That’s the prediction of analyst firm Frost & Sullivan who also say that the transformation will see many traditional ICT vendors struggling to grow or even maintain their marketshare.
According to Frost & Sullivan’s Head of Research, ICT Practice, Audrey William, Microsoft Lync will become a more disruptive force in the UC market in 2014. “Although still a relatively new player in Unified Communications with low market share, Microsoft has been gaining momentum in the last 12 months and has grown enough to be pose a threat to traditional UC vendors.”
“Channels and customers now regard Microsoft seriously and channels and IT integrators that used to sell only traditional telephony solutions are now incorporating Microsoft Lync into their product mix.
“These companies are now moving to Lync for IM, presence, collaboration and voice.”
Harpur says that Frost & Sullivan anticipates that traditional market participants in the Unified Communications space will increasingly feel the pressure from Microsoft in 2014.
Other predictions for the ICT industry in 2014 by Frost & Sullivan include:
• High usage of Apps will compel organisations to take enterprise mobility discussions seriously
As mobile devices are increasingly used for business, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) will become important themes for businesses in developing a mobility strategy. Whilst the device itself is one part of the equation, greater challenges lie in how to manage apps, how to control which apps should be allowed and disallowed from employees’ devices and having the right security measures in place as part of a wider enterprise mobility strategy. Given the sheer volume of devices and applications being used by employees, security is very critical for every organisation and specialist Mobile Device Management (MDM) vendors and security vendors will play crucial roles. Security has been highlighted inFrost & Sullivan’s research as the single biggest challenge faced by organisations in implementing an enterprise mobility strategy.
Cloud based MDM applications as well as cloud based private enterprise App stores will become more relevant in 2014. Some of the benefits include greater control over which apps are used by employees. An enterprise App store also allows employees to download apps that have been approved by the organisation, without the need to worry about security or reliability issues.
• The rise of the Internet of Things
Frost & Sullivan estimates that there will be close to 80 billion connected devices by 2020 globally. M2M (machine-to-machine communication) is growing rapidly, and we will see rapid growth in the number of devices with smart sensors, RFID tags and other intelligent input and output automated sensory systems, enabling high level connectivity between machines, devices and individuals. This will lead to innovation in how services are delivered in industries such as Healthcare, Automotive,logistics, Transportation, Retail and Mining. Frost & Sullivan believes that the impact of IT on multiple industries will become increasingly pronounced over the next year.
• Telecommunication vendors will increasingly play a critical role in the delivery of ICT
With cloud and mobility driving significant change within businesses, the role of telecommunications service providers will become more prominent. Frost & Sullivan believes that telecommunication vendors will ramp up their service offerings across cloud, mobility, managed hosting, contact centres and enterprise communication services. Telstra is a good example of a telco that is driving the delivery of enterprise communication services out of its NAS (Network Application Services) division. Although telecommunication providers will face competition from Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) players such as Amazon Web Services, they will play an increasingly important role in the delivery, management and hosting of cloud services. Additionally, in the era of the Internet of Everything and of mobility, telcos will play an increasingly vital role in the delivery of ICT services.
• UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) will be the norm
As organisations come to the end of the life cycle of their telephony and other UC technologies, many are either returning to a traditional on-premise UC solution or moving to a hosted or cloud-based UC solution. Vendors and integrators that do not develop hosted or cloud-based offerings will find it increasingly difficult to compete in the UC market in 2014. Frost & Sullivan has observed a similar shift to the cloud in the videoconferencing segment, with solutions from vendors such as BlueJeans starting to become more prominent. Although there is still a large market for on-premise videoconferencing solutions, many organisations are looking at hosted and cloud-based offerings that can reduce their professional services and maintenance costs.
• Further disruption in Enterprise Communications will be caused by WebRTC
It is still early days for WebRTC (Web Real-time Communication), but Frost & Sullivan predicts this technology will really take off in the Enterprise Communications market. Vendors, channels and telcos are already starting to discuss potential adoption. At this stage, from a Unified Communicationsand Contact Centre market perspective, there are still questions about how rich the features will be in terms of multimedia capabilities, and how scalable the solution will be. However, browser-to-browser communications could eventually lessen the need for telephony devices and peripherals.Communicating will be as easy as clicking a link that will allow the user to make a voice or video call. Cisco and Mozilla announced recently that the free and open distribution of the H.624 codec means that these two companies can collaborate for real-time streaming of online video from the browser without plugins. The WebRTC space will be one to watch in 2014, and we can expect more announcements from Enterprise Communications vendors over the coming year.
• Google, Amazon will be a growing threat to ICT vendors
Although Google’s penetration into the Enterprise Communications space is currently well behind traditional vendors that have been selling into the voice and video markets, Google has all the right pieces in place to now make significant inroads into the market.
A number of large organisations have moved to Google’s cloud mail, and Frost & Sullivan expects more organisations will follow in 2014. Google is also working on upgrades to its video Hangouts, to be better able to handle high definition video. This could potentially challenge traditional vendor offerings. In 2014, more integrators will offer hosted telephony for enterprise grade voice services from their own hosted telephony solution and bundle in Google Hangouts as a hosted/cloud offering for enterprises. Google is also working on a number of ambitious plans in the areas of cloud, big data and the internet of things. Google’s influence in the enterprise space will only get stronger.
Amazon Web Services will continue to grow fast in 2014. Although many companies will continue to buy servers and storage from the likes of HP, IBM and Dell, a growing number of organisations now feel comfortable with buying servers and storage in the cloud for a fraction of the cost of on-premise storage.