The global unified communications (UC) market is expected to drop slightly by the end of 2020, but cloud-focused initiatives are anticipated to soften the blow.
This drive is mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Megan Fernandez, senior principal analyst at Gartner.
“Cloud collaboration investments will buoy the UC market downturn as remote work initiatives spurred by the COVID-19 outbreak drive conferencing adoption and market growth,” she said.
Overall, the global UC market is expected to fall by 2.7 per cent in 2020 to US$39.7 billion but is forecast return to growth in 2021 with 8.8 per cent to US$43.1 billion. Further, from 2019 to 2024, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1 per cent is predicted.
Cloud-based telephony is expected to be one of two UC market segments to grow this year, with forecast growth of 9 per cent to US$16.8 billion by the end of 2020, and then 18 per cent to US$19.8 billion in 2021.
However, new premises-based telephony investments are forecast to drop sharply due to organisations prioritising cloud conversion with existing phone systems being maintained in the interim.
The only other market segment to experience growth was cloud-based web conferencing solutions, which is expected to see growth of 24.3 per cent to US$4.1 billion by the end of the year, up from US$3.3 billion a year prior.
“Cloud telephony adoption will experience a ‘push and pull’ from competing market pressures,” said Fernandez. “Overall, the market will be negatively impacted by organisations that were planning near-term premises to cloud migrations but are now extending legacy life spans instead.
“As a result of workers employing remote work practices in response to COVID-19 office closures, there will be some long-term shifts in conferencing solution usage patterns. Policies established to enable remote work and experience gained with conferencing service usage during the outbreak is anticipated to have a lasting impact on collaboration adoption.”
Meanwhile, every other UC market segment is forecast to decline.
For the telephony and messaging segment, premises-based telephony and messaging is expected to drop to US$4.5 billion while telephony product support services are forecast to fall to US$10.8 billion.
Then in the conferencing segment, premises-based conferencing is expected to decline to US$181 million and conferencing product support services are forecast to fall to US$152 million.
Further, in the group videoconferencing systems and premises-based video infrastructure segment, group video conferencing systems are expected to fall to US$1.5 billion and group video product support services are predicted to drop to US$1 billion.
This is followed by premises-based video infrastructure with its anticipated decline to US$221 million and then video infrastructure product support services, which is forecast to fall to US$297 million.