"Despite the confusion sowed by vendors who have abused the term 'unified communications,' unifying disparate modes of communication has strong appeal because it ultimately simplifies the lives of users and increases their productivity," said Infonetics' Matthias Machowinski in an email Monday.
In its survey of 106 U.S. and Canadian companies with at least 100 employees, Infonetics set out to develop a state-of-the-art view of unified communications and the firms supplying UC solutions and the business reasons that encourage users to move to UC.
The survey found adoption of UC is being influenced by a number of dynamic factors including the growth of mobile wireless applications in business and new applications like video, short messaging and social networking.
"Cisco was used by about one-third of the respondents for VoIP," said Machowinski, "about double that of the nearest competitor. Cisco's (position) has been steadily rising over the years, boosted by the move to VoIP." Machowinski, directing analyst for Infonetics' enterprise voice and data practice, added that Cisco also benefitted because of its status as the major networking incumbent in businesses in addition to its strengths in video and as a complete product portfolio supplier.
The research found that Microsoft remains the leading email and IM provider, but that Google is challenging Microsoft in corporate email and has been capturing market share. "This seemed unlikely a few years ago, given Google's consumer heritage," he added.
Turning to the growth of mobile applications in business applications, Machowinski said mobile carriers might be expected to benefit from the move, but they haven't had much success so far. "So for now," he said, "I think the providers that offer these core services and expose them to mobile devices will succeed."