2020 changed everything. Organizations shut their doors due to the COVID-19 crisis, conferences were cancelled and travel ceased. Many found themselves working from home overnight. Cloud-based services, particularly video collaboration, quickly became the glue that held us together, making it possible for businesses, schools and other organizations to carry on while being physically distant from managers, co-workers and clients.
A recent Frost & Sullivan market global report evaluated the demand for cloud-based Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) tools due to the rise in remote work. Per the findings, major cloud meeting and team collaboration providers cited three- or four-fold growth in usage since the pandemic started. Overall, the global cloud meetings and team collaboration service market is on track to at least double in revenue, reaching $11.43 billion in 2020.
Here's a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of the events of last year, and how UCaaS kept us afloat:
Q1: Vendors Offer Free Solutions
In March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 crisis and as stay-at-home orders rolled out, many UCaaS vendors began offering some type of free video, team collaboration, VoIP, or other UCaaS solutions for a limited time, as a way to help businesses adjust to a newly remote workforce. #WFH (Work From Home) became the new trending hashtag on twitter as remote working took a huge step forward in becoming the norm.
Q2: Hybrid Workplace Arrives
By June 2020, we started to see a welcome shift in UCaaS related announcements about a return to business and a safe reopening of physical locations. It became clear that business operations and relationships would be different, and there would be a lot of adapting to new ways of working and doing business. New solutions began to emerge around a safe return to work in a hybrid model that supports both remote and on-premises workers. We saw solutions for secure remote office connectivity, but also in-office solutions like facility management, space allocation and social distance monitoring.
Q3: Video Collaboration
Demand for cloud-based video collaboration surged in 2020 as a way to stay connected and competitive throughout a most challenging time. In a look back over our weekly business communications coverage in third quarter (3Q) 2020, one solution consistently made the headlines – video conferencing. In 2020, video conferencing experienced enormous growth both among organizations and within social circles as well.
The pandemic of 2020 spawned some unique technological innovations designed to make remote collaboration as seamless as possible and on par with in-person interactions. Cisco, in its quest to deliver a Webex meetings, messaging and calling experience that is “10x better than in-person,” announced an impressive list of over 50 Webex innovations at the company’s December 2020 WebexOne virtual event. Among the notable innovations is “Immersive Sharing” that lets the meeting host overlay their camera video on top of a shared presentation, video or application.
What’s in store for 2021? All agree that a hybrid work environment is here to stay. For many businesses, the office is likely to become an occasional place for meetings and collaboration rather than a place of full-time presence. Thanks to virtual cloud-based communications and collaboration services, business owners now know that people can indeed successfully work remotely and — with ever-improving technology — securely. We look forward to continued creative innovations in 2021 around the new work-from-anywhere reality as business carries on post-COVID.
To learn more about video conferencing solutions, reach out to CallTower today at the link below: