Our 10 Favourite UC Stories from 2019 (So Far…)
The stories that blew us all away this year
The UC industry is one of the most interesting and dynamic in the world today.
While almost every sector is going through a state of digital transformation right now, there are few things more transformational for any business than something that changes the way that we communicate. Every year, we see new developments in everything from the way that we connect with customers, to the solutions that we access for in-office collaboration.
2019 has been another amazing celebration of industry innovators and pioneers. To celebrate some of the most amazing experiences that we had over the last (almost) 12 months, we’ve put together this list of our, and, judging by their popularity, your favourite 10 UC stories from 2019.
1. Avaya and RingCentral Join Forces
You knew this was coming. Avaya’s partnership with RingCentral might be a relatively new development in the UC space, but it’s one of the most significant things to happen this year. Since the beginning of 2019, we’ve been keeping a close eye on both brands, as Avaya struggled to overcome its issues a legacy provider, and RingCentral shot ahead of the competition with incredible cloud-based tools and services.
Now, we’re on track for a new era of unified communications, as Avaya and RingCentral combine heritage and reliability, with scalability and innovation. Starting with the arrival of the Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral, we’re sure that the partnership between the two brands will be a “home run” for both companies going into 2020. As Jim Chirico, Avaya’s CEO and President told us: “It is actually going to change the landscape.”
2. Gartner Releases the UCaaS Magic Quadrant
Every year, we eagerly await the arrival of new Magic Quadrant lists from leading analyst Gartner. Whether you love or hate the MQ, it’s impossible to ignore its impact on the industry, and the sheer level of respect that it demands from buyers and sellers alike. According to Gartner this year, UCaaS is quickly becoming the de-facto solution for companies in search of scalable and dynamic communications tools. By 2023, around 40% of all new enterprise purchases in telephony are set to be based on the cloud!
2019’s UCaaS Magic Quadrant leaders included the like of 8×8, Cisco, RingCentral, and Microsoft, with Google, Mitel and LogMeIn following suit in the challenger’s section. We were surprised to see Windstream in the niche player’s section, particularly with their status in chapter 11, and their lack of a multi-region presence. Additionally, we were somewhat shocked that more qualified vendors like Avaya and Vonage had been left out entirely. What were your thoughts on the UCaaS Magic Quadrant this year, and how do you think the list will change in 2020?
3. Polycom and Plantronics Become Poly
Consolidation always has a big impact on the Unified Communications market, particularly when two huge brands join forces, like Plantronics and Polycom. During Enterprise Connect 2019, Polycom and Plantronics were excited to announce the arrival of their new identity to the world in the form of “Poly”
In 2018, Plantronics announced its decision to purchase Polycom for about $2 billion. A year on from that announcement, the world came together to celebrate the arrival of a brand ready to transform the communication landscape as we knew it. While rebranding after a significant merger or acquisition can always be a complex process, Polycom and Plantronics brought their new image to the industry with style. Since then, we’ve seen Poly delivering excellent solutions to the marketplace, highlighting its ability to offer the state-of-the-art experiences that their customers want as a new, combined entity.
4. Google Voice Continues to Compete
As the age of collaboration has continued to transform the communication landscape, we’ve seen a number of leading brands exploring the benefits of combining productivity tools with things like voice and video. Although Google Voice originally appeared in the market during 2018, it struggled to gain the kind of traction that the search leader had hoped for. However, in 2019, Google introduced an expansion of the G-Suite, along with improved functionality for Google Voice.
The introduction of a new enterprise-ready version of Google Voice which spans multiple countries across the globe helps to make Google more appealing to enterprise customers. Google Voice can now support everything from certified VoIP hardware to emergency numbers and more. There are even integrations with Hangouts Meet and Google Calendar. Though Google Voice might not be as exciting as things like Microsoft Teams for enterprises yet, the solution does show that Google is still in the game.
5. Zoom Begins Successful IPO and Launches Zoom Phone
Zoom Video Communications is one of the brands that has generated the most buzz for 2019, leaving us incredibly excited about what it might accomplish in 2020. Zoom isn’t just one of the leading video conferencing solutions in the world anymore – it’s one of the most successful unicorn startups in the market. In April, Zoom announced its new IPO and the arrival of the Zoom Phone solution.
The business achieved a record-breaking valuation from it’s IPO, and the arrival of Zoom Phone meant that Zoom could start to build a reputation for itself as a full-featured communication and collaboration tool. Today’s customers don’t have to switch between different solutions for their VoIP and video communications. Whatever you need to do to connect with your colleagues or customers, Zoom has you covered with a familiar and easy-to-use platform. As Zoom continues to deliver new features and functionalities to its portfolio, we’re sure it will continue to grow in 2020.
6. Slack Continues its War with Microsoft
At around the same time as Zoom, Slack also announced its IPO, part of the company’s strategy to continue building its strength and market position in the Microsoft dominated market. While Slack might have been one of the first tools to introduce us to the new era of collaboration, Microsoft has quickly earned the position as the number one tool for enterprise users. This means that Slack needs to work hard at regaining its position in the market.
According to Section4’s Scott Galloway, Microsoft has emerged as a “Death Star” in the collaboration industry, eating up a lot of the market share that Slack was reliant on up until now. Microsoft’s incredible success means that other smaller companies in the collaboration space might struggle to make a real impact on the marketplace going forward. As we move into 2020, it will be interesting to see whether Microsoft Teams becomes the De Facto Teams tool for today’s collaboration campaigns, or whether other businesses manage to make their way back into the competition.
7. PGi Launches GlobalMeet UCaaS
Speaking of other companies trying to find their place in a competitive marketplace, PGI, a leading business communications provider, introduced their latest UCaaS offering this year. The UCaaS tool delivered through the GlobalMeet platform comes with tools like artificial intelligence to support workers with clever automation and new strategies for boosting collaboration. The GlobalMeet platform ensures that companies can rely on a consistently high level of quality for their voice communications, while modern integrations with AI allow PGI to step into the future.
GlobalMeet’s UCaaS solution became generally available throughout 2019, and Don Joos, the CEO of PGi, explained that PGi was happy to be bringing a new and more advanced solution for interactions into the market. Through enhanced UCaaS, PGi wanted to bring more productivity and efficiency to the workplace. The company even offered guidance and professional assistance from the PGi customer support team.
8. Mitel and Talkdesk Join Forces for CCaaS
We mentioned above how exciting the right partnerships and collaborations can be in the UC space – and that’s certainly the case with the connection between Talkdesk and Mitel. The two industry-leading and well-respected companies came together to create the MiCloud Connect CX solution – an all-in-one contact centre powered by the cloud-based Talkdesk offering. The solution offered end-users an award-winning and innovative offering for CCaaS in a dependable environment.
The MiCloud Connect CX combines the Talkdesk portfolio of customer experience solutions with Mitel’s extensive footprint in UCaaS. According to Tiago Paiva, Talkdesk’s CEO, the company was incredibly excited to join Mitel and accelerate its growth in the cloud space. Together, Mitel and Talkdesk can now offer their diverse customer base the perfect combination of back-end UCaaS functionality, and front-end CCaaS too.
9. West UC Embraces New Branding – becomes Intrado
A global leader in IT and communication solutions, West Corporation decided that the best way to continue its growth through 2019 and beyond, was to embrace a new identity. The new title for the company, Intrado, was chosen to reflect the organisation’s vision for future growth and evolution. With a focus on staying ahead of the curve, adapting to meet customer needs, and evolving to suit the demands of the current environment, Intrado hopes to prove to its clients that it’s still on the cutting edge.
The choice to rebrand came not long after West Corp had celebrated a number of fantastic achievements in its growth strategy. The organisation’s acquisition of multiple new companies, and the divestiture of the call centre business marked a perfect opportunity to start fresh with an image that was custom-made for the future.
10. Cisco Launches Webex Calling
Finally, Zoom wasn’t the only company that introduced a new calling functionality as part of its state-of-the-art collaboration experience this year. After acquiring BroadSoft in 2018, Cisco has been teasing customers with plenty of promises for new functionality and features. One of the biggest changes this year was the arrival of a new Cisco Webex Calling experience – perfectly integrated with the rest of the amazing Webex portfolio.
Cisco’s Webex Calling environment creates a phone system in the cloud that combines the best parts of the BroadSoft infrastructure with the benefits of the Webex cloud. There’s plenty of features to enjoy, including Webex single sign-on and two-factor authentication. For those already reliant on the Webex portfolio for things like Teams and Meetings, Calling is just another way to expand the range of solutions that they can get from the Cisco brand.
What Was YOUR Favourite Story This Year?
Those are our top 10 UC stories for 2019.
What’s your favourite story from this year, and have we covered it in our list?
Let us know in the comments below, or join the conversation on social media.