Unified communications (UC) deployment is set to mushroom, according to the latest figures from industry body CompTIA.
The non-profit organisation questioned more than 600 IT and business executives involved in their organisation’s communications initiatives, and a further 300 channel companies.
A total of 49 per cent questioned for the study, entitled Unified Communications and Collaboration Market Trends, said their expenditure on UC will grow relatively faster than their overall IT budget over the next 12 months.
Larger firms (with 500 or more employees) are significantly more likely to increase their UC investment compared with the IT budgets of smaller firms (64 per cent vs 35 per cent), CompTIA claimed.
Tim Herbert, vice president of research at CompTIA, said: “This likely reflects the complexity of communications at a large firm compared to a small firm. More staff, more locations, more end points and possibly more IT systems make for a more complex communications landscape and a stronger desire to simplify through a UC strategy.”
Channel firms are also positive about UC growth, the research revealed. A total of 31 per cent expect significant growth in their UC practice over the coming year, with 59 per cent expecting modest growth. Few expect a drop-off in their UC business.
However, channel firms still have several obstacles to overcome, the research claimed. A total of 39 per cent cited price sensitivity as a problem, 36 per cent reliability concerns, 34 per cent security concerns, 33 per cent a difficulty in quantifying RoI and 32 per cent specified a general lack of understanding of UC products and services.
The research revealed that many technologies associated with UC are already widely adopted, with 64 per cent of those questioned saying they use webconferencing, 58 per cent use videoconferencing, 54 per cent use collaboration applications or platforms and 51 per cent deploy VoIP.
Seth Robinson, director of technology analysis at CompTIA, said: “The integration of all these elements is the hard part, tying all these things together. Voice and data will still be important, but more effort will be devoted to complement them by bringing more video, collaboration and social elements into the enterprise. Voice and video are the components of a solution that will drive network upgrades since they consume the most bandwidth and must be handled properly to assure high quality.”
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