Unified communications has in some ways been a “fuzzy” concept, entailing as it does the unification of devices, applications, network access modes and media types. A new study by CompTIA of 500 executives has found that “collaboration” tools already are highly used by respondent firms.

With the exception of social tools, at 36 percent adoption, most constituent forms of unified communications are used by 60 percent to 94 percent of respondent firms. About 33 percent of respondents indicated that unified communications has “high value.” About 47 percent reported that unified communications has “moderate value.”

You might argue the survey results show either that unified communications already has been embraced in the ways that users find most valuable, or that use of the various constituent UC components remains largely untapped.

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The survey does suggest that investments in communications or collaboration will occur at a higher rate than investment in other areas of information technology. Some 44 percent of respondents indicated that spending on communications or collaboration will occur at the same rate as other investments in information technology.

Some 41 percent suggest investments in communications or collaboration will occur at higher rates than investments in other areas of information technology.

What that means is hard to decipher, though. Does all collaboration or communications investment represent “unified communications,” or only the constituent tools? Growing investment in mobile communications or broadband, conferencing or IP telephony all are parts of those spending streams.

The point is that it remains hard to separate out the actual new demand for unified communications, as completely distinct from investments in all other communication, social or collaboration tools.

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