Hot, but is it happening?

DQW Bureau
New Update


For any enterprise trying to compete globally, seamless

communications is increasingly becoming the key to improving business processes.

Add to this, the convergence of communication technologies, and you get to the

hot new buzzword in the technology landscape-unified communications or UC.

While the market adoption of unified communications is currently

slow, trend watchers paint a bright future. The arrival of unified

communications signals

the beginning of the convergence of VoIP telephony, e-mail, instant messaging,

mobile communications, and audio-video web-conferencing into a single platform

that shares a common directory, and common developer tools. UC also takes

advantage of standard communication protocols such as SIP (session initiation

protocol) to route communications to the right people on the right device.

This coming together of communications and technology presents a

lucrative market of close to $40 billion worldwide. Reasons for slow adoption of

technology are plenty. While some new technologies like Presence are not fully

understood, best practices around usage are not defined.


A Gartner report released in June 2006, points out that the UC

market and its technology are maturing rapidly, but overall the market remains

at an early stage, and the adoption of converged solutions remains slow.

Over 90 percent of enterprises that are converging data and

voice are currently on IP networks. In the next two to three years, the

transition will happen from IP-based networks, and also organizations will look

at integrating the e-mail infrastructure too. While the PBX infrastructure in

India is close to $290 million, eventually, the market will move towards

IP-based infrastructure, which is close to a $108 million market.

The largest single value of unified communications lies in its

ability to reduce 'human latency' in business processes. Historically,

companies have expected significant employee productivity improvements by

offering employees a unified message box to access e-mail, voice mail, SMS,

teletex, and fax from multiple points of interaction (PoI). The PoIs are fixed

phones, mobile or cellular phones, PCs and PDAs.


The market size approximations (for 2003-07) have been divided

into three segments: enterprise sales ($100-200 million), service provider

products ($100-200 million), and service provider services ($300-500 million).

Across these segments, a transformation in technology is taking place that

promises to fill the value gap that currently exists in systems. This

transformation is the evolution of UM (unified messaging) to UC. The new

features in UC are making the business case more compelling.

Urvashi Kaul