Unified communications serve as a crucial investment opportunity for streamlining enterprise communications, augmenting productivity, and delivering seamless user experiences.
Here are some of the top trends that are going to shape the unified communications and collaboration market in the year 2020.
1. Increased adoption of Cloud UC
The future of modern communication infrastructures is going to be cloud-based. With the growing accessibility of the internet, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) has become a more viable and cost-effective option than maintaining in-house networks. As the maintenance and management of on-premises solutions are becoming more expensive and challenging, businesses are shifting to UCaaS solutions to streamline critical business functions and enable quick access to their data, audio, and video communication through any internet-ready device. Moreover, because everything is stored on the cloud, disaster recovery and business continuity are better addressed.
2. AI and ML integrations
Though AI and ML integrations are the newest additions to UC systems, there is plenty of evidence that it can help organizations streamline their operations. By leveraging AI and ML, businesses can improve employee productivity and collaboration using data analytics of user behavior and corporate communication patterns. Customer service applications of unified communications are also beneficiaries of AI and ML, with speech-to-text capabilities, intelligent decisioning engines, and virtual assistants or bots.
3. The proliferation of AR & VR
AR & VR technology is redefining customer experience technology and have already found integration in many cross-vertical applications such as healthcare, entertainment, and more. AR & VR technology holds the potential to drive innovation in the UC environment by turning overlying information into visual content in real-time and letting staff truly ‘experience’ collaboration. Even though still in nascent stages, AR & VR technology has the potential to change the UC game.
4. IoT-powered mobile workforce
As the second quarter of 2020 has ended on the verge of a pandemic, we are witnessing a shift in the definition of work as a space rather than a place. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, worldwide employees are forced to work virtually, conduct meetings, and file reports from their homes. It is the proliferation of smartphones and increased enterprise adoption of futuristic applications and devices running on IoT, which has made this unification possible. Moving forward, companies need to train employees to use mobile and smart devices to boost their communication and collaboration possibilities wherever they are, without any threat of data loss or security vulnerabilities.
5. Virtual meeting rooms
Virtual meetings or video conferencing have already been adopted in many companies to save time and resources, deliver clear messages, and keep executive boards updated with the latest developments within the organization. Virtual meeting rooms enable people to communicate efficiently in real-time over the internet using integrated audio, video, chats, and application tools regardless of their location. The growing global trend towards remote working and distributed office setup compel enterprises to invest in virtual conferences and other unified communications systems in their organizations.
6. 5G connectivity
The emergence of 5G connectivity has advanced the network architecture and brings home the speed that the world demands today. Owing to its high-end features, 5G equips UC systems with exceptional capabilities in terms of data speed, capacity, and low latency, delivering a series of benefits including improved HD video streaming, AR & VR integration, enhanced collaboration, and improved VoIP services across multiple locations. This empowers businesses to leverage staff video calls in 4k, introduce virtual tours into video calls, and many more.
7. Smart devices and wearables
An exponential increase in the global use of smart devices and wearable technology including watches, fitness trackers andclothing, have unearthed a gold mine for the unified communications landscape. With the ever-increasing adoption of smartphones in business, companies are gradually turning to smart devices as a key driver for adopting unified communications in the workplace, and plan to invest in smartphone apps for optimizing their business processes.
The global trends in the UC market today indicate the increasing use of blockchain to accelerate the migration of mobile numbers to different service providers, and integrating workplace communication channels is the latest trend. As blockchain serves as a decentralized ledger that can provide standardized access and routing lookup for all operators worldwide, companies are investing in this emerging tech to optimize the mobile number portability (MPN), local number portability (LNP), do not call (DNC) registries of their office phones, mobile phones, as well as their VoIP phones.
9. Embedding CPaaS and APIs for workflow optimization
Communications platform as a service (CPaaS) provides businesses with a comprehensive framework for their unified communications requirements, rather than investing in separate apps and tools for different functions like video conferencing, calling, and messaging. Moreover, the growing demand for ease of access and centralized management in the UC landscape persuaded organizations to embrace CPaaS and APIs into their existing business tools. This can propel the integration of instant messaging, video calling, or appointment reminders on the company’s systems, rendering superior user experience for the employee and customers alike.
10. Enhancing data security
In this data-driven world, companies continue to collect user information whenever they can to provide personalized customer services and stay ahead of the competition. Besides, the rapid proliferation of cloud computing and the increased pace of technology adoption have raised concerns regarding data security and privacy as well. As a result, companies are mandated by regulations to build-in data security and privacy protection in their UC architecture to secure user information, as well as to earn the trust of their customers. Pointing critical investments in security systems to ensure data protection, messaging encryption, fraud prevention, security controls, and network flexibility is another key trend that is going to shape the UC market this year.