Unified Communications Market Trends
Unified Communications systems have fundamentally changed how companies manage internal and external communications. The UC market is enjoying impressive growth as both small and large companies adopt cloud-based solutions. New features like Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning software promise to make UC platforms even more effective. Companies using multiple UC products may find themselves relying on Managed Service Providers to integrate vendors and make the most of their investment.
What Are Unified Communications Solutions?
Unified Communication solutions have fundamentally changed how businesses communicate with employees and partners. Centralizing communications functions in the cloud through a single interface makes collaboration easier than ever before. Relying on the cloud also eliminates the need to develop and maintain internal communications infrastructure.
One of the most common UC solutions is "UCaaS", or Unified Communications as a Service. UCaaS platforms provide:
- Enterprise-wide messaging
- Video conferencing
- Meeting/collaboration tools
These services allow for seamless transition across communication channels. Since they are based in the cloud, UCaaS services can be easily scaled to meet specific business needs. That means businesses get a custom communications system with the functionality they need. There are a number of exciting Unified Communications future trends as we finish 2018.
Unified Communications Market Trends
The UC market will continue to enjoy strong growth. The UC service segment is growing at approximately 17% per year and is projected to become a $143 billion market by 2024. This growth is being driven by companies expanding operations in emerging and frontier markets. Even startups and smaller companies need to maintain a presence in developing markets in order to compete. Maintaining a global footprint increasingly requires sophisticated internal communication systems. The larger growth and adoption of cloud services provides additional tailwinds to the UC market.
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning applications will become more common. AI/ML software is becoming more common in both B2C and B2B communications. For example, call centers are reducing wait times by deploying "chat bots" that can respond to simple inquiries. B2C applications on UC platforms can provide even greater value. For example, when a customer calls a cloud-supported call center AI/ML can immediately provide the representative with key data. That data might include the length of the customer relationship and the customer's most frequent reasons for calling. In a B2B scenario, AI/ML can aid collaboration by learning how to automate processes. A virtual meeting between team members may require uploading meeting agendas, presentations, or other documents. AI/ML on a cloud-based platform can learn what documents are important and automatically upload them before each meeting.
Managed Service Providers (MSP's) will become more important. The growth of cloud-based communications platforms can boost productivity and connect even the most remote offices. However, greater complexity can pose challenges for businesses that are just beginning to adopt UC products. Existing IT infrastructure needs to be moved to the cloud and tested to prevent communication gaps. Larger companies might rely on multiple vendors whose cloud platforms might not be easily integrated. MSP's can help manage disparate cloud communication platforms to help companies get the most out of their UC investments.
What Does This Mean For Customers?
A rapidly growing and maturing UC market is beneficial for customers. Greater competition among providers is driving down the cost of UC services. This is particularly beneficial for smaller businesses with less capital to spend on developing their own solutions. Second generation UC platforms are also better integrated into client IT infrastructure and are more reliable.
The introduction of AI/ML software further expands the capabilities of Unified Communications systems. Prior generations of this technology offered a great deal of convenience but still required frequent user input. AI/ML can further automate communications functions and adapt to client needs. This could include more rapid scaling during periods of peak usage or better tailoring the interface for specific users. AI/ML can also gradually improve the quality of the product without frequent software upgrades or patches. Unified Communications trends in 2018 add further value for customers and better integrate UC solutions into existing infrastructure.
Your business needs every cog in your machine to be as productive as possible. With 8x8's Team Messaging System 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.