Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) uses the cloud to bring together all of your company’s separate communication channels. It unifies all the communication channels like Business telephone, meeting systems (audio, video, web), instant messaging, and present technology to form one communication system. 

Since its launch, Unified Communication has proved to be a cost-effective communication solution across different industries like healthcare, retail, BFSI, and others. The way organizations manage their communication networks depends on the unified communication service provided by companies like IBM, Mitel Networks Corporation, and others. 

Market Overview 

The unified communications and collaboration market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of over 27.8% in the projected time period of 2021 to 2026.

There has been a domination of individual products in the Unified Communications and Collaboration market as the companies used to select unique products to fulfill specific demands. It was seen that organizations purchased different services for different purposes like email servers for messaging, team rooms for collaboration, portals for sharing organizational information, PBX, and voicemail for phone services.

Today, the customers are making strategically intelligent decisions for the technology needs. The decisions on the capacity, richness, and connectivity of the complete collaboration stack when deploying cloud hosting and collaboration ecosystems are strategic.

Based on the old and obsolete contact centers, the market sees a rising need for readily maintained network solutions to enable effective communication across numerous end-user industries, such as healthcare, retail, and manufacturing.

Healthcare providers, who are frequently classified as having minimal IT budgets, have boosted the adoption of cost-effective cloud-based solutions. With United Communication’s monthly fee services in place, healthcare contact centers may set up their PBX systems and smoothly handle many consumer demands from diverse locations.

Adopting a holistic platform approach yields significant improvements in end-user training, acceptance, and, ultimately, business value.

Companies, therefore,  select collaboration and communication tools based on the platform’s future trajectory. Companies may decrease IT expenses, IT administration overhead, and integration issues by choosing the right platform. 

Market study says that countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and Korea, among others, could be prospective UC&C markets. According to the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, healthcare expenditures in the United States are expected to rise by 5.5 percent per year from 2017 to 2026. If consumption increases at this rate, there will be more competition among healthcare professionals, necessitating new technology to stay afloat.

Remote work culture in recent times has proved to become an excellent opportunity for the services providers to promote software-based communications as the key enabler of business growth and continuity. Remote work culture also helps to prove the flexibility of UCaas and cloud services in terms of capacity and delivery, regardless of the location. This trend is expected to go a long way, supporting market growth. 

Voxbone, a global leader in the communications business, recently released a report showing that the pandemic has drastically impacted the network service industry. The pandemic has spurred a tremendous surge in demand for cloud telecommunications, according to the report, as firms look for alternative solutions to corporate team gatherings and work commutes.

Eight Significant Trends That Will Drive the UCaaS Market in 2021

1.The UCaaS Industry will Continue to Dominate

Even though there were multiple competitors in UCaas Market in 2020, a few significant players like Zoom and Microsoft Teams controlled the market. The purchase of Slack by Salesforce marks a significant step in the convergence of the UCaaS sectors, and this will be a prominent trend in the year 2021. 

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) in UCaaS

From enhancing call quality to intelligent auto-routing in contact centers, AI has the potential to alter practically every aspect of business communication. According to research, 4 out of 10 companies expect to integrate AI capabilities into UC systems by 2021, making it a critical trend.

AI is expected to boost staff productivity dramatically this year. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated UCaaS growth. UCaaS produced office-like surroundings for WFH users with the technology advances like noise suppression and virtual backdrop meetings. 

More AI innovations in UCaaS will be seen in 2021. Live language translations and predictive collaboration analytics will boost employee productivity and improve operational efficiency in 2021. 

3. Interoperability  to Cut Across Collaboration Islands

The haste with which people moved to online collaboration resulted in a scattered adoption of collaboration apps. As a result, there is a persistent lack of cross-platform visibility, which is inconvenient for users. With no central insight into system health, fragmented apps put extra strain on IT to maintain the systems working.

In 2021, interoperability will be critical to overcoming this problem, allowing UCaaS systems to mature and generate long-term ROI.

4. UCaaS to Drive the Rise of the Remote Working BAU

Remote working is here to stay for a long time. The increasing sophistication of UCaaS technology will create WFH, a new normal and essential to business as usual (BAU) operations.

Joseph Walsh, Senior Manager, Global Product Marketing at LogMeIn, says that if today we are considering ourselves in the interim-normal, then by the end of 2021, we will enter into the new normal, where most of the companies will define a new set of office and company rules and remote working would be an integral change. 

5. UCaaS Maintenance and Security

Accessible communication over the cloud has been the major reason for the adoption of UCaas. Perhaps, UcaaS also has certain risks and long-term consequences for information technology. 

“In 2020, most IT teams were required to undertake UCaaS alternatives with little notice. This alternative will stand strong in the near future as well.  Investment in maintenance and security for UCaaS will be in focus in the year 2021. 

6.  Examination of the Guest Account Sprawl In 2021

Internal cooperation is not the only reason why UCaaS is becoming more popular. External stakeholders, customers, partners, vendors, prospects, and others are likely to be added as ‘guests’ to replace outdated methods like email. However, this causes accounts to grow in size over time, which has its drawbacks.

Since January 2020, RackSpace users have generated roughly 46,000 Slack guest accounts, costing more than $550,000 a quarter. “In 2021, businesses will increasingly examine their guest account sprawl — in terms of unseen expenses, security, compliance, governance, and administrative burden,” said Shahidi of NextPlane.

7. Platform Solutions Over Point Tools in 2021

Due to UCaaS’ subscription-based nature, increased reliance on UCC apps means increased SLA complexity, payment processes, interoperability problems, usage data, and ROI extraction. “In most cases, IT departments collaborate with many suppliers for phone, meetings, messaging, and contact center solutions,” Walsh explained.

Instead of striving to discover the industry’s best in each category, IT decision-makers in 2021 will make it a point to seek out platform solutions to unify phones, meetings, messaging, and presence.

Rather than using point software, companies will combine their communication and sourcing platforms. Customers of UCaaS should expect to get the most, if not all, of their modalities from a single vendor. This integrates procurement, administration, and end-user experience, providing a slew of advantages to the purchasing firm,” he noted.

8. Presence Technology Will Become a Priority

The importance of presence in UCaaS is underestimated. Without presence aggregation, a user would appear to be available on one platform but unavailable on another because they are on the phone. This leads to misunderstandings, delays in the exchange of information, and a lack of openness. As a result, in 2021, the expansion of UCaaS will be followed by a need for present accumulation technology that provides a consolidated, trustworthy view of user accessibility across channels.

According to Shahidi, as remote working persists;  unified presence – users’ actual presence and usability on collaboration islands – will become vital to the employees and corporate efficiency. 

Future of UCaaS Sector

These eight trends will shape the future of UCaaS. 

The cloud is, without a doubt, the future of workplace communication, and the previous three quarters have been critical in bringing this natural evolution to a tipping point.

This industry will mature in 2021, thanks to consolidation and a strong focus on security by enterprise IT teams and vendor organizations. In addition, end-users will have higher expectations, as UCaaS will become a productivity mainstay for them.