Spending by small and midsize businesses is helping to fuel the market for Unified Communications (UC) applications and will continue to climb over the next five years. This is the forecast from business communication intelligence provider InfoTrack in its recently released forecast on IP Telephony (IPT) and UC.

According to the InfoTrack survey, firms with fewer than 500 employees represent 46 percent of the US installed base of IPT lines, but account for only 30 percent of the spending on UC applications. However, over the next five years, spending on UC apps by small and midsize businesses will be more than twice the rate of US enterprises.

The InfoTrack forecast on UC applications focuses on shipments and spending on nine separate applications in five categories: collaboration, mobility, UC clients, messaging and contact center.

UC levels the playing fiel

Among small business owners, UC helps to level the playing field against larger competitors. UC delivers all types of messaging and communication – email, voice, IM, fax – into a single inbox, which is available anywhere and anytime. In doing so, UC reduces the time it takes for information to reach a targeted recipient to enable a more immediate response. As an example, voice mail messages converted to data can be sent as email to an inbox. Information is just as accessible to employees on the go as in the office via mobile devices.

UC boosts collaboration by seamlessly connecting everyone in the organization regardless of where they are. Employees can communicate faster, get answers quicker and make more informed decision. They can work remotely to create a document or presentation through online white boards and document repositories and even launch an audio or video conference if needed using a smartphone and headset.

UC operational and cost benefits

UC makes it possible for small businesses, which don’t have a large IT infrastructure, to deliver real time communications tools to their teleworkers.  Also because small businesses have few employees,  the cost of communications services per seat can be high. Bundling communications services provides economies of scale.  IP-based solutions lower the charges on long distance phone calls; online conferencing and collaboration cut travel costs.

Where are you on UC deployment? If you are deploying a UC solution, is it hosted or on premise?

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