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Growth for Unified Communications Platforms

Continued adoption by enterprises of applications and services based on IP technology is creating a new opportunity for providers of unified communications platforms, especially in vertical industries that are well advanced in the move to all-IP networks, according to the latest report published by Light Reading.

"Enterprises face heavy pressure to streamline business processes and increase worker productivity, both of which can be accomplished through unified communications," notes Denise Culver, research analyst with Light Reading's VOIP Services Insider and author of the report.

The greatest attraction may ultimately lie in unified communication's ability to deliver strong, targeted applications for enterprises in vertical market sectors, she says. "For example, the insurance industry has a strong need for presence-based and find-me or follow-me technologies, since most of its workforce is made up of teleworkers and road warriors," she explains.

Despite the benefits delivered by unified communications, platform suppliers still have to convince enterprise customers to invest in the technology, Culver says. "In terms of marketing, vendors must address the issue of better defining unified communications, how it works, and how it is implemented throughout an enterprise," she explains.

"In terms of pricing, vendors must develop more apples-to-apples pricing strategies to enable enterprises to comparison-shop their products. Additionally, they must better define and explain hard-dollar ROI in order to draw enterprises to the systems."

Other key findings include the following:

- Instead of replacing a company's communications infrastructure, unified communications should complement it by integrating existing resources, as well as introducing new ones.

- The benefits of unified communications include providing companies with a global reach and enabling seamless, borderless communication across multiple devices.

- Major technology suppliers are now aggressively pursuing unified communications, which is likely to clarify its role for the entire industry.

- Marketing remains a major challenge, primarily due to ongoing confusion about what unified communications encompasses.

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