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How Big is the Unified Communications Market? Reports Vary on Size, But UC is Definitely Growing

Posted by Paul Desmond

Sep 2, 2014

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The overall global unified communications market is growing at a robust pace, thanks at least in part to the growth of cloud-based UC services.

That’s the upshot from a number of different market research reports on the UC market. While varying on the exact figures somewhat, they all paint a rosy picture of the market in general – which should come as welcome news to any company embarking on a UC project or expanding an existing implementation.

Global UC Market Size By the Numbers 

Let’s start with the overall numbers. Infonetics has the most aggressive outlook, expecting the market for VoIP and UC services to reach $88 billion by 2018. Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, UC, and IMS at Infonetics Research, has this to say: 

Business VoIP services have moved well beyond early stages to mainstream, strengthened by the growing adoption of SIP trunking and cloud services worldwide.

She goes on to note that hosted UC solutions are seeing strong interest from medium and large enterprises. 

Among the market highlights Infonetics cites is SIP trunking, which it says grew 50% in 2013 from the prior year, mainly through sales in North America. That certainly makes sense, as SIP trunking can save companies a boatload of money and is a core piece of infrastructure for UC deployments, as we wrote about recently.  

Infonetics includes both business and residential VoIP services in its numbers, and says they rose 8% in 2013 to $68 billion. Including residential services may be why its numbers are a bit higher than the other forecasts. 

Grand View Research expects the global UC market to reach $75.81 billion by 2020, according to this bit posted on LinkedIn, which says an increasingly mobile workforce and growing use of smart phones is fueling demand. No argument here. (You can see a teaser for the full report here, but it doesn’t have any of those numbers – it’ll cost you $4,500 to see those.) 

 

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At the low end, in December, Transparency Market Research said the global UC market size  would reach $61.9 billion in 2018, giving it a CAGR of 15.7% from 2012 to 2018.  It cites the video-capable mobile devices and the bring your own device movement as UC drivers. Again, no argument here. 

Hosted UC Market Sees Strong Gains

In August Infonetics released another reported focused on hosted VoIP and UC services, this time solely for businesses. Among its findings
Infonetics expects continued strong worldwide growth for the cloud PBX and UC market over the next 5 years, projecting it will reach $12 billion in 2018 with 62.6 million seats in service.
It says hosted PBX and UC services are “well beyond early stages, with revenue on track to grow 13% this year and positive activity in every major geographic region.” 

The report goes on to say:
The competitive landscape for business services is highly fragmented, with an increasing number of PBX and unified communications vendors, enterprise agents, system integrators, and resellers expanding into the market along with traditional service providers.

Another research firm, MarketsandMarkets, has an even brighter outlook for hosted UC, forecasting the market will grow from $13.1 billion in 2014 to $23.34 billion in 2019, for a CAGR rate of 12.2%. While that CAGR is similar to Infonetics’ projection, note that Marketsandmarkets puts the hosted UC market at $13.1 billion in 2014, whereas Infonetics says the market will be $12 billion in 2018.

Clearly, this is an inexact science. But in general these sorts of numbers should give some comfort to companies that have been on the fence with respect to hosted services, as they show a market that is maturing.  

Topics: cloud, Mobility, UC Industry