IDC Identifies a New Opportunity for Service Provider Differentiation in Unified Messaging

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., November 30, 1998 — The time has come for unified messaging. The proliferation of wireless phones, along with easy access to the Internet, has created an environment in which end-users can easily access voice, fax and e-mail messages from a single mailbox. A new report from International Data Corporation (IDC), Messaging Made Easy: Assessment of the U.S. Small Business Market for Unified Messaging, 1998-2002 (IDC #17447), examines the small business market for unified messaging services. It forecasts there will be 2.5 million small-business unified messaging mailboxes at the end of 2002.

Emerging wired and wireless service providers have already started to introduce unified messaging services to differentiate themselves from their competitors. IDC research on unified messaging will help providers understand this burgeoning market and ensure service optimization.

Road warriors, the highly-mobile professionals who carry a laptop and wireless phone, will be early adopters of unified messaging. However, small businesses employees -looking for scale- without a major investment are also good prospects. What do small business employees want in unified messaging? "Start with the basics like providing highly reliable service," noted Jeannette Noyes, research manager for IDC's Small Business Telecommunications Services program. Both highly-mobile and desk-centric users want a service they can depend on. Missed messages mean lost revenues.

Right now, service providers offering unified messaging are likely ahead of their competitors. However, this lead will not last long as new services are launched over the next 18 months. Noyes said, "A service provider share's of the small business market for unified messaging services, will be driven by its ability to satisfy customers, utility, needs first, and then to -wow- them with time-saving, easy-to-use features."

This report is available for purchase by contacting Janis Dempsey at (508) 935-4145 or by e-mail at jdempsey@idc.com. For additional information on IDC's Small Business Telecommunications Services research program, please contact KaraMurphy, Group Marketing Manager, at (508) 935-4136.

About IDC

International Data Corporation is the information technology industry's most comprehensive resource on worldwide IT markets, trends, products, vendors, and geographies. IDC provides data, analysis and advisory services to the world's leading IT suppliers as well as IS professionals in finance, insurance, entertainment, advertising, consumer goods and publishing. IDC's research and opinions are based on the results of more than 300,000 end-user surveys,

in-depth competitive analysis, broad technology coverage, and strategic analysis. IDC is committed to providing global research with local content through its 500 analysts in more than 40 countries worldwide. Additional information on IDC can be found on its Web site at http://www.idc.com.

IDC is a division of International Data Group, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.