Hooray, the buzz is over! Let's party. You know a market has gone mainstream when it has "crossed the chasm" and moved though "early adoption" onto "mainstreet" as defined by Geoffrey Moore.
Just to make the point, the buzz is also over for e-mail (20 B messages per day in N. Am.), instant messaging (18 B messages per day in N. Am.) and cell phone calls (4 B per day in N. Am.) which are the three most voluminous forms of business communications.
The leading vendors of Unified Communications user software for businesses have shipped 100s of millions of clients both as packaged software (Lync, Sametime, CUPC, one-X, et al.) or modularized software (Lync, Websphere, Genesys Labs, Sphericall, OpenScape, et al.). Sure, not all of those are deployed to users, but I would estimate that IM-type clients with 'click-to-communicate' via voice, web-sharing and/or video are approaching 100 million in active use by business enterprises. Thus, UC is no longer the new buzz, rather it’s just becoming pervasive.
Those who doubt should read more case studies at:
Now over a thousand of them tell the story of UC with more diversity and creativity and real, hard-dollar savings than any marketing spinner could imagine.
Sure, there are pockets of frustration, as Rad points out. If you think about UC as a consumer product, there will be frustrations (enterprises use IM on mobile devices, not SMS or MMS, since IM can be logged for compliance). Video conferencing may be the new buzz, but it's expensive as Rad notes; but don't blame that on UC. UC includes video, as noted, but isn't limited to video. And, I agree that renaming communiations as collaboration is just confusing when collaboration is more often document-centric, as Rad says, and uses the tools he names, including SharePoint, Quickr, Google Docs and others, most of which are available in the cloud now.
Lastly, just for fun, it's clear that when Nick Jones of Gartner called UC a scam, he was running his own scam. Known for his contrarian views, Nick draws audiences through outrageous lead-in lines. Read more case studies, Nick!
So, party on, folks. The buzz is over and UC is a real market now.