Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platforms have been the connective tissue keeping people in touch over several years for many businesses, government organizations, and other institutions. The global pandemic impeded our ability to gather in boardrooms, offices, and convention centers.
UCaaS enables us to connect and collaborate digitally from wherever it is convenient and digitally connected. It mitigates disruptions like isolation mandates, reduces costs like travel and accommodation, and maintains user engagement. It also enables companies to hire skilled talent from outside their local hiring pools.
Most companies have accepted that full-time or hybrid work from home arrangements are here to stay. Recent survey data from Statista found that 66% of company leaders surveyed were planning office redesign for hybrid work models, and 73% of employees want flexible working arrangements to remain post-pandemic. Your organization must have access to tools and services which enable them to do their best work together, even when they can’t share the same physical space.
What is UCaaS?
UCaaS platforms like Microsoft Teams, Webex by Cisco, and Zoom offer state-of-the-art video, voice, instant messaging, and screen sharing collaboration. They give users the power to choose how to keep in touch with their partners, customers, and colleagues on their mobile and desktop devices. Many organizations ran on-premise unified communications platforms for several years before vendors introduced cloud-based editions.
Grandview Research forecasts that investment in UCaaS platforms will increase from USD 38.74 billion from 2021 to 2028 on a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.6. The pandemic didn’t cause the creation of UCaaS, but it did fuel the research and development budgets of many service providers in the space. UCaaS flexibility, functionality, and integration paths to other business applications have advanced rapidly over the past few years and show no sign of slowing.
UCaaS Trends Your Organization Should Take Note Of
Unified communications and collaboration platform are continually evolving – here are some of the UCaaS trends you should pay attention to.
Mixed Reality – AR and VR
Microsoft Teams Together Mode offers visual effects which arrange meeting participants in settings like digitally-rendered cafes, theater-like settings, and virtual boardroom tables. Many futurists predict that UCaaS platforms will continue to add augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) to their platforms to make online meetings more engaging. AR or VR avatars are growing in popularity on leading platforms for users that are not comfortable being on camera.
Using VR headsets like the Microsoft HoloLens, users can experience immersive simulations of working collaboratively with their colleagues in the same room. Use cases like collaborative automotive product design and medical procedure training are worth investing in these high-end type devices.
AI enhances and streamlines many business applications, and UCaaS is no exception. We can all empathize with colleagues joining online meetings with kids playing and dogs barking in the background or internet latency distorting our smiling faces. Many UCaaS platforms have been enhanced with AI and virtual assistant functionality to –
- Make employees more productive while feeling more connected and engaged
- Block-out background noise
- Sharpen participant video
- Provide real-time, multilingual translation
- Capture meeting notes and captions
- Identify meeting highlights and action items
SaaS vendors will undoubtedly come up with other ways of leveraging AI to expand the benefits of UCaaS.
Security and Interoperability are Prioritized
Security and interoperability are critical evaluation criteria for most cloud applications. Yet, in the UCaaS realm, many organizations took it for granted that their UCaaS communications were secure and encrypted. More attention will undoubtedly be paid to keeping prying eyes, ears, and minds out of online meetings involving customers, colleagues, and partners in the years ahead.
Passwords, multifactor authentication, and strong encryption are essential considerations when you are in the market for a UCaaS platform for your organization, regardless of your industry or business type. Working with an experienced UCaaS partner can help you protect your intellectual capital and minimize time-wasting distractions.
On the UCaaS platform, vendors like Microsoft and Cisco offer a broad spectrum of connectors for business applications ranging from CRM and ERP to document storage platforms like OneDrive or SharePoint. As remote working continues to become the norm, interoperability with other digital platforms is increasingly becoming crucial for businesses evaluating UCaaS platforms. These platforms often allow guest users to connect from their preferred platform of choice.
Best Practices for UC&C Productivity
Download our free white paper to learn how UC&C can play an important role in how a business communicates and influences their entire workforce and customer base.
Here are some leading indicators and essential statistics you should be aware of:
The top seven industries (Grandview Research) for UCaaS adoption are:
- IT & Telecom
- Banking, financial services, and insurance
North America is the regional market share leader for UCaaS platforms at 31%, followed by Asia (Source: Grandview Research)
Aligning their team under a single digital communication platform has enabled 75% of UCaaS users to increase productivity. (Source: UCToday.com)
Getting started with UCaaS for your organization.
UCaaS gives employees many options to keep connected with their colleagues, management teams, partners, and clients. Mobile telecommunications carriers will endure for decades to come. Yet business communications demand multi-channel collaboration options, including voice, video, instant messaging, screen sharing, and collaborative document creation.
If your company is looking to migrate from a point online communications application to an organization-wide, unified communications platform, you are not alone. If your business is in one of the industries listed above (or not), there are many benefits to working with an experienced UCaaS consulting firm.
Getting total value for your UCaaS investment requires more strategic thinking than just investing in the platform you are most familiar with. You should select one which best fits your functional requirements, is interoperable with your technology stack, your users can configure for their use while safeguarding your valuable data from would-be hackers. You should select a UCaaS tool that can adapt to changing business and technology trends that unfold in the years ahead. Equally important is the choice of the service provider. Choose a partner that would provide top-notch ongoing service to ensure that you maximize the return on your investment.
Ready to learn how Yorktel can help your organization promote collaboration, streamline IT operations and eliminate communication barriers with UCaaS? Contact us to get started.