Enterprise communications research firm InfoTrack recently announced that the market for IP telephony (IPT) and unified communications is expected to increase by 10 percent annually between 2011 and 2016.
The group said that spending for hosted IPT services, which is projected to triple during the forecast, will drive this growth. U.S. enterprises with 500 or more workers will increase their hosted IPT budgets by 27 percent through 2016, while small and medium-sized businesses will up their expenditures by nearly two times this figure.
Ken Dolsky, InfoTrack senior program director, noted that several trends emerged in 2011 regarding the IPT and unified communications market.
"In 2011, SMBs represented 46 percent of the U.S. installed base of IPT lines, but accounted for only 30 percent of the spending on UC applications," Dolsky said. "But over the next five years, the growth of SMB spending on UC apps will be more than twice the rate of US Enterprises, which represents the mirror image of what we project happening in the hosted IPT sector."
Companies look to UC to improve productivity
Businesses of all sizes are turning to unified communications to boost productivity while remaining cost-effective. A recent survey of nearly 1,100 companies conducted by a U.K. conference call service vendor found that 57 percent of organizations said UC deployments would help realize these benefits.The survey also found that 54 percent of respondents believe UC helps channel partners, suppliers and customers improve collaboration and productivity.
While a majority of companies believe unified communications can help their operations, 70 percent of participants said their organizations are already letting employees work remotely. The vendor said this development is due to increasing demand for video conferencing technologies.
Looking ahead, unified communications is only expected to be even more crucial for companies, according to the firm's CEO, Simon Curry.
"Times are changing and today's workforce has to adapt in order to stay ahead," Curry explained. "We have an abundance of technology at our fingertips and UC will only make it easier now for businesses to streamline communications and in turn be in a better position to service customers. UC is on its way to becoming [an] integral cog in the way businesses communicate; it's up to us not to resist."