Unified telecommunications (UC) is a solution in the communications world that allows businesses to get more out of their crucial tools and applications, by placing them in a cohesive and streamlined environment. Rather than having to switch between tools for video conferencing and instant messaging, you can access everything you need on the same intuitive platform.
In 2018, the market for unified communications saw a number of innovations, plenty of consolidation, and new customer demands for things like collaboration tools and service management features. By 2024, Grand View Research suggests that the industry will be worth $143.49 billion.
So how are the trends changing with UC today?
Unified Communications and Cloud Become Intertwined
Often, if you type “What is unified communications” into Google, you’ll find countless articles talking about the power of UC as a scalable solution delivered over the cloud. While there are Unified telecommunications packages available for on-premise and hybrid environments, many businesses have begun to move more aggressively towards the cloud to ensure workplace agility.
The path to cloud that today’s companies are choosing varies depending on their needs. Larger organisations tend to prefer the bespoke nature of hosted and custom services, while smaller organisations appreciate the flexibility of unified communications as a service (UCaaS).
Artificial Intelligence Supports Better Experiences
The concept of “experience” is crucial in today’s communication environment. Companies aren’t just looking for ways to enhance customer experiences, but the experiences that their agents and employees enjoy too. As virtual assistants like Microsoft Cortana become more common, conversational AI solutions are making their way further into the unified communications market.
In the years ahead, we may begin to see more virtual assistants included as part of a unified telecommunications package. For instance, your assistant could listen to and record a call for you with a voice command or add appointments to your calendar as you schedule them on the phone.
UC Improved Tools for Collaboration
We saw a massive rise in demand for collaboration tools in 2018, particularly as the popularity of remote work began to rise. Businesses looking for ways to keep more diverse teams connected have turned to collaborative solutions and instant chat systems to ensure that people on-the-go stay productive.
The Unified Communications packages on the future will offer collaboration tools as standard, ranging all the way from integrations with Microsoft Office and Google online suites, to custom-made file sharing and productivity management tools. Some unified communications and collaboration vendors are even beginning to offer APIs that allow developers to build and integrate the applications they need into existing apps.
Leading Unified Communications solutions offer built-in integration with leading apps like Zendesk, Oracle, and Salesforce, while also providing the opportunity to create custom integrations through a family of cloud APIs and SDKs on the RingCentral Connect Platform. The unified communication applications of the future will need to provide users with the flexibility they need to keep all of their most essential tools in the same location.
Irina Kirnos is a Product Marketing Manager at RingCentral in EMEA. With experience in the cloud software and communication industry spanning Silicon Valley, Research Triangle Park and now London, she enjoys working collaboratively with global teams to develop product messaging and positioning, sales enablement and competitive differentiation. Irina grew up in San Francisco, California and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Check out this RingCentral Conversational AI blog post.