Seeing Green

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  August 01, 2010

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of Unified Communications magazine.

A battle for supremacy between Avaya and Cisco (News - Alert), and an interest by businesses in green initiatives are two of the key trends shaping up on the unified communications front, according to new studies from Infonetics Research and Frost & Sullivan. The introduction of the iPhone (News - Alert) 4 also has brought a new angle to the UC landscape.

In announcing its first quarter enterprise unified communication, VoIP and TDM equipment forecast, Infonetics (News - Alert) Research reports that Avaya, with the Nortel assets now under its belt, and Cisco are going head to head as leaders in enterprise telephony. (For more on Avaya, see the “60 Seconds with Avaya” Q&A in this issue.)

"We expected the acquisition of Nortel's enterprise assets to put Avaya in the clear lead for overall PBX equipment market share leadership, and while Avaya did receive a nice bump this quarter, softness in the acquired Nortel business combined with strong results by Cisco meant that Cisco and Avaya essentially tied for revenue market share, although Avaya is ahead in terms line shipments,” notes Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise voice and data at Infonetics Research. “This unfolding battle will be interesting to watch over the coming quarter, as both companies bring certain strengths and weaknesses to the table."The research firm says Cisco led the overall enterprise telephony market by just a nose in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Avaya experienced a 25 percent quarterly increase in its PBX revenue following its purchase of Nortel's enterprise solutions business.

As a whole, revenue from PBXs and KTS systems was $2 billion in the first quarter, which was a 4 percent sequential dip, according to Infonetics. Despite the decline, the enterprise telephony market continues to grow from the lows of the first half of 2009, the research firm indicates, noting this space has advanced 7 percent year-over-year from the first quarter of 2009 and that the North American PBX equipment market posted the highest year-over-year growth between the first quarters of 2009 and 2010 worldwide. And while sales of unified communication applications are temporarily down due to expired promotions, the firm adds, this space is expected to see growth in the year ahead, with Avaya and Cisco leading the way.

Meanwhile, Frost & Sullivan indicates that the green IT trend should be a major, and growing, adoption driver for unified communications and collaboration.

Dorota Oviedo, industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan’s unified communications and collaboration group, says businesses are beginning to move in efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Naturally, using telepresence and UC tools as an alternative to business outings and office commutes is one key area that can allow them to do that. Indeed, the research firm notes that the Web conferencing services market in Europe grew 19.3 percent last year.

Speaking of green, Sipera Systems just got some more of it.

The UC enablement and security outfit earlier this summer closed a funding round of $10 million. The round – led by S3 Ventures, and including prior investors Austin Ventures, Duchossois Technology Partners, Sequoia Capital (News - Alert), and STAR Ventures –  brings Sipera’s total funding to $48 million. The new money will help the company advance its smartphone UC security solutions and UC-Sec enterprise UC security product family by enabling it to further develop its channel and expand its geographic target, says Adam Boone (News - Alert), vice president of marketing and product management with Sipera Systems.

Boone notes that the rise of the smartphone has been a huge development on the communications scene that has created new challenges for corporate network administrators. That’s because employees increasingly want to access company resources with the same smartphones they purchased and enjoy for personal use. Boone says this challenge will only increase with the introduction of the iPhone 4, which brings with it the ability to multitask. While folks have used their smartphones in the past for UC and VoIP, he says the multitasking capabilities of iPhone 4 is likely to trigger much greater use of such applications on the Apple devices, driving greater security challenges for the corporate network.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi