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Asia Goes to the Cloud for UC, OTT

April 29, 2015

Analysts predict the Asia Pacific (APAC) region will move to the cloud in a big way, with unified communications (UC) solutions moving to the cloud and steadily growing.  WebRTC is expected to contribute to growth  while vendors start gearing up infrastructure and services in the region.  Over the top (OTT) services are also getting a boost in the region as well.

Predictions started at the beginning of the year, with Frost & Sullivan announcing its "Top 10 Trends for the Asia Pacific Unified Communications Industry in 2015" back in January. The first trend listed is a migration away from on-premise UC systems to Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), especially large and very enterprises. 

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Disruption in UC solutions are also in the deployment of UC cloud solutions by Microsoft and Google.  For Microsoft, everything has to be in its cloud, with the company offering bundling and a la carte solutions for Office 365 and Skype for Business.   Google's Apps for Work is already in the enterprise space in APAC, with a footprint in the education sector, and is expected to move more into mid-sized and smaller businesses.

Since everyone is going UCaaS, hosted telephony is expected to boom with new offerings, especially as new broadband infrastructure comes on line.  In the UCaaS world, hosted telephony is part of the solution suite, rather than a stand-alone product, with customers able to pick and choose what they need from the menu.

Finally, Frost & Sullivan gives WebRTC its due, noting that video conferencing solutions are moving away from dedicated hardware in conference rooms to software based solutions using off-the-shelf hardware for desktop and tablet solutions.

Predictions are nice, but reality in the form of announcements is better.   Verizon Enterprise Solutions announced expansion of its cloud offerings in Melbourne, Hong Kong and Singapore last month along with its Unified Communications & Collaboration as a Service (UCCaaS)solution.  Among the new capabilities announced were global expansion of UCCaaS to both Europe and APAC, including in-country support for Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan, with in-region geographic redundancy of services via multiple data centers across the region.

OTT got a boost last week when Australia's M2 Group launched its Dodo Phone Anywhere solution using GENBAND's fring white label solution.  Dodo Phone Anywhere provides M2 customers free app-to-app calls, messaging, video calling, video and video conferencing and file sharing.  Users also get the usual OTT "fremium" model of making off-net (to non-Dodo users) calls to anywhere in the world using WiFi or cellular services at competitive data rates, with billing done directly to the user's post-paid Dodo account.

The big-boom OTT service could be in video.   Juniper Research is predicting a worldwide surge in OTT video services from $8 billion in 2014 to $31.6 billion by 2019, with the emergence of new players coming from Asia Pacific along with Netflix and Amazon Prime leveraging their established infrastructure, content, and systems.  Netflix opened up Australia and New Zealand earlier this year to great acclaim while clones such as iFlix and HOOQ target the Philippines and Malaysia.  Toss in 4K Ultra HD TVs and no way other than broadband to easily get 4K content at this time and it is easy to see why big players such as Singtel and Sony want to get into OTT video as soon as possible.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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