Next-generation instant messaging incorporated into IP-based unified messaging infrastructures is poised to become the "next big thing" for corporate communications, research published today has predicted.
According to Frost & Sullivan, this expected convergence could dramatically boost the uptake of unified messaging systems by companies in EMEA.
The analyst firm reported that the EMEA unified messaging and communication markets earned revenues of €613.3m in 2005 and estimated that the figure will reach €1.53bn by 2012.
"The IP telephony infrastructure market is forcing vendors to deliver on their promises of productivity benefits, thus forcing suppliers to integrate messaging and collaboration tools in their offerings," said Frost & Sullivan senior research analyst Luke Thomas.
"In recent years, applications such as unified messaging and unified communication have become increasingly important because of the need to save costs."
Frost & Sullivan noted that, as IP telecoms services are visible in the mainstream market, there is an increasing demand for unifying the silo-based communication infrastructures to lead to the emergence of unified services.
The analyst firm believes that the majority of multinational enterprises have reached a consensus that the long-term platform for voice and data communications is IP and are deploying voice over IP solutions.
This trend towards convergence of voice and data traffic over IP is expected to enable large-scale implementations of value-added services such as unified messaging and communication.
Although awareness of unified messaging has grown substantially over the past 12 months, the analyst firm noted that educating people on its function and benefits is the biggest challenge faced by vendors and service providers.
There is also a lack of awareness about the availability and benefits of unified communication services.
"Another obstacle undermining the growth of these markets is the lack of successful business case studies highlighting the use of unified messaging and communication, thus making it very difficult to justify the business cases for these solutions," said Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Shomik Banerjee.
"As a result, a majority of end users in the corporate environment have very low awareness of successful implementations, especially within their own sectors."
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