For years businesses relied on plain old telephone service (POTS) managed through a PSTN for all their communication needs. Inside most offices, you’d find a closet where PBX equipment was connecting employees to a central phone, as well as extensions. What the conventional phone system lacked in flexibility, it made up for in reliability. As time passed, we discovered email as a must-have work tool and later Voice Over-IP communication. VoIP phones put voice and data traffic over the same connection, providing reliable worldwide connectivity for less cost.
In today’s digital era, where more people are mobile and working remotely, business communication continues to evolve in new and exciting ways. Unified Communications (UC), for example, integrates all the communication forms and devices into a central hub, allowing for dialogue and other workflows to all exist and be available on the same platform. UC enables voice, email, instant messaging, video conferencing, social and immersive digital communication, keeping conversations flowing freely to support collaboration, innovation, and productivity wherever and whenever work gets done.
2018 marked an inflection point for UC solutions – tipping the scales in favor of the popular cloud-based delivery models. Nemertes reports that 67% of organizations now have at least part of their UCC applications in the cloud, while nearly one-third are all cloud. (Source: Nemertes). Cloud deployment models may vary from hosted options to a hybrid deployment, or UC delivered as-a-service. As cloud-based UC pushes legacy phone systems to the fringes, what’s next? Let’s take a closer look.
According to analysts, the benefits of new unified communication and collaboration tools will continue to draw in new users and spur continued innovation in the industry. MarketsandMarkets predicts that UCaaS adoption is set to double by 2021, particularly among small to mid-sized businesses. (Source: MarketsandMarkets). As new UCC applications evolve, organizations will be able to customize collaboration experiences, more easily make and receive video calls, and use APIs to tie into other critical business apps. The hope is also that AI-powered tools within UCC platforms will also make collaborating in the workplace a more natural and productive experience, whether teams are global, mobile – or both.