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Unified Communications News Roundup

Posted by Kevin Gulley

Dec 4, 2015

As usual, there is no shortage of activity, acquisitions and market growth numbers to talk about in the unified communications market.  So let's get straight to it:

Businesses Really Like UC or Don't Know What to Think of it

XO Communications recently sponsored a report with UBM Tech Media highlighting the compelling - and conflicting - aspects of UC adoption.  Some of the highlights of the report included:

• Only one-third of organizations surveyed have fully embraced UC.
• 87% of adopters say UC met or exceeded their expectations.
• Perceived ROI and cost issues are primary obstacles to UC adoption.
• Successful adopters have stronger C-level support than latecomers (74% vs. 58%).
• Future adopters are much less likely to opt for on-premises UC than current users (13% vs. 47%)

Wow, 5 bullet points can say a lot.  Let's sum that up, shall we?  

  • There is still a ton of room for growth in UC
  • People who have adopted UC really like it
  • Those who haven't can't figure out how to justify it (check out our recent post on new Namertes Research discussing a better way to track UC return)
  • UC is just like every other tech project.  Gotta get the big guys on-board.
  • UCaaS is going to win

An speaking of UCaaS...

Global UC Market is Skyrocketing Due to Increasing Demand for UCaaS

unified-communications-news-recent.pngThe unified communications market has been dominated to date by North America, but according to a new report by Transparency Market Research, that is changing quickly, with the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) market due to overtake North Americ by the end of 2018.  As Industry Today reports, that is due to UCaaS:

The growing popularity of unifed communications as a service (UCaaS) will fuel the growth of the global UC market. It is projected that global unified communications market will reach a total value of US$61.9 billion by 2018. United communications as a service is a highly standardized, updated, cost-effective, and pre-integrated service which enhances business processes. This results in faster decision making for companies.

The EMEA region is forcast to expand at a remarkable CAGR of 21% from 2012 to 2018 with the primary driver being the rapidly expanding mobile unified communications segment.

Microsoft Office 365 with Skype for Business and Cloud PBX Might be a Game Changer for UC Market

As we've discussed several times in the past, Microsoft Lync, now Skype for Business is growing like crazy.  As a matter of fact, Unify-Squared, a major Skype for Business service provider, predicts that Skype for Business has the potential to exceed 100 million enterprise seats by 2018.  While we're not sure if that is going to be the case, one thing we have heard over and over is that for businesses that have deployed Lync/S4B for presence, IM and conferencing, the migration to Enterprise Voice, or migrating all telephony to Skype has been much slower.  That may change as my colleague Paul Desmond reported, since Microsoft is getting into the telephony provider business in a big way:

Like other Office 365 plans, the E5 suite includes Skype for Business and all the unified communications features that entails, including presence, instant messaging, audio and video conferencing and more. It likewise includes all the usual Office applications plus security features, storage and more, as we previously reported.

But E5 also adds Cloud PBX, which when coupled with the PSTN calling option provides the ability to make and receive PSTN calls from the Skype for Business software client or IP phones, with features such as hold, forward and transfer. Microsoft is also offering a PSTN conferencing feature that enables callers using traditional landlines or mobile phones to dial into Skype for Business conferences.

Keep an eye on this and let us know what your plans are in the comments section below.  Meanwhile, on the acquisition front:

Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Acano - Looking to Capitalize on the Scaling of Video Adoption

How long have we been saying "This is the year when video really takes off"?  It's been a while, I know...but it does seem it has reached an inflection point and Cisco wants to capitalize on that in a big way with their acquisition of Acano, a provider of video and audio bridging technology and gateways to enable customers to connect different collaboration solutions from disparate vendors across cloud and hybrid environments.  According to the Cisco Blog:

Cisco believes that we can capture this massive market opportunity by delivering the best collaboration experience across every endpoint, every screen, every workspace, and to every user. Our vision is to dramatically increase the number of video-enabled conference rooms – moving from every one in 10 conference rooms connected with video, to every one in four within the next ten years. And we want people to be able to connect to those rooms easily from any device or system they have today. That’s why today we are announcing Cisco’s intent to acquire privately-held Acano Limited, a leading provider of collaboration infrastructure and conferencing software.

Cisco has continued to be active on the acquistion front with Acano representing the fourth significant purchase in the last two years.  And speaking of significant acquisitions.

Atos Acquires Unify - Looks to Build on Existing User Base and Circuit WebRTC Product

France-based IT service company Atos Origin acquired Unify (the former Seimens Enterprise Networks) for $371 million ($340 Euro) to move into the enterprise unified communications market in a big way. Unify has a significant install base of UC customers, but word on the street is that Atos was really intrigued because of Unify's WebRTC UC product, Circuit.  We can appreciate their enthusiasm. As we discussed in this interview with the Circuit team earlier this year:

WebRTC offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to interacting with customers, prospects and employees.  As an example, imagine Amazon offering a button you can click to get a CSR to join you in your session, complete with video, audio, chat and screen sharing.  This is game changing stuff.  “For businesses, WebRTC expedites the way that businesses interact with their stakeholders,” said Morais. “With no plugins to download, install and keep current, the hassle of offering and joining conferences goes away.”  

It will be interesting to see how Atos raises the profile of the Circuit offering and how successul they are in building on the existing user base.  It seems as if Atos got a great deal considering the 2012 revenue numbers for Unify (SEN) were $2.9 Billion

Topics: UC Industry, Cisco, WebRTC, Industry News, UCaaS, Skype for Business