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2/26/2007
09:27 AM
Melanie Turek
Melanie Turek
Commentary
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End User Study Shows Mixed Results for Unified Communications

Frost & Sullivan just completed a study conducted with more than 240 business managers to determine their awareness and usage of unified communications, including IM, conferencing, presence and video. Awareness is highest for instant messaging and audio conferencing, with nearly all respondents indicating that they are aware of those technologies. It’s least known for presence, which roughly seven out of ten respondents are aware of. Interestingly, though perhaps not surprisingly, many respondents think they are aware of the various unified communications products when they really aren’t—that is, when asked to define them, they get it wrong. For instance, 29% of respondents who say they’re aware of presence define it as the ability to log into their company’s network.

Although awareness of unified communications products is relatively high, reported usage is not so encouraging. Instant messaging, audio conferencing and mobile data are most frequently used, but less than half of respondents use any of these popular products for business on a daily or weekly basis. PC-based video is least frequently used of all. And although the top reason for lack of usage of all products is generally out of the respondents’ control—their organizations do not offer it—most of the least-used products are not likely to see increased usage if made available in the workplace.

As for convergence, audio, video and Web conferencing are the most preferred features for unification. Surprisingly, given its current popularity, instant messaging is desired as part of a unified communications application by less than half of those surveyed.

The study contains lots more information about how, why and whether business people are using unified communications technologies. Stay tuned for more results, or contact me with specific questions.

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