Unified Communications (UC) encompass real-time enterprise communication services such as instant messaging (IM), presence status, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), mobility features, audio, web and video conferencing, speech recognition, fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) and data sharing, and non-real-time communication services like unified messaging.
The use of UC, delivered via Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solutions (like Microsoft Teams, RingCentral MVP, 8×8 X Series, Zoom Meetings and Google Meet) is becoming more widespread by the day in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.
From being a reasonable investment to keep distributed teams connected in the pre-pandemic age, to being a key pillar for business success after the global pandemic outbreak, the UCaaS market experienced an 86% growth in sales during the pandemic. That said, what does the future of UC look like?
Here’s how UC trends are defining a post-COVID-19 world.
Post-Pandemic UC Trends
1. Work from home (WFH) is becoming prevalent.
Companies like Facebook, Atlassian, Coinbase, and Dropbox have made WFH a permanent option. While working from home was the only option during the pandemic, several companies quickly understood that WFH is not only the need of the hour but also the future of work.
Others have introduced flexible working models. Amazon for example allows certain employees to WFH for two days a week, while Capital One requires employees to be physically present in the office for an established number of days. Microsoft employees can WFH for 50% (approximately) of their workweek. That said, managers have the authority to approve full-time WFH for staff members.
2. Cloud dependence is growing.
Many existing and new companies will resort to the permanent use of infrastructure and services on the cloud. With an increasingly distributed, global workforce, small- and mid-sized companies may be tempted to not establish permanent headquarters.
UCaaS solutions are offered as a cloud-based subscription service and allow employees around the world to connect in real time. Hosting enterprise infrastructure and all necessary services on the cloud will eliminate the need to meet physically.
3. UCaaS market value is rising.
The global unified UCaaS market is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 9.6% from 2020-2027 and reach a market value of in excess of $26.2 billion by 2027.
Effective communication and collaboration are the only way forward in the post-pandemic scenario and as one of the worst-affected countries by the pandemic, the United States is embracing the adoption of UCaaS solutions.
Naturally, North America is expected to dominate the UCaaS market during the aforementioned period. Asia Pacific is expected to have the fastest-growing CAGR during the forecast period. Affordable, high-speed internet and rapid, distributed smartphone sales are enabling people to WFH and encouraging companies to opt for UCaaS solutions.
4. The education industry is becoming more tech-savvy.
With the extended closure of schools and colleges during the pandemic, educational institutions had to come up with a solution. The use of UCaaS platforms grew considerably during the pandemic and the education industry benefited greatly.
Teachers, professors and students had no option but to use a computer/mobile/tablet to conduct/attend classes. Some schools and colleges developed software to conduct online exams while others used UCaaS solutions. Teachers/professors who were more comfortable using a pen and paper had to learn the basics of using a computer system, conducting online classes, preparing worksheets and presentations, etc. Less tech-savvy students had to up their game as well.
Some educational institutions conducted cultural activities like debates and quizzes via UCaaS software. If anything, the use of computers, UCaaS software and other software will encourage less use of paper in the post-pandemic world.
5. Upskilling is becoming key to growth.
While this held before the pandemic as well, its significance has risen manifold since. Companies had to think on their feet and found new ways to sustain and turn a profit. New hires were recruited over UCaaS platforms, without meeting in person.
There is no room for company politics in post-pandemic culture. Upskilling and performance-based acclaim is the only way forward. What’s more, there is no place for sexual harassment and bogging down. You can take screenshots of message exchanges and record online meetings to prove your point and take action if you feel you’re a victim of any sort of abuse.
With time we will not only recover from the COVID-19 pandemic but also emerge stronger from it. The widespread implementation of UC is a step forward. Sturdy communication in real-time is a necessity in today’s ever-changing world and UCaaS platforms provide just that and much more.
Work-from-home has its pros and cons, but if we look at the bigger picture, UCaaS solutions have helped shape a better today for one and all.