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Financial Services Drive Australian Adoption of $485 Million Unified Communications Market

  • 30 July, 2008 09:15

<p>SYDNEY, 30 July 2008 – The banking and finance sector is leading the adoption of Unified Communications (UC) in the Australian market with many large institutions now moving from trials of the technology to full-scale deployment. The sector, which accounted for 16.5 percent of the $484.7 million unified communications market in 2007, is showing strong demand for solutions such as conferencing and collaboration, unified messaging applications and contact centre technologies.</p>
<p>UC technologies are also gaining ground in the education sector representing 14.5 percent of the Unified Communications market. By 2010-2011, UC will become increasingly important in other vertical markets including government, healthcare, telecommunications, and oil and gas.</p>
<p>The findings are detailed in the Unified Communications Technology Adoption by Verticals 2008, an assessment of vertical market engagement in Australia’s UC market which has been released by Frost &amp; Sullivan.</p>
<p>Videoconferencing and the need to refresh ageing PBXs are the major drivers encouraging UC adoption within the education sector. In addition, presence technologies are being considered by a number of universities seeking ways to provide personalised learning experiences.</p>
<p>Accounting, consulting and legal organisations are spearheading the UC drive by professional services firms. Similar to the education sector, the move is in part being driven by the replacement of ageing PBXs with IP (Internet Protocol) telephony, presence and conferencing applications. Staff mobility and the need to be permanently connected is another factor influencing this sector’s demand for mobile solutions and video or web conferencing tools.</p>
<p>While awareness of UC technologies is growing among federal and state government organisations, interest remains rooted at the CIO and IT manager level. The study cautions that for UC to succeed within this market there will need to be greater management buy-in and that such tools will need to be deployed across the entire organisation, rather than confined to select departments as is currently the case.</p>
<p>UC adoption within the healthcare industry remains in its infancy with most short- to medium-term opportunities centred on the migration of phone systems from TDM (time-division multiplexing) to IP.</p>
<p>Even though many healthcare departments are using old TDM systems that have reached the end of the product lifecycle, the high investments in such legacy systems is discouraging organisations from replacing them. As the major IT priorities in the next five years are expected to focus on patient management and clinical information systems, the study suggests that there will be little investment or time available for Unified Communications in this period.</p>
<p>The one healthcare area where UC technologies are expected to gain a foothold is in high-end group videoconferencing, particularly around WiFi and DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) solutions.</p>
<p>CIO Concerns</p>
<p>The study notes that most CIOs and IT managers express concern over the multiple applications that UC will require loaded onto the network, and that bandwidth-intensive applications may potentially reduce the quality of service. Another issue for many organisations is the cost of network upgrades and investments on servers and other infrastructure required prior to a UC deployment.</p>
<p>Almost every CIO interviewed for the study voiced disquiet over the inability to justify a return on investment on a UC deployment.</p>
<p>Areas of Market Potential</p>
<p>Across all vertical markets, the main applications gaining traction include integrating presence and IM applications with IP telephony. Although penetration is still low, the study observes that organisations that have embarked on company-wide UC deployments started by integrating telephone with presence capabilities at the desktop and to mobile devices. The leading applications in terms of UC spend are e-mail and voice technologies, followed by conferencing and collaboration.</p>
<p>The Green Influence</p>
<p>The research suggests that the move towards Green IT combined with high fuel prices means that companies will become more cautious on travel expenditure and this will drive further demand for conferencing and collaboration applications. With the availability of less expensive conferencing solutions, there will be increased usage of web, audio and video conferencing solutions. This will also begin to drive UC into small-to-medium organisations.</p>
<p>“The SMB sector presents good opportunity for UC deployments,” says Audrey William, Senior Research Manager, Frost &amp; Sullivan. “While interest to date has centred on e-mail and voice technologies, more and more SMBs are realising the benefits around conferencing and mobility applications. The majority of these organisations will look for hosted solutions and applications that can be easily deployed, without requiring much integration.”</p>
<p>The Unified Communications Technology Adoption by Verticals 2008 forms part of the Frost &amp; Sullivan 2008 Unified Communications Program. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.</p>
<p>Frost &amp; Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, partners with clients to accelerate their growth. The company's TEAM Research, Growth Consulting and Growth Team Membership empower clients to create a growth-focused culture that generates, evaluates and implements effective growth strategies. Frost &amp; Sullivan employs over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 30 offices on six continents. For more information about Frost &amp; Sullivan’s Growth Partnerships, visit</p>

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