Outlook 2013: Unified Communications & Collaboration

By Khali Henderson and Kelly Teal Comments

Customization, Integration and Wireless Capabilities Key

Unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) deployments are growing among organizations — think enterprises, SMBs and vertical market players — as the need for anytime/anywhere messaging becomes commonplace. The market for UC&C holds a lot of promise for partners, but the caveat is that they need to invest training and effort into this part of their portfolios. Customers have specific, individual needs when it comes to UC&C and only the top-notch agents and VARs will retain those accounts over the years.

Market Opportunity. As COMMfusion analyst Blair Pleasant pointed out in July 2012, quantifying the UC market remains difficult since vendors count their shipments differently and many UC clients are given away for free. Also, UC is not a product, per se, as it comprises a number of functions — phone, email, IM, conferencing and so on. Thus, thus, there is no agreement on the exact definition of UC. That said, COMMfusion recently measured general UC market share, finding that it is growing quickly. In 2011, the worldwide market for premises-based UC reached $12.23 billion, already up 8 percent from 2010, COMMfusion found. However, the number will hit $20.76 billion by 2016, with the greatest growth showing in conferencing and collaboration; that component will boast a 17 percent CAGR, COMMfusion said. In the "true UC" market, 2011 revenue totaled $2.7 billion, up 20 percent from the previous year, and expected to grow to $8.47 billion by 2016. Again, conferencing and collaboration will fuel the increases at a 50 percent CAGR, according to COMMfusion.

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