by Divina Paredes

NZ’s unified communications market tipped to grow over 3 per cent in next two years

Jan 27, 20154 mins
Technology Industry

Frost Sullivan says the New Zealand’s 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.

According to the analyst firm’s 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.

Instant Messaging (IM)/presence and mobility were the highest growing segments, followed by enterprise 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.

“On-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,” says Audrey William, head of research, Frost Sullivan Australia and New Zealand.

On-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.

App 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

The 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.

Spark Digital, Dimension Data and Vodafone NZ are the three major channel partners and account for the majority of large deployments in the market.

Spark 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.

Threats from emerging players

Frost Sullivan, however, sees new players posing a greater competitive threat to the established vendors over the next few years.

Mitel, 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.

“In 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,” says William.

However, the combination of mobile devices and cloud based delivery models is having the most significant effect on shaping the future of UC solutions.

The 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 (BYOD) and Activity Based Working (ABW), where mobile devices play a central role,” says William.

“As 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 in 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.”

UC’s 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.

“App 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,” according to William.

WebRTC and app based UC are among the emerging technologies aimed at addressing this shift.

Although 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 Business-2-Consumer (B2C) environments.

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