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BYOD fueling unified communications market

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The rapid growth of personal device use among workers is expected to significantly impact the future unified communications landscape. As more companies adopt bring your own device (BYOD), 35 percent of employees will be using these products for work-related tasks by mid-2013, according to a recent study conducted by Info-Tech Research Group.

Of the organizations surveyed by the market research firm, nearly 90 percent said they already support employee BYOD for email. As a result of this trend, unified communications vendors have to support a broader range of the devices. Info-Tech's senior research analyst, James McCloskey, noted that UC has evolved from basic messaging and telepresence technologies.

 

"UC now includes rich communication tools like video, voice, and document sharing, all working together seamlessly, or at least with fewer and fewer seams every day," said James McCloskey. "It's more than just seeing if someone is on the phone: UC allows you to communicate in the right way at the right time, whether it's through instant messaging on a desktop or video conferencing on a tablet."

 

SMBs gravitating toward BYOD

 

Small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, are gravitating to BYOD to support their IT operations. IT networking firm Spiceworks recently conducted a survey of almost 1,500 SMBs from 100 countries, and found that 75 percent of participants currently support employee devices like the iPad, iPhone and Android-powered smartphones.

 

Of these SMBs, 60 percent support the iPhone, 55 percent back Android devices and 41 percent do so for the iPad, according to Spiceworks.

 

Overall SMB IT budgets are also growing, and each business is expected to allocate $152,000 this year for technology. The firm said these companies are projected to increase their first-half IT spending by 6 percent and 15 percent year-over-year.

 

Spiceworks said that nearly 60 percent of SMBs are retaining their current IT workers, while 30 percent plan to bring on new talent in the next six months.

 

The firm's co-founder and marketing vice president Jay Hallberg said research has shown that SMBs are continuing to invest heavily in IT.

 

"The results also show that SMBs are spending more on technology across the board, from hardware and devices, to cloud services and virtualization. This bodes well for technology vendors serving the SMB market in 2012," Hallberg added.