most rapid growth of IP telephony spending will be in the financial services and retail sectors.

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In retail, the boom will represent an effort to improve customer care and interaction, supply chain management and management of a global workforce, Corsetti said. Increased use within the financial services segment, meanwhile, will stem from the need to boost performance of networked applications, increase real-time integration of data and manage convergence.

"IP telephony is connecting distributed locations and providing a robust feature set," Corsetti said. "Anywhere you have customer service, customer contact centers or branch offices, there's tremendous growth opportunity."

The government sector will also account for a bulk of the spending surge for both IP telephony and WLAN equipment. Last year, the government spent $118 million on IP telephony gear and $100 million on WLAN products.

"Government adoption of IP telephony has been high. We also see a high overall consumption," Corsetti said, adding that government offices on state and federal levels hope to become better connected and improve communication, especially on homeland security issues.

As for WLAN adoption, the driving force will be noticeable within professional service firms that need to support increased connectivity and coverage for the growing, locally mobile workforce, Corsetti said. The need for temporary WLAN deployments will also fuel increased spending in professional services, which includes law offices, engineering firms and software developers.

Corsetti said he also sees WLAN growth potential in hospitality and financial services, where guest networking is becoming a necessity.

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