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Unified Communications - A Global Strategic Business Report


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1 August 2010

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Global Industry Analysts

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The global market for unified communications products is projected to reach about US$16.8 billion by the year 2015. UC deployment benefits, such as, superior speed of communication, dissolutions of communication barriers posed by variations in media, faster communication response time, and unrivalled levels of flexibility, have played instrumental roles in driving the growth and adoption of the technology.

Unified Communications (UC) marks the convergence of all forms of communication such as, voice, video, data, instant messaging, audio/video/web conferencing, and the Internet, among others, on a common platform. As companies modernize their enterprise-networking infrastructure driven by the need to remain competitive, and retain critical survival capabilities, such as, agility and flexibility in a fast changing marketplace, its opportunities galore for technologies like UC. As the current information economies metamorphose into network economies in the future, UC stands optimally poised to gain, given its ability to offer unrivalled networking advantages by optimally aggregating voice, video and data onto a common IP network. Proliferation of UC in both consumer and enterprise markets is undeniable. While the rise of the "ever-connected consumer" has helped drive adoption in the consumer market, cutting edge advantages, such as, reduced costs, increased productivity, superior business agility and improved customer service, among others, have turbo-charged adoption in the enterprise market. Adroit integration of UC into business processes helps companies stay ahead of the game in a rapidly changing dynamic market environment. This is primarily because adoption of converged communications in modern times is critical in spurring competitiveness in the marketplace. In the enterprise sector, implementing UC cross the organization results in compelling synergistic benefits by allowing companies to move from divergence to convergence.

The prolonged world economic recession has dampened enterprise communication markets, especially so in the developed countries. Despite cost advantages of innovative technologies, companies continue to remain wary of their investments. UC, despite its trail blazing success in the enterprise segment with promises of superior efficiency, productivity and network quality, witnessed tough business conditions in years 2008 and 2009 as the weak and stressed economic health whittled down growth rates. Lack of strong budgets to fund equipment upgradation and replacement has been citied as a major factor dragging down growth. Nevertheless, as a simple solution for complex networking, UC's market performance has been relatively better than most other technologies, thanks to cloud and hosted UC services, which have emerged as the market's saving grace partially cushioning the impact of recession. With the world economic recession currently at the tail's end, business prospects for UC remain encouraging and bright.

As stated by the new market research report on Unified Communications, PBXs and Video Endpoints/Infrastructure together accounts for more than 80% of the global UC products market. Improving economic conditions will unleash pent-up demand for UCs as hitherto postponed purchase decisions resurge to provide commercial opportunities. Lease expiration on currently deployed systems is additionally expected to drive revenue gains in the market in the upcoming years.

Audio conferencing and web conferencing represents a key component of UC and the ability of the same to closely bond geographically dispersed enterprise teams provides a compelling business case. Transcending basic applications, such as, instant messaging and web-conferencing and growing in popularity are UC platforms integrated with social media. The role played by social media in helping employees remain efficiently collaborative, and connected cannot be undermined and UC now provides the opportunity to unravel the social business benefits of social media. The growing body of evidence surrounding the role of social media in improving sales and marketing outcomes/opportunities is resulting in increased acceptance of high-end strategic applications, such as, mobile and presence integration. Adoption is therefore expected to receive a boost as companies realize the elevated level of effectiveness of their sales force and marketing processes when aided by UC/social media automation technology.

The report titled Unified Communications: A Global Market Report provides a review of noteworthy market trends, growth drivers and challenges. The report in addition also enumerates recent acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. The report offers market estimates and projections for product segments, such as, Audio Bridges, Unified Messaging, PBXs, Team Workspaces, IM/Presence Servers, Video Endpoints/Infrastructure, and Web Conferencing Servers. The report also offers market estimates and projections for Unified Communications services market across service segments, such as, Voice-Enabled UC Services, Messaging-enabled UC services, Video Bridging, Audio Conferencing and Web Conferencing.

Key players in this marketplace include Alcatel-Lucent, Aastra Technologies Limited, Applied Voice & Speech Technologies Inc, Avaya Inc, Cisco Systems Inc, International Business Machines Corp, Interactive Intelligence, Microsoft Corporation, Mitel Networks Corporation, NEC Corporation of America, Polycom, RadiSys Corporation, ShoreTel Inc, Siemens Enterprise Communications GmbH & Co., TeleWare Group Plc., and Toshiba America Information Systems, among others.

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