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February 02, 2010

Will UC Be a Hit in 2010?

By Stefania Viscusi, Assignment Desk Editor

As many businesses continue to focus heavily on leveraging technologies that cut costs and improve their operations, Unified Communications (News - Alert) has garnered growing interest.
A number of recent industry reports are focusing on the growth of UC and some are even labeling it as a “new buzzword for 2010.”
Part of the reason behind this, an analyst told TMCnet, is the economy and the need for cost savings as well as the reduced complexity associated with deploying these systems.

“UC is complex to deploy and manage, but it is becoming simpler and as it becomes less complex, the cost-benefit analysis begins to swing in the direction of deploying the infrastructure,” said Mike Jude, program manager for Stratecast, a division of IT market research firm Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert).

Jude also noted that unified communications is becoming hotter as businesses are seeing “virtue in it.”
“With UC, an employee can be very mobile and that mobility can be hidden from customers,” Jude said. “Essentially, UC tends to make the employee’s presence virtual.”
“Regardless of how an employee is connected – via e-mail, text, IM, cell phone, and so on – that employee is reachable and can effectively interact and do real business.”
A recent report by Infonetics Research (News - Alert) notes the UC industry is projected to soar by more than 100 percent over the next four years and will top $1 billion by 2013.
This prediction, Jude said, may be a bit optimistic. While costs are coming down, the economy still plays an important role in whether or not companies “are likely to want to undertake very expensive automation projects.”
In order to have effective UC, there would have to be a lot of embedded work done and according to Jude, the appropriate uptake in social medium enabled-office automation is necessary.
Despite this though, there have already been a number of partnerships formed including Sprint (News - Alert) Mobile’s recent move to support UC with Tango Networks (News - Alert) and Polycom’s partnership with Juniper, to improve UC, for example.
According to Jude, “Demand drives solutions.”
“If UC sees a significant uptake, then vendors will organize to provide it,” he said. “The vendors that bring a complete solution to market (either independently or through partnerships) will be in the best position to capitalize on any demand that develops.”

Stefania Viscusi is an assignment editor for TMCnet, covering voice and Voice over IP technologies. She also oversees production of TMCnet's e-Newsletters in the areas of Internet telephony and speech technology. To read more of Stefania's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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