Companies will need to invest heavily in unified communications (UC) over the next four years as more staff work from home or in remote locations, according to analyst firm IDC.
IDC's Australia Unified Communications and Collaboration 2012-2017 Forecast and Analysis report said that the UC market will be worth $943.7 million by 2017, up from $661.7 million today.
"Whilst companies are careful with their spending, UC and collaboration remains an area they are willing to invest in to drive productivity, lower operating costs and create business advantages," said IDC Australia research manager Siow-Meng Soh in a statement.
"As the workforce becomes more mobile and distributed, there will be greater demand for UC and collaboration solutions."
According to Soh, the Australian UC and collaboration market grew 8.5 per cent during the first half of 2012 on a year-over-year basis. Video conferencing experienced the strongest demand with 65 per cent of the market controlled by Cisco and Polycom. This was due to larger enterprises deploying videoconferencing facilities from the respective vendors in meeting rooms.
The majority (80 per cent) of the 100 Australian enterprises that participated in the survey had either deployed, or were in the process of rolling out UC.
This was up dramatically from the 2011 survey results where only 40 per cent of enterprises had introduced UC technology.
"While there is a high level of interest for UC and collaboration solutions, some companies have chosen software-based solutions such as Microsoft Lync and cloud offerings such as CSC's UC-as-a-service, instead of going with an IP telephony vendor," Soh said.
According to IDC, the survey results show that videoconferencing is still in the "start-up phase" for the mid-market. "Upfront Capex investments, ongoing costs and interoperability remain key concerns for customers," he said.
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