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UC Magic Quadrant sees vendor ranking shake-up as market matures

In UC news, Gartner's UC Magic Quadrant shows a maturing on-premises market; a survey of SMBs -- and their experiences with hosted UC -- provides five key findings.

This year's unified communications Magic Quadrant from Gartner has seen a vendor shake-up, as the on-premises UC market matures and organizations place increased emphasis on vendors' telephony capabilities. Gartner, too, placed additional importance on telephony when evaluating vendors for the UC Magic Quadrant, since organizations expect their UC platforms to include enterprise-grade telephony.

With Gartner's emphasis on telephony, IBM was dropped from the UC Magic Quadrant, as the vendor focuses on its cloud-based Connections suite.

Gartner moved Unify from niche player to visionary based on its progress with Circuit and its roadmap for addressing vertical industries, which was enabled by the Atos acquisition. ShoreTel was moved from visionary to niche player due to the slow advancement of its Connect ONSITE on-premises deployments and the Magic Quadrant's emphasis on enterprise telephony.

Cisco and Microsoft maintained their top spots as leaders, along with Mitel and Avaya.

According to the report, the integration of on-premises UC with cloud and hybrid services has propelled the UC market. The emergence of team collaboration apps and communications platform as a service has also affected the market.

Video, cloud fuel collaboration momentum

Video and cloud technology are becoming critical for enterprise communication. But, as this collaboration technology evolves, a disconnect exists between IT leaders and employees, according to a study by market research agency Davies Hickman Partners.

In the report, of the 758 IT leaders interviewed at organizations with more than 500 employees, 92% said they believe desktop video adds value to the workplace. More than 70% of respondents said video on smartphones would be useful in the enterprise.

Bring your own device and remote working have also influenced the need for collaboration technology. The report found 78% of employees cited better collaboration tools as a way to improve enterprise communications. The study also found 73% of employees want the latest collaboration software, but 20% said their directors make IT spending a priority. This has led to what the report called digital dislocation between organizations and their employees.

To address this, enterprises are looking to the cloud to stretch IT budgets and replace outdated systems. Enterprises that deployed cloud-based collaboration tools reported a 30% increase in employee and customer satisfaction following the rollout, according to the survey, which was commissioned by BT and Cisco.

How SMBs really feel about hosted UC

William Haskins, analyst at Wainhouse Research LLC in Duxbury, Mass., discussed the findings of a survey of 300 IT decision makers at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and their experiences with hosted UC services.

One thing Haskins said he found surprising was not all SMBs are using cloud telephony. Over half of the respondents in the Wainhouse research are running telephony themselves. One-third of respondents have a hybrid voice deployment, which indicates hosted UC is an ongoing migration, he said.

The top three benefits of hosted UC were increased IT productivity, quality and faster upgrades. But the biggest drawback for SMBs was the cost. Haskins said respondents thought hosted services would reduce costs, but, in reality, cloud costs expose line items that organizations may not associate with telecom services, such as support and vendor management.

The survey also found nearly all SMBs would use MPLS for enterprise voice if they could. Even though most hosted telephony services use public internet, SMBs associate MPLS with quality, reliability and security.

The biggest barrier to hosted UC is security concerns. Haskins said hosted UC providers must make security a core competency of their service.

Temasys releases API, SDK suite

Temasys, a platform-as-a-service provider, has released the Skylink platform for developers. The platform offers access to a full suite of APIs, software developer's kits (SDKs) and other tools to develop real-time communication for apps and web services.

The platform includes a new SDK for Linux-based wearables, robotics apps and internet of things apps, recording and archiving of video and audio streams, and API support that offers more granular control of peers and call control management from within Skylink SDKs.

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