Looking back at the year 2020 demands a stout heart, but we still have to ask: how will 2020 affect the future of UCaaS? The last decade has seen a steady increase in the rate of adoption of UC technology. This article will break down and explore how 2020 has and will impact UCaaS moving forward.
UC Market Size Growth
In 2015, on-premises UC systems accounted for USD$15 billion of the unified communications market. Cloud-based systems held about USD$5 billion and hybrid systems accounted for about half of that or about USD$2.5 billion. Fast-forward to 2018 and the on-premises systems came in just shy of USD$20 billion in market size and cloud-based UCaaS systems increased to a little less than USD$10 billion. Hybrid systems doubled to about USD$5 billion that same year.
By 2020, in-house UC systems topped more than USD$20 billion in market size while UCaaS systems were stretching closer to USD$10 billion and hybrids were closing toward USD$8 billion. Predictions are that by 2026, on-premises systems will exceed $25 billion while both cloud-based UC and hybrid systems will surpass $15 billion.
Given this trajectory, it is clear that UCaaS cloud-based systems are the future of UC.
The Future of UCaaS Includes AI
UCaaS developers use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve communication systems through the following:
- Interactive Voice Response which helps identify why a caller is contacting a business and directs the call to the appropriate department;
- Sentiment Analysis which detects whether a caller is angry and warns customer service before putting the call through;
- AI can prioritize calls and mail according to standard rules set by the client;
- AI can determine documents that should be distributed to meeting attendees;
- AI can transcribe meeting minutes, make to-do lists, assign tasks based on workload/terms of service; and
- AI can track speakers and manage simultaneous speaking.
Industry observers also anticipate that AI will increasingly find use in data analytics taming all that information collected by UC and assist in problem-solving.
How COVID-19 Changed UCaaS
In sum, COVID-19 changed the way the world works. A big part of that change relied on video as businesses adapted to remote workers and travel restrictions that made in-person meetings inadvisable or impossible as a result of the pandemic. Video conferencing became standard, taking the place of in-person department meetings and gaining favor as virtual learning for teams.
As fortune would have it, the move to video conferencing takes place at the same time as the release of 5G internet capability. The improved speed and reliability of 5G result in improved quality of video transmissions. Businesses respond favorably to this development because presenters gain the following advantages in video calls over regular phone calls. The advantages include the ability to:
- Read visual cues in their audiences;
- Use visual aids, not available for regular phone calls;
- Improve productivity because there are fewer points of communication; and
- Immediately transfer calls from phone to desktop or other mobile devices.
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