Two Studies Report Good News for Unified Communications

Infonetics Research and ABI Research found that interest in unified communications is going up. The most intriguing and promising finding, from Infonetics, is that 96 percent of respondents have their eyes on eventually rolling out a unified communications platform.

By Carl Weinschenk | Posted Nov 9, 2010
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Two research reports containing good news for unified communications were released during the past week.

ABI Research describes the progress of UC within the context of its elements, which include VoIP, fixed mobile convergence, contact center technology, hybrid IP/TDM PBXes, messaging and conferencing and collaboration. The firm says the overall category will produce revenues of $4.8 billion by 2015.

The release shifts to the present and suggests that IP PBX vendors will ship more than 35 million IP and/or IP/TDM PBX lines this year. Two things will drive "robust growth" during the study period: convergence of the IP platform and competition between CPE vendors – those selling gear to end users – and hosted VoIP providers, the study says. Structural issues, such as an improving economy, more hiring and a distributed workforce, will be positive and set the stage for the growth. The hosted IP PBX segment will increase 15.3 percent worldwide to $3.4 billion this year, the study says.

The other study is from Infonetics Research. The firm found that 96 percent, in other words, pretty much all the companies that participated in the survey, intend to eventually move to a UC platform.

Besides that surprisingly high figure, Infonetics verified many things that generally are accepted as common wisdom. For instance, the firm found that Cisco is the leading IP telephony vendor in North America, while Microsoft leads in e-mail and IM. Microsoft is being challenged by Google, the firm said.

The reasons found for deploying UC also are not surprising. They include improving employee productivity, reducing opex and simply satisfying the whims of executives. The biggest growth areas are video, short messaging and social networking. Infonetics found that the main UC end point today is a desktop, but mobile devices are gaining steam.

Taken together, the two studies suggest that unified communications will grow in the enterprise – and, in time, become the main platform for corporate communications.

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