Mobility has changed the way enterprises and individuals communicate and work. Will mobility now alleviate the need for unified communications as well?Although Frost & Sullivan expects the unified communications market to show double-digit growth over the next five years, the number of UC clients expected to ship by 2016 is only around 30 million, about 20 milliion fewer than Frost & Sullivan earlier had expected.

Also 30 million clients represents less than 10 percent of the total number of office workers worldwide.

The economy has been an issue since 2008. By the time many companies will be ready to spend on UC, they may also be ready to leap-frog the technology altogether in favor of mobile clients that deliver many of the same capabilities, says Melanie Turek, Vice President, Research at Frost & Sullivan. UC future

The firm recently surveyed more than 200 C-level executives about their use of enterprise communications technology and llearned that mobile devices are a primary communications endpoint in 68 percent of organizations.

The study also found that almost 10 percent of tablets purchased today are used for business purposes. Frost & Sullivan expects that to reach about 70 percent by 2016.

By 2016, desktop phones will go from representing 37 percent of the enterprise endpoint market to only 20 percent.

The clear implication is that the need for a UC client like Lync or Sametime on the PC desktop will decrease, since fewer employees will use a PC on a regular basis, if at all. And UC clients on a desk phone will all but disappear.

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