Faster, better, stronger: companies around the world have the same core goals in mind when implementing unified communications (UC) technology. Certain trends point to where the industry is headed. From the UC experts at Evolve IP, here are the top three unified communications market trends shaping the future.
The State of the UC Market
The global unified communications market size was valued at $78.33 billion in 2020 and expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 20.% percent between 2021 and 2028. This rapidly expanding industry could be worth $344.84 billion by the year 2028. That’s great for people who run these businesses, but also a very important point for anyone using them: this technology is considered essential, and it is here to stay.
Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS, was developed around the same time that the cloud IT movement occurred, around 2014. UCaaS plays a key role in maintaining communications and business continuity during any season of change. As the adoption of cloud technologies continues to increase, IT leaders are prioritizing cloud-delivered applications, as well as novel IT approaches like the deployment of UCaaS.
Unified communications market trends happen in context, and the market itself is adapting to new consumer demands. More businesses are allowing remote workers to continue virtual work arrangements, the average tech stack now features several systems that rely on artificial intelligence, and more emphasis than ever is being placed on security. These three trends underscore the importance of enlisting a UC provider that can meet these very specific needs, and provide future-proof solutions for an ever-changing workforce.
1. Better Connectivity for Remote Workers
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work arrangements. Telework, home offices, remote work, and hybrid work are all phrases used to describe employees who work most or all of the time without being physically present in the office. According to Statista, halfway through 2021 as many as 30% of employees were categorized as “remote,” and enterprises were spending $129.5 billion on cloud infrastructure services to support them. These increasingly common arrangements demand streamlined, unified communications platforms.
Unified communications platforms provide remote workers with the ability to video conference, screen share, file share, live chat, and more. Having an integrated suite of solutions means that remote workers can operate in the cloud, gleaning many of the benefits of a normal workday, without needing to be in the office. This mobility is often quantifiably linked to greater productivity and a healthy work-life balance.
When it comes to what to look for in a UC platform, it’s important to understand that not all unified communications platforms are created equal. The companies that are best supporting connectivity for remote workers share some standout traits:
- Simple, streamlined user interfaces, which make it easy for end-users to navigate the platform and work from anywhere.
- Presence capabilities, enabling better employee tracking and coordination.
- Integration capabilities, capably facilitating audio and video conferences and other collaboration efforts.
The systems that keep employees plugged in should play nice with the latest wave of tech, which often features AI.
2. Integrated Artificial Intelligence and IT Solutions
As a second key trend, any unified communication effort needs to work in the broader tech stack of an organization. Increasingly, the tech a company uses to manage data, manage operations, and manage transactions is supported by artificial intelligence (AI) and IT solutions. Whether a simple rules-based application, or a sophisticated AI tool, it’s essential that the entire tech stack works cohesively, and that IT departments can oversee it with relative ease.
This is the broad field in which UC platforms are being plugged in, and one that not all of them are equipped to handle well. It’s important that unified communications does what it claims to do: is a unified solution that, ostensibly, makes life easier for both the operators and end users. Any platform that doesn’t have customer-centric processes is a no-go. Any platform that isn’t regularly refined and updated to work with other emerging technologies is going to put a business at a disadvantage. Just imagine: as more companies implement things like voice AI to monitor call centers or even aggregate employee satisfaction or productivity, a UC platform needs to keep up, effortlessly coordinating with these elite technologies to ensure uninterrupted progress.
3. Heightened Emphasis on Security
Over the last year and a half, more businesses went online and transmitted sensitive company data over the internet. Cybercriminals had, to put it lightly, a field day with this. Incidents of cybersecurity breaches and fraud increased exponentially: the National Cyber Security Center reported a 3x increase of phishing, direct attacks, fraudulent activities and more… in a single month (June 2020). It’s something to be seriously considered, and people who are working remotely or using communications platforms for business purposes are at risk.
As the ability to connect and collaborate increases, so do the touchpoints and possible entry points for cyber attacks. This means that any unified communications platform needs to have already responded to this trend by shoring up defenses, and making it clear how they protect data in transit and at rest.
Above and beyond the standard protocol for security, employees in some industries also need extra encryption for compliance. An obvious example is healthcare. Any UC platform that facilitates communications for a healthcare provider must achieve standing compliance in HIPAA. This is an ongoing point of consideration, and one that directly impacts how secure the platform is.
Evolve IP: Leaders in UC… and More
Unified communications market trends shed light on the priorities of businesses around the world. Employee-centric, tech-heavy operations are in play in every industry, especially as more data emerges on how those components impact revenues.
For companies that want to get ahead of the curve, leading the way into the future of UC, Evolve IP has a myriad of solutions. Our award-winning platform makes it easy to build integrated collaboration, enhanced communications, and digital workspaces.
We are a leading provider of DaaS, virtual desktop solutions, and go the extra mile to partner with ambitious businesses not just to maintain but enhance the state of operations.