The next big player in the unified communications and collaboration space may not be a hardware-based vendor but the Internet behemoth known as Google, believes Frost & Sullivan.
In a research report titled, “Google's Enterprise Universe: Google Storms the Unified Communications and Collaboration Market," Frost & Sullivan analyst Dorota Oviedo says the company’s pattern of acquisitions of late point to the fact that Google is moving into the UCC space. And while it doesn’t have a full-fledged solution as yet, it does have a set of complementary technologies that will make the company an attractive option when it is ready for UCC primetime.
“Although Google has not officially announced this strategy, it is evident that, by continually adding new UCC applications to its portfolio and focusing on integrating them, the company is effectively entering the UCC market," Oviedo said in a release announcing the report.
Google has been on a roll over the last three years, gobbling up technologies that position it well to become a complete communications provider, including its $15 million acquisition of videoconferencing vendor Marratech and $45 million purchase of VoIP vendor GrandCentral in 2007, and another VoIP purchase last year of Gizmo5 for $30 million. Together, these technologies make up what is now Google Voice, its Skype-like consumer VoIP offering. An enterprise version of Google Voice is slated to be released later this year, further positioning the company to be a player in the enterprise communications space.
Google’s other current product offerings include Google Apps, which includes both consumer and business applications; Google Buzz, its social media tool; and Android mobile platform. Combined, these applications have the potential to create a powerful UCC solution for large enterprises, Oviedo noted. Already, Google could cobble together a decent cloud-based offering for the SMB space.
Oviedo’s cohort at Frost & Sullivan, Iwona Petruczynik, noted that UCC vendors should not discount Google’s entry into their market.
“UCC vendors typically argue that Google services, being founded on consumer applications, are not suitable for a corporate world and do not form a complete UCC suite," she said. “However, they should recognize where Google is heading in the future and how quickly its products are evolving."