Frost Sullivan says the New Zealand\u2019s Unified Communications (UC) market is emerging from a cycle of weak IT investments over the last few years, and predicts the market to grow over 3 per cent in 2015 and 2016.\nAccording to the analyst firm\u2019s latest New Zealand Unified Communications (UC) Market Report, UC growth rates picked up in 2014, following a period of cautious spending on IT across public and private sectors.\nInstant Messaging (IM)\/presence and mobility were the highest growing segments, followed by\nenterprise telephony. Overall, the UC market is forecast to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.6 per cent from 2013 to 2020, according to the report.\n\u201cOn-premise deployments will continue to account for the majority of UC revenues in the next five years, although growth rates in the on-premise segment will be much lower compared to the hosted and cloud-based segment,\u201d says Audrey William, head of research, Frost Sullivan Australia and New Zealand.\nOn-premise solutions are particularly strong in verticals where there is a greater need for control over the infrastructure, such as government and Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) and have sunk significant amounts into their UC infrastructures and would not find it cost effective to switch to a hosted model.\nApp based access to UC becoming mainstream is the next realistic stage given the proliferation of mobile device usage in enterprises. Audrey William, Frost amp; Sullivan\nThe UC market in New Zealand continues to be two-tiered, with the top three vendors - Microsoft, Cisco and Avaya - accounting for over 50 per cent of market share, and a large number of vendors competing for the remaining market.\nSpark Digital, Dimension Data and Vodafone NZ are the three major channel partners and account for the majority of large deployments in the market.\nSpark Digital holds a dominant share, advantaged by having telco and systems integration capabilities and will remain a major player in the on-premise and hosted UC market, according to the report.\nThreats from emerging players\nFrost Sullivan, however, sees new players posing a greater competitive threat to the established vendors over the next few years.\nMitel, ShoreTel and interactive Intelligence are steadily increasing their footprint; securing customers in the small and mid-market segments and building local market partnerships to grow their footprint.\n\u201cIn recent years, the UC market has undergone a number of major shifts, such as the move towards integrated applications, video based collaboration, collaboration centric UC and more recently, cloud and mobility based solutions,\u201d says William.\nHowever, the combination of mobile devices and cloud based delivery models is having the most significant effect on shaping the future of UC solutions.\nThe growing use of mobile devices within organisations is changing the way that employees collaborate and use applications. This has given rise to concepts such as Bring Your Own Device\n(BYOD) and Activity Based Working (ABW), where mobile devices play a central role,\u201d says William.\n\u201cAs the market shifts towards hosted and cloud-based solutions, traditional vendors will face competition from a new breed of cloud-based players.Google, Vidyo, Acano, LiveOps and Blue Jeans are already experiencing demand for their solutions, and are displacing traditional vendor solutions\nin many global markets. Over the next few years, these vendors will look to enter, and grow their presence in the New Zealand market through industry partnerships.\u201d\nUC\u2019s evolution lies in making applications accessible over the web, or through a mobile device app and demand for this presents a huge opportunity for UC vendors to capitalise on.\n\u201cApp based access to UC becoming mainstream is the next realistic stage given the proliferation of mobile device usage in enterprises. Tailoring UC solutions and making them available as apps that can be downloaded from an app store, will significantly impact the way users communicate and collaborate,\u201d according to William.\nWebRTC and app based UC are among the emerging technologies aimed at addressing this shift.\nAlthough WebRTC is at a nascent stage of availability in the New Zealand market, it offers significant potential to change communication in the Business-2-Business (B2B) and\nBusiness-2-Consumer (B2C) environments.\nSend news tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org\nFollow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap\nFollow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz\nSign up for CIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, views and events.\nJoin us on Facebook.