Plenty of room in 2015 unified comms market

Brian Riggs/Ovum
09 Dec 2014

The market for unified communications (UC) solutions and services is undergoing a transformation as enterprises and SMEs turn to new ways of purchasing, deploying, and managing business communications technology. Cloud-based communications services are among the root causes of this transformation; they present businesses with hosted UC options that are more feature-rich and more readily available from more top-tier providers than ever before. Operators, systems vendors, systems integrators, resellers, start-ups, and other types of businesses with a stake in delivering UC solutions will vie with one another to deliver the most robust, most reliable, and most widely available cloud-based UC services.

Ovum sees four overarching trends affecting the UC market.

First, the market for UC solutions is consolidating around a few top vendors that enterprises will nearly always consider when expanding or replacing existing business communications solutions. At the same time, the market is large and diverse, and there will be plenty of opportunities for second- and third-tier players not only to exist but to thrive.

Second, enterprises are no longer simply curious about cloud-based UC services, but are ready to invest in them. For large enterprises, hosted UC services often co-exist alongside premise-based solutions, either for a set transitional period or for the long term. This will create more market opportunity for hosted communications services, but at the same time potentially complicate deployment and management.

Third, videoconferencing technology is becoming ubiquitous among enterprises, due mainly to the wide range of video-capable UC clients, web-conferencing platforms, and consumer applications used in the workplace. End users are more familiar with videoconferencing software than ever before, and are demanding access to it. But the sheer number of systems, applications, and services that facilitate corporate videoconferencing is making interoperability a significant challenge.

Finally, the market for cloud-based videoconferencing services has become dynamic. Operators are revamping hosted services that they have long sold to enterprises, while introducing a new set of video services through partnerships, acquisitions, and internal development. Meanwhile, a new generation of providers are trying to firmly establish themselves within the market with differentiated services and videoconferencing offerings that are more tightly integrated with other types of communications solutions in use within the enterprise.

Brian Riggs is principal analyst for enterprise telecoms at Ovum

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This article first appeared on Telecom Asia Vision 2015 Supplement December 2014 edition

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