The unified communications (UC) market in the public sector is at its very early stages of inception. Most opportunities in this sector within the short to medium term will be centred on the migration of phone systems from TDM (time-division multiplexing) to IP (internet protocol).
However, market uptake in the public sector will increase in the 2010 when the majority of agencies have deployed an IP Telephony platform.
New analysis from global growth consulting company, Frost & Sullivan, Unified Communications Opportunities in the Australian Government Vertical 2006 – 2010, reveals that the total potential addressable market size is estimated to be valued at AU$72.7 million in 2006 and is forecasted to be worth AU$94.1 million by end-2010.
UC encompasses all the features that are associated with unified messaging, speech technologies, presence, video, audio and web conferencing and collaboration solutions. UC allows users to access real time information and communications via a plethora of devices and tools at the desktop.
According to Miss Audrey William, research manager at Frost & Sullivan Australia, "awareness around UC is currently low and not many federal and state government departments understand the range of applications offered by UC. Also, the government sector is still predominantly on TDM phones and many still do not see the need to use collaborative technologies or even migrate to UC in the next 3-5 years. That itself will curtail adoption."
Most government departments have very strict policies around email and other third party applications, thus making it a tougher sell for UC applications. Concerns around privacy and security of data will make it tough for applications such as presence, instant messaging (IM) and federation to be deployed in the near term.
Adds Ms William "technologies such as videoconferencing and web conferencing have been deployed in government quite extensively in the past and is not viewed as a new technology and our report indicates that the uptake of video and high end video solutions like telepresence applications will see good adoption in the public sector market due to more integration across agencies and to save on travel costs."
The Frost & Sullivan study also found that channels play an important role in the deployment of UC in government. However, the vendors' direct participation is a must for some of the larger and medium sized government departments.
In a survey conducted with 93 senior management-level executives, with control or insight into their business' IT budgets found that across federal and state government, the majority of the respondents prefer to procure solutions directly from a vendor. Says Ms William, "what this indicates is that although a channel or system integrator will be heavily involved throughout the deployment, in the government sector a vendor's direct participation is critical."
The survey lists the highest importance factor when choosing a UC vendor is reliability of services and support. For vendors to have a successful play in the government vertical, it will be important to demonstrate service delivery capabilities.
The Unified Communications Opportunities in the Australian Government Vertical 2006 – 2010 Demand & Supply reports forms part of Frost & Sullivan Australia's unified communications subscription, which also includes research on the following sectors: Unified Communications Opportunities in the Australian BFSI vertical (published in June 2007) and Unified Communications Opportunities in the Australian Healthcare vertical (November 2007). This service can be purchased separately or bundled as a full report.
All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Analyst interviews are available to the press.
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