VoIP, unified communications investments continue growing

    The ongoing macroeconomic crisis is putting an intense amount of pressure on decision-makers to implement next-generation solutions capable of enhancing operational efficiency without significantly driving costs. While innovative technologies like cloud computing often promise these benefits, the communication landscape is constantly changing and forcing companies to find tools in this area of business to deliver the same demands.

    For this reason, among others, the private sector is investing more heavily in VoIP and unified communications than it had in the past. This was highlighted in a recent study by Infonetics Research, which found that spending on VoIP and UC services will reach $377 billion from 2012 through 2016.

    While there are many aspects pushing the adoption of next-generation business VoIP systems and unified communications, the emergence of cloud and hosted phone services is one of the primary drivers, Infonetics Research noted.

    Another reason VoIP and UC are experiencing significant growth is the expanding vendor landscape.

    "The SIP trunking and hosted UC segments were marked by strong growth and dynamic supplier landscapes in the first half of 2012," said Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP and UC at Infonetics Research. "Beyond traditional operators and service providers, we're seeing a growing number of PBX/UC vendors, enterprise agents, system integrators and resellers expanding into hosted UC offerings."

    Why should companies invest in unified communications?

    Unified communications, in its most basic sense, is the convergence of multiple collaboration applications under a single roof. As a result, employees will be able to access a number of essential tools, such as video conferencing and instant messaging, without wasting time and opening several applications.

    A separate report by Supply Chain Digital said organizations leveraging unified communications can also reduce their carbon footprint and improve the decision-making process by using unique presence solutions, which provide real-time information regarding the availability and location of colleagues.

    "Once people sample a small pilot scheme [of unified communications], testing out the benefits and see the time saved, it is very hard to take it away from them. It becomes imbedded in their routine," said Ben Lee, consultant at Waterstons, according to Supply Chain Digital.

    As the private sector becomes more competitive, decision-makers will be compelled to leverage next-generation telecom technologies to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. This will be when unified communications and VoIP systems truly shine.

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