Gartner Inc. is the world's leading provider of research and analysis reports about the global information technology (IT) industry to make the technology tycoons be-wary, so that they can take informed decisions in accord to the key points mentioned in the prediction reports.

The Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) is a proprietary research tool developed by Gartner Inc., a US based research and advisory firm. According to Gartner, the Magic Quadrant aims to provide a qualitative analysis of technology into the market and its direction, maturity and participants that deal with the operations related to that technology. It highlights both, the strong areas and the weak areas of a participant i.e. where it should focus, thus possibly enabling that particular company to be a stronger competitor for that market. This report has been produced for a number of years and is updated each year to consider the current trends and changes in the Enterprise Marketplace.

Gartner recently published its annual Magic Quadrant (MQ) for 2011 on Unified Communications. Microsoft, Cisco, Avaya and IBM take up again to lead the pack of vendors. It expressed that the products based on Unified Communications i.e. equipments, software and services “facilitate the use of multiple business communication methods including IP PBX, Voice over IP i.e. VOIP, presence engine, e-mail, audio, video and Web conferencing, voice mail, Unified Messaging , Instant Messaging, etc”. And, these products integrate communication mediums, networks, systems, IT business applications and consumer applications and devices throughout the world.

The analysis reports included the fact that that the provision of advanced voice communication services for all wired and wireless users in all types of businesses has been made a reality by integrating UC with PBX VOIP i.e. an emerging trend in telephony market. It is a product that has huge growth as it can be provided to the customer either as on-premised or as a hosted product.

The Gartner MQ report also included some minimum functions that a Unified Communications vendor must offer its user base, to be included in the scope of UC market.

* Centralized management features.
* Security measures with encryption, digital signatures, secure sign-on and antivirus protection, typically through a third party
* Directory integration with an enterprise directory system, such as Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) and Active Directory.
* Presence indicator engine
* Text chat, group chat, persistent chat
* Application programming interfaces (APIs) for application developers to customize and integrate into business applications and portals.
* Archiving- directly or through a third party
* Logging/audits
* Federation with public IM networks via gateways.
* Mobile support.

According to Bern Eliot, VP and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner Research, the Unified communications is not a new market. It is a convergence market, so it represents well-established and important existing markets and important existing investments by companies. He meant to say that he sees that the future belong to UC.

As a bottom line, a best of breed approach to communicate and collaborate with Unified Communications is the most convincing one drawing adequate functionality out of UC based products and services. With the growing popularity of Hosted PBX Systems integrated with UC key standards such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) should be aligned to integrate with third party products for enhanced flexibility.

Author's Bio: 

Technology specialist at ‘Adom Brown' is a specialist in Hosted PBX Systems for small and medium business enterprises. The Real PBX manages the Business PBX Platform using Unified Communication. Their IP PBX Systems deliver business class voice quality, real time customer assistance, scalable office PBX VOIP system and more.