Boosted by cloud enthusiasm, hosted voice and unified communication see growth


Businesses are adopting hosted voice over IP and unified communication solutions as enthusiasm for cloud services grows, according to a recent study from market research firm Infonetics. Offering increased flexibility and potential cost savings, cloud telephony and collaboration tools can appeal to organizations looking for alternatives to costly, unwieldy traditional solutions.


According to the Infonetics study, the global IP voice services market totaled $63 billion in 2012, signifying a 9 percent increase over 2011. The most substantial year-over-year growth was in hosted voice and UC services revenue, which increased 17 percent. Researchers speculated that the increase was due to ongoing demand for cloud computing solutions in the enterprise. In particular, these services are no longer seen as fringe technologies for early adopters.


“The market for VoIP services has moved well beyond the early adopter stage to mainstream status in many developed countries,” said Infonetics Research analyst Diane Myers. “New geographic regions are opening up, and SIP trunking and hosted UC continue to heat things up, fueling growth.”


She added that vendors are increasingly highlighting the benefits of cloud telephony and unified communication technology as businesses look for solutions that can address their geographically distributed footprints. Given the ease of collaboration between stakeholders with the use of cloud communication tools, these solutions can have a particularly positive ROI for companies looking to unite remote workers and offices.


Benefits of hosted communication solutions

Cloud computing solutions are enabling more companies to access unified communication tools than ever before, a recent Research and Markets study noted. A cloud-based Unified Communications as-a-Service model allows organizations to pay for just the services they use rather than installing a complicated, expensive on-premise solution.


In addition to direct cost savings, there are a wide range of intangible benefits that can increase ROI, contributor and cloud expert Adrian Thirkill noted in a recent CloudTech column. For the IT department, ROI might be seen in the fact that cloud-based UC enables the business to consolidate disparate software systems, while the marketing and customer service departments might see benefits from improved communication with customers.


Similarly, an HR department can cut down on recruitment costs by conducting interviews over video conference, Thirkill added. And productivity can be increased internally by enabling employees to hold meetings without the timing and cost constraints of travel. All of these benefits contribute to a more positive workplace environment.


“Unified communications and collaboration facilitate an ‘anywhere, anytime,’ flexible working approach,” Thirkill wrote. “This working culture is a significant pull to attract talent and meet staff retention objectives, a return which is hugely important to a business trying to keep its competitive edge and meet its growth targets.”


Given the potential collaboration improvements and cost savings of a cloud-based unified communication solution, the technology is expected to move even further toward the mainstream. According to Infonetics, the combined business and residential market for voice services is expected to reach more than $82 billion by 2017. As the market for cloud telephony and collaboration grows, businesses may want to consider how these tools can help improve their operations. Working with a managed services provider specializing in unified communication solutions, organizations can develop a plan that suits their individual needs and ensure a smooth unified communications and collaboration implementation.