What’s the trend of unified communication in 2014? Last year, we saw dozens of announcements on cloud-based video, and we think that while the video conferencing and collaboration market will continue to grow in 2014, so it is probably time for some consolidation here.
In the meantime, we think that cloud-based video conferencing services will fight hard to differentiate themselves, and we expect to see notable marketing activity around cloud-based video services.
With unpredictable economic conditions looming across geographies, organizations across all major sectors are looking at ways to bring down expenses while ensuring improved productivity, efficiency and effectiveness at the same time.
Unified communications (UC) is the unification of multiple communication applications such as instant messaging, email, audio and video conferencing and IP telephony, among others.
Unified communications enables quicker execution and delivery of business processes which in turn aids in informed decisions being made, coupled with enhanced collaboration across organizations.
Apart from the benefits associated with unified communications, availability of high speed broadband connectivity is another factor driving this market.
As enterprises are increasingly investing in UC based solutions, technological vendors are finding new markets for UC products. The growing need of sharing information among organizations is driving the UC market globally. Video, audio conferencing and web conferencing services are driving the UC market due to their ability to closely connect geographically dispersed enterprises.
The global market for unified communications as-a-service is expected to grow from $2.52 billion in 2013 to $7.62 billion by 2018, at an estimated compound annual growth rate of 24.8%.
A recent study conducted by MarketsandMarkets shows that UCaaS will be one of the key enabling factors that will drive the market for unified communications. The emergence of video technology and collaboration solutions has been driving the market, although telephony will be the most used technology in coming years.
Another important factor in the market is collaboration application, with revenue for that segment expected to grow from $540.74 million in 2013 to $1.75 billion by 2018, at an estimated CAGR of 26.5%.
UCaaS is a rapidly growing market that is generating a lot of interest among enterprises. As Gartner Research principal analyst Elia San Miguel noted, carriers are looking to add communication as a service and unified communications to their portfolios to enhance their presence in the corporate market.
We saw a wave of session border controller (SBC) and application server upgrades in 2013, and we expect the next steps in 2014 will be improved interoperability between competing solutions. This will be especially critical for enterprise-to-enterprise network designs that support inter-company UC ecosystems.
The demand for mobile devices to support unified and communication will continue to grow, and we will see some evolutionary advances. For example, we will see HD voice supported on mobile devices; however, interoperability with landline-based VoIP and even on competing mobile-to-mobile services will be rocky until further work is done in interoperability. Voice over LTE (VoLTE) will also face interoperability issues with existing UC platforms, requiring a gateway to translate between public and private voice systems.