Apple and Google to target UC


Handset manufacturers will launch into the unified communication sector by 2011, according to analysts at IDC’s 2009 Unified Communications conference.

IDC director of wireless research Lars Vestergaard said although Apple has so far worked in the mobile consumer space with its iPhone series, it will enter the enterprise sector within two years. Vestergaard said: “The iPhone, unlike BlackBerry devices, has poor security. CIOs are providing their workforce with iPhones, so Apple must address problems with hackers. It has a long way to go before it can deliver a decent unified communication package for the enterprise market.”

The Android market will boom in the next five years, and Google will also address the enterprise market, he claimed. “Google has to figure out how it will provide a unified communications solution through its Android platform. Its share of the smartphone market will mean it will have to provide a viable solution for the enterprise market by 2011.”

Vestergaard said Vodafone has set the standard for network operators with its One and OneNet services, and rivals will be required to catch it now.

The Western European convergence market will be worth £13 billion in five years. IDC said 20 per cent of companies will deploy unified communications solutions within a year. The figures, from IDC’s 2009 IDC WAN Manager survey, show companies see an IP PBX as progressive, and the number using IP PBXs jumped more than 10 per cent in 2009, to over half of businesses.

IDC research director Chris Barnard said: “It is not only about the technology but about cost saving for the business and the ability to grow. Companies are looking at new finance models and taking their time to consider new projects as well as reducing communication spending. Unified communications lends itself to a managed service and is going to benefit from this trend.

“There has also been a lot of marketing activity by major vendors and service providers and a lot of enterprises are coming up to the renewal cycle of their first generation technology. These things together are causing increased drive to the market.”

Microsoft, meanwhile, said businesses that implement convergence tools are less likely to struggle. Microsoft Office Server Group manager Peter King said installing such products helps reduce costs and position businesses for an economic rebound. According to King, the payback
on unified communications investment for a business with
4,000 staff takes two months typically, and they stand to save £12 million per year in productivity and £9 million on a reduction in travel costs.