What Is Mobile Unified Communications?
Simply put, unified communications (UC) takes all the communication methods that employees already use and brings them together under one platform.
For example, your employees probably use a number of ways to connect with customers and each other. These methods can include:
- Phone calls
- Video conferencing
- Instant messaging
A UC solution unites all these communication methods so that your employees can call, chat and email, all from the same interface. The application works on all devices: phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Further, all conversations and records are updated and accessible on each.
In an ideal scenario, UC delivers the smoothest collaboration experience possible. It reduces confusion and connects people faster. UC improves customer service, increases employee satisfaction and makes your business more efficient. In the end, UC saves you money.
Market Trends in Mobile Unified Communications
The need for such services is growing stronger each year. According to Transparency Market Research (TMR), the global unified communications as a service (UCaaS) market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 29.4%. In 2015, the UCaaS market had a valuation of $8.23 billion. According to TMR, this figure will reach $79.3 billion by the end of 2024.
8x8 has been named a leader in Gartner's UCaaS Magic Quadrant for eight years in a row. It is the only communications provider to enjoy such a distinction.
Why Business Requires Mobile Unified Communications
UC is ideally suited to the realities of today's workplace. Employees are often working remotely, and customers are dispersed. According to the 2019 State of Remote Work, a study commissioned by social media management company Buffer:
- 91% of respondents who are business owners intend to support remote work. This is up from 88% in last year’s report
- Fully remote companies are the reality for 31% of the respondents
- 40% of work environments are more likely to be hybrid. These are organizations where part of the team is full-time remote and the other part works out of the same physical office location
This means that companies have to support both office and remote workers. Such employees often have very different needs. In these mixed environments, the ability to communicate regardless of device or platform is paramount. Mobile unified communications addresses this need.
Customers are often remote as well. Even small businesses can have customers around the country and around the world. These customers want to communicate with the company via the channel and platform of their choice.
Employees may also prefer to use their own phones or devices at work. A study by Tech Pro Research indicates that:
- 59% of companies allow employees to use their own devices at work
- Another 13% plan to in the future
"Employees want, or even expect, the freedom and ability to work from anywhere, anytime, on any device," notes Christine Horton in tech portal Tom's Hardware.
Businesses are generally OK with this trend. After all, if employees want to use their own devices, then the company doesn't need to spend money on a second phone or laptop for the employee. Further, the employee is more productive, as she already knows (and even likes) her device. She doesn't need extra training or onboarding.
Employees might use their personal device for some work-related tasks and a company-issued device for others. The Unified communications platform would be present on both devices. This is for the employee's convenience, and so work is not interrupted.
A mobile UC platform works on any smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. It also works on any operating system.
Benefits of Mobile Unified Communications
A robust UC platform is mobile-first. It considers that employees and customers might first reach for their phone, whether for a voice call, chat, text message or email. Yet communications today are often non-consecutive. Meaning, a response from one party may not necessarily be instant. This is OK, as long as the conversation can pick up where it left off and customers aren't confused.
In a mobile UC environment, for example, a customer, using a desktop computer, leaves a message using the chatbot icon on the company's website. A remote employee will receive a notification from the mobile UC app on her mobile phone about the customer’s message. She will then go to her laptop where she will log in to her company's UC app and respond to the customer. The back-and-forth conversation can continue until the customer's questions have been answered.
In another mobile UC scenario, a conversation between team members takes place via chat or instant message in the UC app on each of their laptops. However, they decide to have a voice call, which takes place on their laptops. Then, one of the employees wishes to switch to using his mobile phone mid-call. This can happen because the UC app is on several devices, and each employee has a single number or identity.
Clear benefits of Mobile Unified Communications include:
- Communications anywhere: Provided there is a strong internet connection, team members and customers can stay in contact. Conversations can start and stop, and are tracked and archived
- Use of any device: A mobile UC platform can be used on any device or platform
- Document retrieval: All relevant documents can be shared between parties during the conversation
Key Functionalities of Mobile UC
According to Craig Mathias of Network World, there are five key components of a mobile UC platform. They are:
- Messaging: This is short, text-based messaging, known as texting, chatting and instant messaging. Employees are well-aware of this, thanks to Facetime, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. However, a mobile UC platform has extra layers of security. It is also able to keep records of all conversations
- Email: A classic email interface is part of UC and is most likely familiar to most employees. However, Mathias believes that email will eventually go away. Email will be "reserved for lowest-common-denominator external communications," he notes
- Voice: Voice telephony, also known as VoIP, is a key core function within UC. It must include both one-to-one and many-to-many (conferencing) capabilities. It must also include voicemail
- Files: All documents used in the UC platform must be made accessible to authorized users. These could include images, PDFs, Word documents, recordings of video conferences and the like. Media conversion and mobile responsiveness are bonus features that make the system more robust. Security, backup and encryption for these files are a must
- Management: Business owners can manage UC from a single console. In this way, they can have a single view of platform usage. Management should be able to configure apps, grant access, define policies and track usage. Business owners can get a better idea of which features are being used more often than others. In this manner, they can adjust the mix of features, which may reduce costs over time
How 8x8 Helps in Solving the Problem
Businesses that adopt mobile UC see innumerable benefits. 8x8's Unified Communications Suite supports a diverse range of business applications. Mobile UC powers truly global collaboration, all in real-time.
- Cost-effective: 8x8 can cut phone costs by 50% or more. UC eliminates the high operating costs and continued capital expenses of old technology. With 8x8, you get one vendor with one low monthly payment
- Create a professional presence: Your customers will be impressed that your company offers several channels through which to communicate
- Enable BYOD: With 8x8's app, your employees can use their own phones, laptops and other devices. Employees can use the same device for both work and personal communications
- Security: 8x8's UC platform is certified for more security and privacy uses than any other competitor in the market
- Easy Setup: Because it's cloud-based, there is no need for on-premise equipment. You also don't need to pay IT consultants to configure the servers
- Flexible: Choose only the features you need. These might be voicemail, videoconferencing or call forwarding
- Greater efficiency: UC enables easier document sharing and retrieval. This reduces employee frustration and increases customer satisfaction
- Hire remote workers: UC allows you to hire people regardless of where they live and work. 8x8 supports users in 150+ countries and provides full dialing plans in 30+ countries
- Analytics: Measure platform usage and adjust feature access if necessary
- Scalable: 8x8 is right behind you as your team or locations grow. Scale up or down depending on your needs
- Unrivaled support: 8x8's world-class support team will help you every step of the way. You don't need previous experience using UC tools.
But don't take our word for it. More than 4,000 end users have reviewed 8x8, with almost 90% giving us five stars.
Level Up With Mobile Unified Communications
The need for mobile unified communications is stronger than ever. Customers expect continuous, uninterrupted communication. Combined with the realities of today's workplace, mobile UC makes perfect sense for businesses of all sizes.
Your business needs every cog in your machine to be as productive as possible. With 8x8's Unified Communications platform, your business gets the unified messaging it needs without the need for multiple disparate systems. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.