The unified communications market could grow from $22.8 billion in 2011 to $61.9 billion by 2018, according to a new report from Transparency Market Research.
Businesses are still looking for ways to cut expenses, grow productivity and increase efficiencies, and unified communications (UC) represents a way to do this via real-time collaboration, Transparency Market Research analysts said in their study, released Jan. 6. UC becomes even more important in this era of increasing workforce mobility and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) practices, the analysts said.
Because of these trends, IT departments increasingly will be forced to provide cost-effective and flexible ways to communicate, they said. Driving the adoption of UC are video, audio and Web conferencing because of their ability to link geographically dispersed organizations, according to the report.
UC comes with the promise of simplified management of collaboration technologies—from voice and video to email and instant messaging—and a better user experience for employees, partners and customers looking for better ways to work together. Like Transparency Market Research, other analyst firms also see a huge upside for the market. IDC analysts last year predicted that the UC market will grow from $26.2 billion in 2013 to almost $38 billion by 2016.
While industry observers have said the UC market hasn't grown as quickly as expected over the last several years, due in part to the complexity around the technologies, such trends as a mobile work force, the growing use of video and cloud computing will help fuel interest and spending. According to Transparency Market Research, the proliferation of mobile devices capable of video communications and the growth of networks that can more easily handle video as well as voice and data will further drive UC adoption.
At the same time, there are no shortages of challenges, according to the analysts. Enterprises and service providers need to ensure the quality of the service on networks that are being asked to handle multiple services, they said. At the same time, security remains a concern. Other factors impeding adoption of UC technologies include the lack of interoperability between vendor platforms and the amount of money organizations need to spend to put a UC system in place.