The use of cloud-based communications systems is predicted to see major growth in the coming years, according to a new report by Frost & Sullivan.
The analyst firm said that the recession had led many companies to start using unified communications (UC) systems in the cloud to save money on deployment, and that the market for such systems in Europe will grow nearly 80 per cent a year to reach a value of €1.6bn (£1.4bn) by 2014.
"A down economy favouring solutions based on operational expenditure, coupled with the market's need for flexibility and a focus on core competencies, all boosted cloud-based UC services adoption," said Frost & Sullivan research analyst Dorota Oviedo.
"Small businesses and large enterprises are both interested in communications delivered as a service."
However, Frost & Sullivan warned of a number of hurdles to adoption, including lingering fears over reliability and security, and a preference to keep communications systems in house.
"Cloud-based UC market participants claim that customer 'mindset' is one of the major barriers to adoption, and that reliability and security issues are among the main customer concerns," said Oviedo.
"Eventually, the cost-effective approach of cloud services in terms of pay-as-you-go functionality should dominate the argument, especially in the small and medium sized business sector."
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