ChannelPartners recently obtained early results from a new study conducted by IT nonprofit organization CompTIA regarding the unified communications industry. According to the research, 80 percent of IT and business executives named UC solutions as moderately or highly valuable to their operations. Another 41 percent said their current communications budgets are growing along with their other IT sectors.
Although these trends appear positive on the surface, the news provider indicated that the growth of unified communications is still maturing.
"Even though instant messaging, video conferencing, collaboration applications, web conferencing and social tools are in place in businesses, they are used to a much lesser degree," the ChannelPartners report said. "Email and voice – analog, mobile and [VoIP business phone systems] – remain the predominant ways in which communication occurs."
Emerging technologies are also expected to significantly impact the unified communications landscape. These solutions include such options as social media, mobility and cloud computing. The latter, in particular, has continued to gain steam as a viable UC platform and many organizations are adopting it for their cloud phone system.
Virtualization also impacting UC
While many technologies influence the development of unified communications, experts have also suggested that virtualization will be key player moving forward. InformationWeek's David Carr reported that UC and virtualization have been on a collision course for years.
The writer attended the UBM Enterprise Connect Conference and reported industry expert Irwin Lazar spoke about why the technologies are becoming integrated. His company conducted a survey and found that approximately 16 percent of companies are virtualizing their UC servers, while nearly 40 percent have no plans in place. The remaining businesses are currently planning such initiatives.
SMBs willing to spend for UC
As more technologies impact unified communications, adoption of UC is poised to rise. Among U.S. small and medium-sized businesses, this is especially true. According to a study conducted by Access Markets International Partners, U.S. SMBs are projected to increase their unified communication spending from $1.8 billion in 2011 to an annual compound growth rate of 16 percent through 2015.
"This change in SMB interactions and the proliferation of multiple devices in the workplace are making it increasingly relevant for SMBs to empower their workforce with technologies that enable quick and easy transitioning between conferencing and collaboration solutions," the study said.