Unified Communications Market to Nearly Triple by 2018
The unified communications (UC) market, valued at $22.8 billion in 2011, is expected to reach $61.9 billion in 2018, representing a 15.7 percent compound annual growth rate, according to a new report from Transparency Market Research.
The main end-user segments employing unified communications include governments, healthcare, enterprises, and education, with enterprises accounting for the largest share, the research firm concluded in the report, titled "Unified Communications Market—Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Trends, and Forecast, 2012–2018."
This strong growth, the firm concludes, is being driven largely by companies looking for ways to decrease costs, improve efficiency, and increase productivity. Also playing a role is the increasingly mobile workforce, the proliferation of mobile devices, and the growing use of mobile devices for enterprise applications.
In the report, the firm contends that "unified communications provides flexibility, supports mobility, increases productivity, and improves employee response times."
"With the evolution of IP networks and the ever-increasing sophistication of the networks, voice along with video and data traffic can all be handled simultaneously," the report concludes.
However, along with such an evolution come several challenges. The biggest are being able to ensure quality of service while the network handles multiple services and protecting against malicious attacks, both of which "can prove to be a daunting task for service providers and IT departments."
The UC market will also need to address the lack of interoperability between multivendor platforms and the high costs associated with the initial launch. According to the report, these factors have restrained the market's growth.
One way the industry is working to address this is with the hosted, or cloud-based, model. This type of deployment is gaining widespread acceptance, according to the report.
But Bill Meisel, president of TMA Associates, says it would be even more helpful to expand UC's definition. Addressing our digital overload "takes more than what has been classically considered UC," he says. "Market estimates in this report largely relate to the classical view of UC and its role in large organizations, and ignore, to a large extent, the potential for language technologies to help us deal with the growing number of communications channels and volume. A larger view of the market would include the role of advanced language technologies in providing an interactive assistant to help us deal with this growing problem."