The Gold-Laying UC Egg
You've probably heard Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp., and others making
a lot of noise, recently, about unified communications (UC).
There's a reason for that, experts say: There are profits to be had in UC.
The market itself grew by 20 percent in both 2007 and 2006, according
to market-watcher Infonetics Research.
On a related note, the IP contact center (IPCC) segment also surged in both
years, growing by an average of 25 percent in 2006 and 2007. Predictable expansion
of this kind is a gold-laying-goose that Cisco, Microsoft and others just can't
What's more, according to Infonetics, UC and IPCC sales eclipsed the $1.05
billion mark in 2007, with "healthy growth" projected through at least 2011.
"As a key component of unified communications, sales of communicator
software clients are taking off. The Nortel/Microsoft alliance drove growth
in 2007, and Microsoft captured close to half the communicator market,"
said Matthias Machowinski, Infonetics Research's directing analyst for
enterprise voice and data, in a statement. "Market share will likely bounce
around in the coming years, as vendors from different backgrounds try to establish
themselves as the leader in the nascent UC market and promote their offerings
Infonetics' research paints a picture of an UC and IPCC free-for-all. Microsoft,
for example, recently unveiled its own UC entries -- and promptly catapulted
to first place in communicator revenue market share last year.
Unified messaging, meanwhile, is a more stolid segment: It accounts for the
bulk of the UC market entire and, at this point, it's led by Avaya, which accounts
for about one-third of unified messaging revenues.
Avaya is flat-out dominant in the IPCC market, where it accounts for more than
half of worldwide revenues, according to Infonetics; Cisco is second
in this segment, the market watcher said.
Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.