The number of businesses upgrading their messaging servers is increasing, according to a worldwide survey by market research firm The Radicati Group.
It revealed that one in four businesses surveyed are undergoing a messaging server upgrade, while 34 per cent have completed upgrades in the past six months.
Most Microsoft Exchange users, the research found, have already upgraded to newer versions of the software, with only one in four still on version 5.5.
Upgrades of IBM's rival Domino server software showed a similar pattern, with about half the users making the upgrade.
But Sara Radicati, president of The Radicati Group, said: "It's worth bearing in mind that many companies use the term upgrade very loosely.
"Companies may be upgrading messaging servers for a variety of reasons, not just to keep up with the latest version of the software."
But Michael Frisby, business development director at hosted messaging reseller Cobweb, said: "I suspect that in UK terms the real figures are much lower."
Radicati said growth of the unified communications market, currently worth $1.5bn, will be fuelled by wireless carriers which are beginning to offer improved quality and lower-priced services, such as 3G. "Our research only showed a slight rise in unified messaging," he said.
Frisby added: "While many UK firms are considering messaging server upgrades, instant messaging is perhaps the biggest barrier, because corporations have yet to find effective ways of managing content."
The research also revealed that spam is fuelling a 53 per cent rise in email traffic.
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