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August 27, 2007

Network General Survey Shows Growth in Unified Communications

The components of a unified communications infrastructure are contributing significantly to network traffic according to survey findings from Network General (News - Alert) Corporation. The provider of IT Service Assurance solutions released the findings showing that the impact of communications applications on network traffic is poised to become even more pronounced.

By polling 576 customers worldwide, the Network General survey found 75 percent of companies estimate that a quarter of their network traffic during the last three months consisted of unified communications-related applications, including VoIP, unified messaging, and instant message.

Integrated voice, video and Web conferencing is used by 40 percent of companies and nearly 70 percent have deployed VoIP, even though only 12 percent credit voice communication alone as responsible for additional network traffic. Nearly 80 percent however, expect the network traffic from all their communications applications to increase during the next 12 months.

As communications traffic continues to increase, IT managers are constantly confronted with the challenge of maintaining quality of service for all applications. The ramp-up is already making an impact as nearly 40 percent of companies have suffered application performance problems due to the convergence of communications applications onto their IT network and roughly 20 percent were unsure of whether their performance problems were related to the convergence of communications.

"With the growth of unified communications and additional new applications, IT departments are finding that their environments are becoming increasingly complex, as each new service often comes with unique management tools," said James Messer, Director of Technical Marketing at Network General, in a Monday statement.

Unified-View industry analyst, Art Rosenberg (News - Alert), confirmed the survey results as indicative of the viral aspects unified communication applications will have upon enterprise network resources. "As end users adopt the efficiencies of unified communications tools, business communication traffic will increase. This, in turn, will increase the need for network flexibility and capacity for enterprise traffic," he said, in Thursday’s statement.

"UC migration will present enterprise organizations with a 'chicken and egg' problem. Until enterprises can gain intelligence into their business operations, they really won't know what their new network requirements will be," Rosenberg continued. "Pilot testing with different types of users and business applications will be required in order for UC to evolve."

There seems to be no end in sight for this trend. Only nine percent of respondents have yet to implement unified communications-related applications in their business. As more and more corporate employees require the ability to seamlessly communicate while on the road, the need to support a unified communications infrastructure is only going to become more important.

"The increasing mobility of the workplace is driving unified communications to a new usage level," Messer added. "Additionally, it is through implementing unified communications - and streamlining business processes to support those communications - that IT managers will be able to help their companies communicate more effectively."

Messer also noted that to reap the full benefits of unified communications, companies must put in place the tools to comprehensively manage applications and ensure that quality of service is maintained.

This is not the first study to reveal the trend in unified communications and each one has identified its growth and long-term increasing demand as the need for seamless communications continues to grow in this ever-mobile economy.
Companies are not only demanding the increased functionality, consumers also will no longer accept that the organizations with which they do business cannot accommodate their requests because they technology prohibits it. Consumers will demand the functionality and flexibility and readiness of information in order to remain satisfied. Given the tight competition in nearly every industry, unified communications will be a “must-have.”

Green is the new black. At least, that’s the case in the communications industry where companies are finding that using green technology is not only good for the planet but good for business as well. Want to learn more about how being green can make money? Mark your calendar now for TMC’s (News - Alert) first annual Green Technology World Conference, Sept. 11-12, 2007 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California. Preview the show schedule, speakers and exhibitors—then register to attend.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.


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