23 Jan 7 Essential UCaaS Trends to Prepare for in 2023
UCaaS has rapidly evolved from a nice-to-have investment among brands, into a must-have technology. Over the last couple of years, adoption rates for Unified Communications as a Service have skyrocketed, even in the face of global recessions and economic downturn. Indeed, around 57% of companies have even said they’re switching to UCaaS to prepare for the recession.
By providing companies with access to a flexible and ever-scalable environment for communications and collaboration in the cloud, UCaaS ensures businesses can continue to thrive in a rapidly-changing world. With UCaaS, organisations can enable hybrid and remote work, expand their communication stack to include new platforms, and even leverage significant cost savings.
It’s little wonder that around 47.3% of companies around the world are already investing in UCaaS today, and 70% of companies also say they’re likely to have their own cloud-based platform by the end of 2023. However, as communication trends continue to evolve, the features and capabilities of UCaaS are transforming too. The platforms that emerge during 2023 may be a world away from the ones we knew only a few years ago.
So, what exactly will 2023 bring to the UCaaS environment? Here are some of the key trends worth preparing for as we head into the new year.
1. UCaaS Will Make Hybrid and Remote Work the Norm
One of the key benefits of UCaaS, is that it allows companies to provision and access the same communication tools for every employee, regardless of where they’re located. This has become increasingly important in recent years, as demand for remote and hybrid work strategies has increased. Going forward, UCaaS will help to transform flexible working into the “new normal” for businesses in virtually every industry.
The good news is that hybrid and remote working opportunities have phenomenal benefits for brands. Currently, 78% of employees who have the option to work from home in some manner say it improves their work/life balance. Plus, enabling a hybrid work policy means companies can easily attract a wide range of talented professionals from all walks of life.
To ensure companies can leverage the benefits of UCaaS for flexible working initiatives, market-leading vendors are already investing in tools and features which enhance their platforms for the new age of work. Microsoft has introduced new hybrid meeting tools in the form of “Microsoft Places” for Teams, and many other vendors are integrating their UCaaS systems with workforce management, engagement, and scheduling tools.
2. The Evolution of UC Channels
In the past, “Unified Communications” platforms used to feature a handful of different communication platforms, combined into one ecosystem. Companies used their “UC” solutions to align email, fax, and voice communications. Now, the way we communicate and collaborate is evolving, and UCaaS platforms are growing increasingly complex as a result.
Video is one of the core channels now receiving excessive focus among UC environments. Virtually every UCaaS provider has its own ecosystem built to enable video conferences, meetings, webinars, and online events. Studies have even shown that around 87% of companies consider video to be essential to their organisation’s collaborative strategies.
We’re also seeing a greater demand for chat tools, which allow companies to cut down on email threads with convenient, fast-paced messages. In the years to come, it’s likely the platforms used for communication within a business environment will continue to evolve. In fact, with the rise of the metaverse and extended reality, we could even see more UCaaS vendors implementing virtual, augmented, and mixed reality solutions into their technology stacks.
3. The Consolidation of “Everything as a Service”
UCaaS is just one example of an increasingly popular solution in the “as a service” landscape. As companies look for ways to reduce costs, improve agility, and enhance operations, many are switching away from on-premises solutions, and leveraging “SaaS” services in the cloud. In the last couple of years, we’ve seen demand for various communication SaaS solutions increase, including CPaaS (Communication Platforms as a Service) and CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service).
As companies continue to shift more of their technology, people and processes into the cloud, they’re also looking for ways to bridge the gaps between different ecosystems. After all, many companies find their team members are more productive and efficient when they have a single-pane-of-glass environment for all of their communications.
In 2023 and beyond, we’re likely to see a larger number of UCaaS vendors combining their unified communication offerings with CCaaS, and CPaaS technologies, as well as app marketplaces, integrations, and API connectors. This will empower countless companies to create their own consolidated cloud landscapes for communication and productivity.
4. Evolving Connectivity Options
As companies continue to shift into the cloud, they’re also looking for new ways to enhance their network and connectivity stacks, to empower more secure, efficient workflows. We’ve seen the rise of concepts like SD-WAN technology in recent years, providing companies with more control over the way they deliver connectivity to teams and employees.
Edge computing has also begun to gain more attention of late, as businesses look for ways to minimize lag and improve overall service quality within their communication tools. Many market leading communication vendors are also exploring new innovations in the mobile connectivity world, partnering with network carriers on new 5G initiatives.
In 2023, we’re likely to see even more companies making their way into the next-level networking landscape, to enhance the quality of every UC connection. Some telecommunications vendors are even beginning to look at the advantages of 6G too, although it’s unlikely any kind of 6G technology will become “mainstream” within the next decade.
5. UCaaS Platforms Become Collaborative Work Hubs
As hybrid and remote work become increasingly common, “collaboration” tools have emerged as a must-have component of many UCaaS platforms. Today’s market-leading vendors offer a range of different built-in capabilities, intended to keep distributed teams connected and aligned. For instance, most UCaaS platforms have their own video conferencing, audio conferencing and chat tools.
As companies continue to invest in UCaaS systems as the new “hub” for digital work, we’re likely to see a larger number of vendors experimenting with unique ways to keep staff members on the same page. Already, we’ve seen leaders like Microsoft introduce things like “Microsoft Viva” to help enhance employee engagement and help supervisors keep track of staff performance.
As collaborative hubs, UCaaS platforms will also need to maintain a high level of flexibility. The solutions delivered by vendors in the future will need to be integration-friendly, and ready to work seamlessly with countless different software and hardware tools. We’re already seeing many vendors making their platform more “customizable” with bring your own carrier connections for communications, APIs, and webhooks.
6. UCaaS Will Become More Secure
Security has always been an important consideration for any brand investing in the right communication and collaboration technology. However, in recent years, the rapid adoption of UCaaS and hybrid working practices has revealed a few major vulnerabilities in the space. Companies shifting into a cloud-focused environment are discovering major problems with everything from data sovereignty to access controls.
As a result, UCaaS market leaders are beginning to introduce new strategies to help boost security, compliance, and privacy for businesses from all environments. Some organizations are beginning to explore the benefits of “Zero trust security” architectures for their customers, while others are experimenting with AI initiatives to boost employee safety. For instance, some UCaaS tools now include biometric security systems that can identify users by the sound of their voice.
Companies looking to take full advantage of the UCaaS landscape in the years ahead won’t be able to afford to make any mistakes with their security strategies. This means vendors will need to make sure they’re going above and beyond to adhere to the expectations of an evolving regulatory environment.
7. AI and Automation Will Continue to Transform UCaaS
For the last couple of years, companies have been investing increasing amounts of time and money into the potential benefits of artificial intelligence. In the UCaaS space, AI innovations are becoming more impressive all the time. Already, we’ve seen collaborative tools boost meeting quality with AI enhancements for real-time translation and transcription, as well as AI-powered scheduling.
Artificial Intelligence is also helping to boost employee productivity, by providing agents and staff members with real-time access to a virtual assistant, capable of surface crucial information and tips at the touch of a button. AI solutions are even helping companies to make employees more efficient, with more intelligent automated workflows.
Today’s business leaders can create bots and systems capable of handling repetitive tasks on the behalf of employees, minimizing the amount of mundane work staff members do each day. Going forward into 2023 and beyond, it’s safe to say AI will continue to be a crucial part of the UC space.
Are You Ready for the Future of UCaaS?
It’s difficult to know for certain what the future might bring. However, if we look back over the most recent changes and trends emerging in the UCaaS industry, it’s easy to see a few key patterns. Going forward, it’s safe to say the UCaaS environment will continue to grow more intelligent, agile, and beneficial to modern brands.
The question is, how do you make sure you’re taking advantage of the value UCaaS can offer? If you need help choosing the right UCaaS vendor for your business needs, use the UC Advisor comparison matrix to sort through your options quickly and easily. You can even apply for a UC Transformation fund for free with us, to cut the costs of your new initiative.