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Frost & Sullivan: High Usage of OTT Applications in Australia - Ease of Use and Accessibility from Smart Devices Main Drivers for Adoption

June 4, 2013 | Telepresence Options

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�-- --�Over-The-Top (OTT) applications are among the most downloaded and used apps on mobile devices and employees are increasingly using their smart devices at work, by-passing carrier networks to send messages and to make voice or video calls.

Frost & Sullivan's latest report, Trends in the Australian OTT and Communications Market 2013 finds that driven by advances in smart devices and improvements in mobile networks, Over-The-Top (OTT) applications are among the most downloaded and most used apps on mobile devices. Users are increasingly using their smart devices at work and are increasingly by-passing carrier networks to send messages and to make voice or video calls. While these applications are largely used for one to one communication, and lack the scalability and advanced features of Unified Communications (UC) applications, the simplicity and accessibility of OTT applications will cause concerns for traditional communications vendors.

Audrey William, Head of Research, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan ANZ says "Whilst there are some very well established OTT providers in the market, many new players offering OTT solutions for voice and video are expected to enter the marketplace. While the usage of OTT solutions in the past was mostly driven by consumers, it is starting to become an important application for the enterprise worker. Applications such as WhatsApp are commonly used today in the workplace as a communication medium between employees and external stakeholders. With cloud and mobility becoming the focus of most organisations' IT strategy, the ability to manage devices and applications is also becoming important. Equal importance has to be given to managing the usage of OTT applications within the enterprise as well. Using OTT applications for external communications should be closely monitored to prevent risks such as data leakage or data privacy breaches."

Anand Balasubramanian, Industry Analyst, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan ANZ, says "Skype is the preferred OTT application among employees for voice and video communication, with WhatsApp and Viber gaining in usage." Amongst major factors driving usage is accessibility from multiple devices including laptops, smartphones and tablets. This ease of use makes it easy for any employee to join or place a call. In addition, Microsoft's acquisition of Skype has generated significant interest among businesses as well as UC vendors.

As part of the research, Frost & Sullivan surveyed 227 IT decision makers in Australia to understand market behaviour and views towards Over-The-Top (OTT) applications. Some of the key findings include:

  • An interesting trend in the usage of OTT applications has emerged in the video communication segment. While traditional room based (or group based) videoconferencing systems are the preferred solutions for 39% of organisations in Australia, free to use applications such as Skype and Google Chat/Hangouts are being used by 31% of organisations as the primary videoconferencing application. Although the increasing affordability of room based videoconferencing systems has driven greater uptake from the SMB segment, smaller organisations typically still find the cost of the system and on-going maintenance beyond their reach. As a result, the uptake of OTT for video significantly increases as the size of the organisation decreases, where smaller organisations drive the majority of uptake.
  • While there are several options for enterprises when choosing an OTT based video communications solution, the reliability of these applications in an enterprise environment is often the main concern. 63% of organisations in Australia consider OTT applications as suitable and convenient for videoconferencing. The remaining 37% remain unconvinced about the ability of OTT applications to serve as the main videoconferencing solution. The preference to use OTT for videoconferencing is much higher in the SMB segment, which typically prefers low cost alternatives to the traditional room based or group systems.
  • When organisations in Australia are queried about the most frequently used OTT application, nearly 80% mention Skype as the most used application. This usage trend is particularly high among smaller organisations, where 96% of businesses with less than 50 employees use Skype more than other OTT applications.
  • Although Skype is the most frequently used OTT applications within organisations, many organisations have concerns about its reliability. Due to its free to use feature and high level of user familiarity, more than 60% of organisations in Australia view Skype as being suitable for specific enterprise scenarios such as ad-hoc one to one communication or for use within a small group or team.
  • The perception of Google as a consumer focused organisation currently limits its uptake in the enterprise segment. About a third of organisations in Australia consider Google to be consumer focused and not capable of addressing the communication demands of an enterprise. On the other hand, 39% of organisations consider Google to be capable of addressing only specific uses and largely unsuited for addressing the requirements of large organisations. However, as a result of its email, productivity (Google Docs) and Android mobile Operating System (OS), Google is well placed to integrate its cloud based communications solutions with OTT functionality.
  • When queried about the main reasons for using OTT applications, 61% of organisations cited low cost or free pricing as the main factor for adoption. This preference is particularly high among small and medium organisations. The ability to access an application from a range of devices such as laptops, smart phones and tablets is also a major driver, with 53% of organisations mentioning this convenience as the main reason for using OTT applications.
  • Reliability and quality of service are among the biggest challenges for adopting OTT applications within a business environment. Almost 60% of organisations in Australia find the lack of Service Level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee a specified level of service a major disadvantage when considering OTT applications for enterprise use. OTT applications are stand-alone applications and do not have the ability to integrate with an organisation's existing systems. This lack of integration is viewed by 34% of organisations as the main disadvantage in adopting OTT applications.

Frost & Sullivan's report,�Frost & Sullivan�Trends in the Australian OTT and Communications Market 2013,�forms a part of the Frost & Sullivan Enterprise Communications Research program. All research services included in this subscription provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. For media queries and more information please send an e-mail with your contact details to Donna Jeremiah, Corporate Communications, at�[email protected].

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants.

Our "Growth Partnership" supports clients by addressing these opportunities and incorporating two key elements driving visionary innovation: The Integrated Value Proposition and The Partnership Infrastructure.

  • The Integrated Value Proposition�provides support to our clients throughout all phases of their journey to visionary innovation including: research, analysis, strategy, vision, innovation and implementation.
  • The Partnership Infrastructure�is entirely unique as it constructs the foundation upon which visionary innovation becomes possible. This includes our 360 degree research, comprehensive industry coverage, career best practices as well as our global footprint of more than 40 offices.

For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organisation prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies?

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