Australia to see massive cloud communications growth

Cloud computing has become something of a buzzword for new technology adoption, but there are actually real benefits to taking the systems onboard.

There are a number of areas where the cloud can be put to use in a business, whether it's backup for any computer or device, faster and more effective collaboration, or perhaps running applications and storage remotely. Communications, however, is the key area – and it's one that Telsyte research predicts will see substantial growth in the near future.

Cloud communications are an important area of consideration, so this article will take a look at the technologies and the predicted growth through to 2020.

Modern communications

In a recent report, Telsyte took a look at the state of the Australian cloud sector, and found that a large number of businesses are now moving into the space. A significant area of focus was unified communications – moving from the traditional voice calls to integrated, online solutions.

Communications hosted online in the cloud differ quite substantially from traditional PABX systems (physical phones and phone lines), and usually only require a computer and internet connection to function.

Skype is one such example of a unified cloud communications system, as once the software is installed on a computer or mobile device users can start speaking via voice or video. Of course, business alternatives are often tailored more to enterprise environments.

Businesses are starting to recognise the benefits of these systems, with a number of companies saying that solutions are already in use. Telsyte noted that 88 per cent of organisations have staff that use a soft phone (Such as Skype) at least once a week.

What's more, an additional 40 per cent of organisations are starting to evaluate docking solutions. These allow mobile devices to take over the role of traditional phones whilst in the office.

Telsyte estimates that Australian businesses could move away from traditional communications in a big way in the next few years, with cloud communications logging over 30 per cent penetration by 2020. The total market value is expected to exceed $650 million.

Senior Telsyte Analyst Rodney Gedda explained in the release that organisations will now need to find the best ways to integrate disparate services to create a unified communication environment, one that includes both mobile and wearables.

"Instant messaging, presence and e-mail integration are the most deployed unified communications applications, but web collaboration and bring-your-own-device integration are becoming more important as organisations look to modernise their business and support next generation employees," Gedda stated.

Currently, less than five per cent of Australian businesses are classified as "mobile only", meaning there are no fixed phone lines in place. This number is likely to keep climbing, with both mobile and cloud communications continuing to grow.

Handling a cloud shift effectively

Of course, all businesses understand that taking on a new communications process isn't something that can be accomplished overnight.

It's important to make the transition as smooth as possible, so that any change doesn't impact the operations of the business.

Project management methods are certainly the answer, with PRINCE2 standing out as the best example. This is a framework that, when taught to employees, gives them the knowledge to handle projects effectively.

For example, if the business is implementing cloud communications, staff will understand how to do so whilst meeting deadlines and sticking to a budget. These are certainly important goals for any business, and are especially important when it comes to a significant transition like the cloud.

With cloud communications set to skyrocket over the next few years it's definitely time for companies to start planning a move.