With businesses becoming more mobilized and spread out with the passing of each year, leaders have worked to ensure that employees have all the tools necessary to remain connected and collaborative regardless of where they might be at any given time. This has led to major growth in unified communications investments, spanning from the centerpiece Voice over Internet Protocol business phone services, which have matured of late, to breakthrough video conferencing and instant messaging solutions.
Since the Great Recession, cost control has been a critical aspect of corporate strategies, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that have to maintain as low an overhead as possible to thrive. Because communications-related expenditures have traditionally traditionally high, UC solutions and overhauls of antiquated systems present significant opportunities to bolster profit margins while simultaneously improving everyday experiences for staff members in a broad range of departments.
With cloud-based UC, SMBs have further opportunities to improve their performances and keep technology provisioning costs down to a minimum over time, especially considering the decreased risk of investing in soon-to-be obsolete equipment and services. Several recent reports have indicated that a broader range of industries and organizations are increasing their investments in UC, especially cloud-based solutions and equipment.
Room to expand
MarketsandMarkets recently released its Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) Market - Global Advancements, Worldwide Forecasts and Analysis 2014-2019, which revealed that the exponential growth that has taken place in the past few years will continue to push on in the near future. The analysts projected the UCaaS market, which represents cloud-based UC and relevant outsourced business communications solutions, to reach a total global size of more than $23 billion in annual revenues by 2019.
It is important to note that western nations, such as those in North America, Europe and parts of Asia, are already reaching much higher penetration rates for UC investments, and that growth will eventually begin to level off as the technology becomes ubiquitous. However, emerging markets will represent fresh pools of potential for the UCaaS market, especially as more telecommunications service providers begin to enter these environments in the coming years.
Globalization is having a massive impact on local economies around the world, and these advanced communications solutions will continue to play a major role in driving connections between traditionally disparate nations.
MarketsandMarkets noted that some of the biggest drivers of interest for UCaaS on the global scale continue to be enhanced cost control, fewer travel expenditures and pay-per-use contract models. On the flip side of that coin, more thorough and consistent attention to detail in privacy and security of the data generated through these solutions will help to ensure that larger enterprises more commonly adopt the solutions, the researchers noted.
Higher education hops aboard
EdTech Magazine recently reported that universities are beginning to more aggressively adopt UC solutions, especially video conferencing tools, to improve collaboration among students and professors. According to the news provider, administrative employees in higher education are also leveraging these tools to become more fluid and efficient in their communications with one another.
"We're really trying to get the faculty to participate more in college-wide committee meetings, as well as improve overall collaboration," Chip DiComo, director of technology services at Broward College in Florida, told the source. "Broward College is spread out across four campuses, and it can take up to 45 minutes to drive from one end of the county to the other, so the audio and video conferencing features let the professors attend committee meetings without having to drive to the main campus."
Much like the utilization of video conferencing among SMBs, universities are adopting the technology to simultaneously decrease expenditures while enhancing experiences for students, professors and members of staff. EdTech Magazine pointed out that several schools that specialize in health care-related professions are using Cisco and other popular video conferencing solutions to ensure streamlined collaboration for research purposes.
The news provider went on to note that virtualization practices for UC servers are becoming more popular in this industry as well.
Making it count
Business phone services that are based in Internet Protocol and cloud computing can have profoundly positive impacts on each employee's performance, as well as the organization as a whole. Combined with enriched features and higher quality voice communications, VoIP will also more easily integrate into overall collaboration strategies when cloud-based UC is adopted through a single vendor model.
Interoperability of systems is critical to ensure the maximum cost efficiency, as well as the fewest risks of disruption and outages, and this type of approach covers this angle sufficiently. In the coming years, forecasters expect cloud computing to be a ubiquitous technology that is used by a vast majority of the world's organizations, and those businesses that are already using UC solutions based in these environments will likely have a stronger experience with each future deployment.