Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in India will spend US$48 million on unified communications to interact with consumers and suppliers, as well as their branch offices, according to a study by AMI-Partners.
Released Thursday, the study revealed that conferencing and collaboration tools such as video, audio, Web conferencing and instant messaging, will account for 80 percent of these companies' unified communications expenditure.
Sumeeta Misra, AMI-Partners' Bangalore-based research associate, explained that SMBs want to identify ways to cut travel costs, maximize operational efficiency and improve business and customer strategies by streamlining their communication infrastructure.
"India SMBs are looking at UC as a low-cost tool to communicate effectively with customers and suppliers, as well as facilitate communication across multiple branch locations," Misra said in the report.
To tap this demand, vendors are developing alternative modes and platforms in unified communications, said AMI-Partners, pointing to the rise of players offering hosted UC services over open and interoperable platforms.
With the current economic constraints, there is rising demand in India for on-demand collaboration applications and network-based tools. Systems integrators are switching to a services-based approach to market unified communications services, and moving away from their conventional box-pushing strategies.
To push UC adoption among India SMBs, industry players must first address challenges such as providing clarity in total cost of ownership, need for higher bandwidth, maintenance of IP (Internet Protocol) networks and hardware expense.
According to AMI-Partners, vendors anticipate open source unified communications suite to pique the interest of SMBs looking for a minimal initial investment.