Mobility is Driving the Unified Communications Market
Today, the market for unified communications (UC) solutions is big, and growing bigger as more companies discover the unique ability to keep a connected and collaborative workforce that stays pace with modern communications. UC is a broad term, and it generally refers to all types of calls and multimedia messages managed by an individual user for business processes. What’s important to remember when defining the technology is that is centralizes all communications in a way that avoids “siloing” of information. It can help companies serve customers better (with more insight and visibility), and it helps employees collaborate regardless of where they are located using a variety of tools. Ultimately, the goal is a more seamless communications experience.
For the vendors in this area, there are a lot of opportunities. Many industries are able to choose from solutions that fit their needs, and the UC industry is segmented based on the needs of end users: some companies choose on-premise solutions and others (most notably smaller or medium-sized companies pick hosted or cloud-based unified communications). Whatever configuration they choose, industries as diverse as government, healthcare, enterprises and education are increasingly turning to UC.
A recent study by MRRSE entitled, “Unified Communications Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Trends and Forecast 2012 – 2018” found that the unified communications market was worth nearly $6.4 billion in 2011 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21 percent from 2012 to 2018. While part of the growth can be attributed to the globalization of unified communications technology, a significant portion of it can be laid at the feet of the mobilization trend, in which workers are increasingly relying on mobile devices to remain connected to workplaces and partners.
“With the evolving IT infrastructure and the availability of high-speed internet, exchange of data and information is now possible almost instantaneously,” wrote MRRSE analysts. “Unified communications facilitates integration of business processes with communication technologies enabling further optimization of operations. It enables users to access and share information on one media type and device and receives the same on another media type or device.”
The report stresses that UC is not a single product, but a collection of services designed to help simplify the user experience. Some of the main services that are integrated into UC include instant messaging, presence, telephony, data sharing, and video conferencing.
For companies hoping to keep costs down and improve productivity, UC is a critical technology. But as companies rely more and more on their networks, it’s also a way of bridging networks and communications channels. Workers can, for example, send a message from one particular network/medium and receive for the same communication via another medium.
But it’s mobility that is ultimately causing the explosion of interest in UC, according to the MRRSE report.
“Concepts such as bring your own device (BYOD) is another factor supporting the growth of unified communications market,” wrote the analysts. “In addition to this, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is a highly updated, standardized, pre-integrated and low cost service that accelerates business processes.”
Edited by Stefania Viscusi