If you think the Unified Communications (News
) market is experiencing its heyday now, just wait a few years.
In the enterprise, UC – the merging of IP telephony, conferencing and collaboration, messaging and other forms of integrated information exchange – is experiencing a steep rise.
“Companies have been buying only those component technologies that they think will deliver immediate value,” said ABI Research (News
) practice director Stan Schatt. “It’s only later that they start tying it all together as true Unified Communications.”
For example, a company with UC capabilities has the ability to do messaging by voice and e-mail; when they are integrated, users can “see” voicemails and have e-mails read aloud. Such “synergies” can deliver increased productivity and efficiency, and greater customer satisfaction, according to ABI.
Big corporations with multiple locations will benefit most immediately from UC, according to ABI. But many vendors’ systems are not interoperable. There are still gaps where no standards exist. Due to the fact that even the largest vendors don’t make everything, there’s a premium on partnerships.
ABI predicts that most vendors will transition to UC by attempting to integrate their offerings with the legacy components they find. That opens an opportunity in replacing older equipment.
“We foresee a booming market for managed services, simply because Unified Communications is tricky and many companies won’t want to spend the time and effort to do it themselves,” Schatt said. “That applies to the market as a whole, but particularly to smaller businesses.”
Even so, unified communications vendors won’t find it all smooth sailing, as they are up against internal corporate “turf wars,” a widespread lack of understanding of the benefits UC can deliver, and a high initial cost.
As more companies move toward UC, there’s a growing desire to ramp up mobile platforms to accommodate enterprise applications.
And as mobile unified communications grows, mobile business customer revenues are projected to increase over the next five years from one to four percentage points more than the overall mobile services market.
Mobile customers who are self-employed or work in businesses with fewer than 100 employees who account for about 72 percent of all mobile business customers that will spur this growth, according to ABI researchers.
Marisa Torrieri is a TMCnet Web editor, covering IP hardware and mobility, including IP phones, smartphones, fixed-mobile convergence and satellite technology. She also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet's gadgets and satellite e-Newsletters. To read more of Marisa's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Marisa Torrieri