The Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) market has experienced a pronounced power shift. AV vendors are increasingly working to an agenda set by the leading cloud conferencing platforms, with software now firmly in the driving seat. Yet despite the clamour for solutions like Microsoft Teams Rooms, a new report from Futuresource Consulting shows there is still significant life in the bring-your-own-device model.
“It’s hard now to picture a world where we’re not comfortable with video conferencing in all its forms,” says Alistair Johnston, Head of Collaboration, Futuresource Consulting. “Cloud conferencing has enabled the shift from an incredibly formal activity that was predominantly carried out between meeting rooms, to a far more complex pattern of multiple user types collaborating across numerous locations. And, of course, this collaboration now takes place on software platforms, with users’ physical locations increasingly irrelevant.”
Growth in the UC&C market went into overdrive in 2021, in terms of both users and revenue, with Futuresource research showing user numbers climbed by 31%, increasing by a further 12% in 2022. However, most knowledge workers now have access to at least one UC&C account, particularly in Western economies. Therefore, Futuresource expects growth to slow during the forecast period, with users rising at a CAGR of 10% through to 2026.
“UC&C platforms have become ubiquitous,” says Johnston. “Adoption of desktop-based UC&C is now near-universal, and there are very few ways in which any platform can increase the size of its user base. The only viable growth strategies are built upon stealing market share from other providers, or by converting different customer types, such as frontline workers.”
North America continues to lead the way, with organisations in the region more inclined to pay for UC&C, accounting for around 60% of global revenues in 2021 and 2022. In terms of regional growth, EMEA holds the most potential. Futuresource notes that the region is experiencing an increasing acceptance of both hybrid work and the need to invest in the enabling software and hardware.
With the exception of China, there has been considerable consolidation around the Big Four, comprising Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet and Webex by Cisco. With an increasing mutual acknowledgement and interoperability between these four, the space for other software providers is dwindling away.
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