Can Unified Communications Market Make the Most of Increasing Demand for Workforce Mobility?

Unified communications is a term referring to a collective suite of the various communication services used by businesses. Unification of the various forms of business communication, which include instant messaging, voice and IP telephony, video conferencing, desktop sharing, and others, streamlines business processes and enhances the efficiency of the operation considerably. The increasing demand for workforce mobility is expected to drive the global unified communications market in the coming years.

According to Transparency Market Research, the unified communications market was valued at US$22.8 bn in 2011 and is expected to rise to US$61.9 bn by the end of 2018. The market is expected to exhibit a robust 15.70% CAGR between 2013 and 2018.

What is the prime driver for the global unified communications market?

The prime driver for the unified communications market is the increasing prevalence of policies permitting greater workforce mobility. The rising number of corporate employees working remotely has led to a rising demand for unified communications, since a unified suite of communication channels leads to smoother communication between the employee and the employer.

The increasing use of online sales channels has also led many companies to unified communications. The difficulties in dealing with multiple information flows coming from different media have resulted in several players trying to unify the various channels in a solution that fits their needs. This has led to vendors of unified communications focusing on customizability as a key asset in their product development.

The steady globalization has also led to a rise in the number of multiregional events, leading to a need for convenient communication solutions to facilitate smooth remote participation. The World Energy Council recently completed the purchase of various components of a cloud-based unified communications solution, called BlueJeans, from Interact Technology. Unified communications solutions are becoming increasingly popular among multi-regional organizations, which will remain a key driver for the unified communications market in the coming years.

So is the future rosy for the unified communications industry?

Ironically, one of the prime concerns for the global unified communications market is the increasing diversity of the solutions on offer in the market, which has led to interoperability issues between unified communications solutions from different developers. Since unified communications solutions are designed keeping in mind the particular requirements of the client, this can result in further complications during communication between two unified communications platforms, even though each company’s conversations with their respective customers are unaffected. Standardization of unified communications platforms on a global scale has thus emerged as the need of the hour for the global unified communications industry.

The high cost of unified communications solutions and the time-consuming and complicated process of choosing the design best suited for particular operations are also restraining the global unified communications market. Standardization of unified communications will help alleviate the latter, though a sustained rise in demand is required to bring the costs down.

Geographically, North America is the leading contributor to the global unified communications market, thanks to the easy availability of advanced communication infrastructure. The EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) market for unified communications is also rapidly growing and is set to exhibit the highest CAGR of all regional segments in the 2013-2018 forecast period. Key players in the global unified communications market include Cisco Systems, Microsoft, IBM, Siemens Enterprise Communications, Huawei Technologies, Polycom, and Alcatel-Lucent.

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