Unified Communications (UC) were enjoying a growth in popularity even before the COVID-19 crisis hit. Now, with remote working at unprecedented levels, the adoption of UC solutions is surging across the size-spectrum of businesses, with two-person organisations and thousand-strong workforces alike jumping into the collaborative cloud. Only time will tell if this mass adoption will continue once the post-pandemic dust has settled, but for now, let’s take a look at the anticipated top UC trends to look out for over the coming year…
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)
Even prior to the coronavirus outbreak remote working had been on the increase, with more than 70% of the world’s population working remotely at least one day a week. Among the main facilitators of this new way of doing business has been UC, which is playing a major role in driving changes to the way we collaborate and manage workstreams.
It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that UCaaS has been enjoying annualised growth of 29%, as more and more enterprises become comfortable with the idea of their communications services being held off-site and provisioned by third-party vendors via the Cloud.
Voice and telephony services, messaging and team collaboration tools are paving the way for increased remote working productivity, allowing teams to work together across sometimes vast geographical divides with zero waiting time. It’s estimated that over the next couple of years, 40% of new enterprise telephony purchases will be based on cloud office suites like Microsoft 365 and Google’s G-Suite, as businesses see the potential cost, security, business continuity and provisioning benefits of UCaaS versus on-prem communication tools.
Email and voice comms continue to be the primary methods of communication among business users, but messaging and video meetings are surging in popularity, with video expected to form a massive 80% of all internet traffic by 2021.
Communications Platforms as a Service (CPaaS)
CPaaS is best defined as delivering SMS, voice, video and security via APIs.
We’re seeing an upward trend of businesses looking to third-party vendors to add real-time communications features to their own applications, allowing them to enjoy the support and security benefits without needing to invest time and money in building their own backend infrastructure and interfaces.
According to Gartner, CPaaS is growing at a rate of 40% annually, providing communication and security APIs to a growing number of forward-thinking companies who understand how crucial they are in harnessing true omni-channel potential for all-important customer journeys. By focussing on an OpEx model of provisioning communication platforms, business are able to focus time and resources on getting the communications right, fostering increased customer engagement and loyalty and driving growth for business. Over the next 12 months, we can expect to see more and more organisations, from across the size spectrum, embracing this method of provision.
Video Conferencing as a Service (VCaaS)
Video conferencing tools have rarely been so in demand. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant predicts that by 2024, the number of meetings held in person will fall to just 25%, with video becoming the preferred method for businesses meeting with colleagues and clients. Along with the time, travel and cost savings, video conferencing boosts productivity and promotes collaboration, especially when paired with functionality across other UC platforms.
In 2019, the big UC platform, Microsoft Teams, announced it was teaming up with third-party operators like Zoom and Cisco to bring greater functionality to its then-20 million daily users, solidifying the message that video is the future of comms. (It is worth noting that since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of daily Microsoft Teams users has jumped to a staggering 44 million, many of whom are relying on this new video conferencing functionality to stay in touch with their colleagues.)
VCaaS makes video conferencing easy for even the smallest enterprises to adopt, with cloud-based services allowing for on-demand provisioning and budgeting, as well as enhancing support and security functions and leading to cost savings in those areas.
Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS)
Customers come to businesses via all channels these days, and it’s no longer enough to have someone manning the phones between the hours of 9am and 5pm. To offer customers the sort of instant gratification, on-demand service they have come to expect, businesses need to harness the power of AI. That’s where CCaaS is doing a roaring trade – and one that will only continue to grow.
Best defined as a cloud-based contact centre service, CCaaS offers enterprises much more flexibility and agility than their traditional counterparts, integrating as it does with newer forms of communication like social media and instant messaging. CCaaS gives businesses a way to engage with their customers whether they’re reaching out via email, phone or instant messaging. Typically charged for on a per-agent basis, CCaaS offers enhanced features such as predictive routing, AI chatbots, virtual agents and AI analytics to enhance the customer journey and provide organisations with 24/7 comms-handling capabilities.
CCaSS opens the door for AI, and although there are various deployment models, those enterprises looking to the future will need to have at least one foot in the cloud if they are to really harness the power of the increased analytics and enhanced customer engagement.
With its customer-centric benefits and cost savings through reduced need for internal IT support, it’s estimated that by 2022, CCaaS will be the preferred adoption model in half of all contact centres.
It’s clear that even before the current pandemic, the global business communications market was evolving at a rapid rate driven by digital transformation strategies which require seamless user, team and customer experiences across the full mix of channels. COVID-19 has undoubtably contributed to an even bigger surge in this area, as the innovative mix of applications and services which businesses can implement supports the changing workplace and how best to serve customers.
To find out more about M247 range of Unified Communications solutions please contact us today.