Gigaset’s insolvency: No wonder – even though telephones are booming
The application for insolvency proceedings for Gigaset AG and its subsidiary Gigaset Communications GmbH currently has no direct impact on end customers. According to the manufacturer, development, production and sales activities will initially continue unchanged.
For corporate and government customers, however, the question arises as to what happens next. The line of DECT terminals in particular has a high market penetration and is used in many telecommunications environments, such as hospitals, production environments, schools and daycare centers. However, this market is stagnating.
Not a big deal for customers
If the announced “sustainable restructuring of the economic basis” fails, this could mean that, for example, the supply of replacement devices, necessary components for system expansions, but also the supply of accessories such as special batteries or chargers will no longer be available. Investment security in a new Gigaset solution therefore appears to be limited and existing customers in the enterprise environment should consider whether they should increase their inventory levels slightly.
However, the DECT/GAP standard offers high compatibility. This means that defective DECT devices, possibly with functional restrictions such as telephone book access, can be replaced with devices from other manufacturers. Things become more complex when it comes to infrastructure components, such as SIP-DECT base stations, which as IP end devices are also exposed to all threats in IP networks and require regular updates. If the restructuring process at Gigaset fails, this could be critical for customers and mean a proactive grab into their wallets.
Especially companies as customers
While fixed-line telephony is declining in the private customer environment due to the use of mobile communications, it is still very important in the enterprise environment of telecommunications solutions. At the same time, however, many companies are switching from hardware phones to softphones – with all the advantages and disadvantages. Only very large companies can build and operate campus-wide 5G networks for cordless telephony. However, there is not much movement in this DECT market. There are no new “killer features” for these solutions that can be used to sell large quantities of devices.
The new business areas with Android smartphones, smart home offers, but also our own IP telecommunications systems were unable to compensate for the stagnating core market. After the spin-off from the parent company Siemens in 2008, its own telecommunications systems, also known in modern German as unified communication solutions, were unable to achieve a high level of market penetration.
Competition from the cloud
The currently hyped cloud services from the major American providers, such as Teams Phone, Zoom Phone, Webex Calling, but also from Germany, such as the Cloud PBX from Telekom or the Sindelfingen manufacturer Innovaphone, are more likely to convince customers.
The integration of IP-DECT into MS Teams came too late for Gigaset and what’s more, the manufacturer’s corded IP telephones are not suitable for teams. Here we should have positioned ourselves more broadly and could also have better served the UC market of cloud providers. Instead, devices from Snom, Yealink and Audiocodes have established themselves. It is sometimes not possible to integrate any end device because the provisioning and management processes must be in place. What often works manually by the system integrator in the SMB market is unsuitable in enterprise environments.
In retrospect, an in-house development or purchase of a cloud UC package with well-integrated provisioning and management solutions for the corded SIP telephones and SIP DECT environment, including the associated end devices as an “all-in-one solution from Gigaset” seems to have been missed chance to be.
With on-premises DECT systems, generic SIP-DECT solutions from Ascom or Spectralink are now often used in new environments, instead of proprietary bases previously used in TDM-based (Time Division Multiplex) solutions. Gigaset scored points here with the integration of the former Siemens Hicom and Hipath TK systems with a DECT solution. In the IP environment, Gigaset served the SMB market rather than enterprise customers with its SIP-DECT bases. Gigaset only served this market through OEM products, such as Unify Atos (formerly Siemens Enterprise Communications).
A “radio specialist” would also have been well served by its own enterprise WLAN solution – possibly even in combination with a management solution for companies in order to be able to monitor the quality of all interfaces in one interface.
If Gigaset wants to survive, it must tailor its offerings more closely to the current market situation with cloud-based communication and collaboration tools (UCC) – and find new integrated solutions with added value for the end customer in the enterprise environment. The low-margin private customer division will certainly not be a way out of the misery. Focusing purely on DECT devices for simple telephone calls will no longer be enough in 2023. End customers expect smarter products and at the same time have German quality standards.
A cooperation with AVM in the private customer segment would have had potential. But the development at AVM is now up in the air.
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