Unified Communications Featured Article

How Big is the Unified Communications Market?

October 01, 2012

Quantifying the size of the unified communications market is extremely difficult, as every vendor counts their UC shipments differently, and many components are now being bundled in with the UC server while clients are often given away for free, says Blair Pleasant,  COMMfusion principal.

There is no concurrence as to what should be included in any market analysis, as UC is not a “product,” she says. Pleasant differentiates between individual UC components that make up a UC solution, calling this “Total Gross” UC or UC-capable activity.

The Net or “True” UC market is a percentage of those gross UC sales and seat shipments that are expected to be used for UC solutions, rather than as a standalone or non-integrated product.

The worldwide “total” or UC-capable market for premises-based UC was $12.23 billion in 2011 – up 8 percent from 2010, growing to $20.76 billion by 2016, Pleasant says.

The component with the growth is conferencing/collaboration, with a 17-percent compound annual growth rate.

The “True UC market” was $2.7 billion in 2011 – up 20 percent from 2010, and expected to grow to $8.47 billion by 2016. The unified communications components, functions or point solutions are about an order of magnitude greater than the actual sale of “unified communications” platforms.

But UC isn’t the only business services market where there is a significant disparity between a total market and the ways of satisfying demand in that market.

The penetration rate of SIP trunking in the United States is somewhere between 5 and 30 percent of all trunk lines. Some believe it’s on the lower end of this, right around 5 percent in the United States, about 2.5 percent in Europe and is almost nonexistent in Asia right now.

That isn't to deny that SIP trunking is vitally important to service providers who sell to small and mid-sized businesses, or to some enterprises and enterprise locations. It is to point out that the total revenue is not large – in relation to total communications revenue – but is hugely important to some providers of such services. 

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Edited by Braden Becker

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