Unified communications remains a three-horse race

Daniel Kennedy, Research Director for Information Security

Enterprise unified communications (UC), the hottest technology of the Networking Study published in 2012, has slowed in greenfield implementations after a rapid adoption cycle. Recall that in 2012 TheInfoPro predicted that approximately 20% of enterprises would newly adopt UC; according to a preview of the latest Networking Study interviews, the technology is on pace, moving from 49% ‘in use’ to 64% ‘in use.’ Adoption saturation is not affecting continued spending, however, as 51% of respondents with the technology ‘in use’ or ‘in plan’ predict increasing their spending, against a paltry 3% decreasing.

Unified Communications

A slowing of new rollouts could mean little change in the vendor landscape for unified communications, which is the term for product suites that allow message delivery from one party to another in a way that best reaches the second party using a variety of mediums (e.g., IM, video, message management) and the use of presence information. Right now that vendor landscape is a three-horse race, with the dominant provider Cisco in the lead and a near even tie for second between Microsoft and Avaya.

Representative narratives about the continued rollout of unified communications solutions included the following:

  • “Microsoft – they’re investing a lot of time and effort rolling out unified communications, telephony. Rolling out phones into enterprise license. Almost giving it away for free, or making you think it’s free. Last year the product was not there. This year it’s almost there. Next version will probably be enterprise ready. They’re getting people kicking tires on it now. Sprint has gone with it. Orange is rolling it out. I think they’re gonna be a credible competitor. I’d rate it a 5 [as a Cisco threat]. They’re coming up fast… not on the switch side. They’re putting the pedal to the metal on telephones and tying that to instant messaging… may actually have something. Cisco is asleep at the switch.” – LE, Industrial/Manufacturing
  • “We have network and security coming together again. Also new within that group, VoIP, unified communication, Microsoft Lync handled by communications department.” – LE, Business Services

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