Businesses of all sizes and types need communication and collaboration methods that can improve employee efficiency, customer service and workforce mobility, which ultimately drives competitiveness of the business. This has given rise to a highly specialized unified communication market. Unified communication (UC) solutions help in simplifying the integration of everyday communication technologies such as audio conferencing, video conferencing, web conferencing, instant messaging, unified messaging, and more.
By integrating these technologies into one, the UC solutions market enables users in communicating and enjoying collaboration in real time, in an approach that best suits each particular interaction. This eliminates the discrepancies in communication and makes businesses more responsive and productive. Solution in the unified communication market are geared toward improving the process of decision making, accelerating the pace of business processes and reducing costs needed for communicating and operating, in general.
Growth of the global unified communication market:
The unified communication market is driven by factors such as increasing enterprise mobility and mobile workforce, rise in popularity of video as an efficient medium for communication in workplaces, and the rapid penetration of mobile devices for virtualization in business over the past some years. Also the rise in popularity of trends such as Bring your Own Device (BYOD) practices has led to substantial growth in this industry in the past couple of years.
Medium and small scale businesses looking to cut-down overall expenses and improve workforce efficiency are adopting UC solutions in increasing numbers, leading to further growth of this industry.
But apart from the obvious benefits of this technology to the businesses, that factor of global advancements in internet related technologies that make the availability of high-speed internet through distant corners of the world is also substantially contributing to the growth of this industry. High-speed internet allows the exchange of data and information almost instantaneously.
Market growth in the past, and future forecasts:
The global unified communication market had a market value worth nearly USD 22.8 billion in 2011. Looking at the rising demand for UC solutions from businesses of a variety of sizes and types and the widespread adoption of these systems, this industry is bound to observe significant growth in the future. Such systems are, in fact, expected to become the standard for all sorts of business communications in the near future.
However, the industry also has its set of issues that can restrain its growth and widespread adoption to some extent. This includes factors such as the high cost of initial investment needed to employ these systems and the lack of interoperability between the multiple solutions provided by the multiple key vendors in the industry.
Market analysts project that this industry could grow at a CAGR of 15.7% over the duration of next five years to grow to an industry having net worth of USD 61.9 billion by 2018.
Unified communications market segmentation
Other than the segment of enterprises of a variety of kinds, the industry of UC solutions also finds widespread applications in the government, healthcare, education and entertainment sectors as well. Quite clearly, however, the enterprises’ segment accounts for the largest share of revenues earned by this industry on a global front.
The solutions provided by this industry can be segmented into two major categories: on premise UC systems and cloud based or hosted UC systems.
Key geographies in the unified communication market
Currently, the region of North America leads the global unified communication market. The EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) countries are however expected to overtake the leading position of North America in the coming few years. In 2011, the market worth of EMEA regions was USD 6.38 billion.
Global industry leaders in the unified communications industry
The global UC solutions industry is majorly dominated by technology experts and global information technology giants such as Microsoft, Avaya, Cisco Systems, Siemens Enterprise Communications, Huawei Technologies, Polycom, ShoreTel and NEC, among others.
As businesses actively invest in UC solutions, technology vendors are finding newer and better growth opportunities in distant geographic markets. The ever-rising need for information sharing and collaboration amongst organizations will keep driving this industry in the future.