Unified communications and the virtual office go hand in hand.

So what is unified communications? Microsoft defines unified communications as a systems-based approach to unifying telephony, instant messaging, presence, and Web conferencing—and the growth is astonishing.

According to a new study from International Data Corporation (IDC), the unified communications market in EMEA alone will be worth just over $8 billion in 2010 and will grow to $16.6 billion by 2014. That doesn't even take into account North America.

"IDC predicts moderate year-over-year growth in the next five years and believes that the impact of the credit crunch across the EMEA region will continue to make enterprises more cautious when deciding whether or not to invest in new IT equipment," says Isabel Montero, senior research analyst, unified communications and collaboration for IDC EMEA. "Budgets in this region will continue to be more closely monitored, restricted, or delayed until recovery in the economy is more notable."

The beauty of a virtual office, whether it’s in the EMEA region or U.S. cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Miami, is that the virtual office provider is making the investment into unified communications. Virtual office providers typically provide access to telephony, and web conferencing services. Some also provide video conferencing at the traditional office space that can be rented by the hour.

Davinci Virtual Office Solutions has a host of unified communications tools that, when combined with free instant messaging and presence tools like Skype, offer a strong case for companies exploring alternative workplace strategies.

Check out this video on unified communications and how it can help your business, then consider how simple a virtual office space makes it to tap into this trend: