Cloud is changing the UC environment: Analyst

Widespread adoption of Microsoft Lync and Cloud technology is changing the UC environment, according to Frost and Sullivan

The widespread adoption of Microsoft Lync and Cloud-based unified communications (UC) are two major factors contributing to the changing face of the UC environment, according to analyst firm, Frost and Sullivan.

Latest research indicates the on-premise unified communications market experienced 2.4 per cent growth in 2012, with market worth pinned at $698.5 million.

The moderate growth was put down to cautious business spending due to uncertainties within Government policies and the federal election, Frost and Sullivan, said.

The analyst firm expects the on-premise UC market will continue to experience low growth levels, as organisations assess the suitability of Cloud-based options.

It expects the overall UC market in Australia to grow at a CAGR of 5.5 per cent from 2012 to 2019. The top two vendors in UC market, Microsoft and Cisco, account for more than 40 per cent of the overall market.

In its new research, Australian Unified Communications (UC) Market 2013, Frost and Sullivan indicated there were a number of disruptive factors emerging including the growing significance of Microsoft Lync, Over-The-Top (OTT) and cloud based vendors, the emergence of Google as an enterprise vendor and the potential of WebRTC.

“These factors are impacting the market to varying degrees, but when combined with cloud based solutions, have the potential to significantly change the UC market and threaten the dominance of existing vendors,” Frost and Sullivan head of ICT practice research, Audrey William, said.

“Most channel partners are facing tighter profit margins in selling on-premise UC solutions and are noticing a shift towards hosted and cloud based solutions. They are challenged to build UC services and cloud capabilities that offer better margins, whilst offering an avenue for future growth. Partnering with vendors such as Cisco and Microsoft, which are well positioned to address the changing UC market is important."

The analyst firm particularly noted the widespread adoption of Microsoft’s Lync platform and its improved ability to serve as a PBX. Recent updates to Lync have closed the gap in functionality terms between traditional PBX systems and Lync PBX.

Cloud- based UC is another other major factor that will change traditional UC environment. Cloud based video in particular, is emerging as the segment with the potential to trigger a major shift away from on-premise solutions.

Although several video conferencing vendors promote the interoperability features of their endpoints, the lack of an industry wide agreement still limits overall success, according to the analyst firm.

“Blue Jeans Networks is particularly prominent among this new breed of vendors, and as they drive market awareness for cloud-based video conferencing, organisations will be reluctant to commit to the traditional resource intensive, on-premise based video conferencing solutions,” Frost and Sullivan A/NZ ICT practice industry analyst, Anand Balasubramanian, said.

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