Take 5 UC Trends with Nuvias
Guest Blog by Steve Harris, EVP Unified Communications at Nuvias
Having been in the Unified Communications market since its very early days and witnessed over-enthusiasm and false starts, I am always careful in making claims and predictions. But I think most UC people would agree that 2018 was one of the most exciting years in this now fast moving and growing market, driven by both established players and exciting new start-ups. So my first prediction should be no surprise.
1 – Accelerated Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As)
The second half of 2018 saw some interesting M&A moves in terms of geographical and vertical expansions from Gamma, Centile, EvolveIP and Blueface plus solution-based acquisitions such as the 8×8 purchase of Jitsi Video Communications Technology from Atlassian. I see no signs of this activity slowing. In fact, UC M&A activity in 2019 will continue and accelerated across the board as both vendors and Service Providers fight to gain momentum and market share.
2 – Growth of WebRTC
Prepare to be tired of hearing about everyone’s claims around user experience and user interface in 2019. These terms are certainly not new but there is now a complete focus on the overall UI and UX, with both video, messaging and content sharing seen as mandatory to drive better communication and collaboration.
WebRTC has been seen as an interesting but niche technology to drive these solutions to the desktop but has seen significant growth within the contact centre environment and customer services environments. This will likely spread and become more prevalent across the whole UC space now WebRTC technology has matured.
3 – UC Service Bundling plus Customisation
Everyone likes a one-stop-shop and we are now seeing Service Providers looking to bundle entire solutions for UC across connectivity, hardware and software. It’s becoming increasingly important to do this against the large Over The Top (OTT) players coming into the market and to deliver a simple proposition that is easy to consume and manage. At the same time, Providers are also looking more at customisation and integration opportunities to differentiate against the more standard and volume-based propositions from the larger players. Ultimately, the market is becoming more competitive and providers need to be very clear and savvy, and invest in their differentiators to remain relevant with both existing and new end customers.
4 – UC Security and Analytics
Security is no longer an option and UC vendors, resellers and Service Providers need to deliver secure solutions that protect their customers and their customers’ customers. There will also be a continued increase in focus on analytics, even though 2018 was a little slower on adoption than forecast. User data and trends on the actual consumption of UC services will become the norm and businesses will come to rely on this data to see how staff collaborate and interact to improve productivity and to measure user adoption. This type of data is already commonplace in IT based applications and is moving at pace into UC.
5 – Blurring of UC Provider Categories
My final prediction is around the battle for hearts, minds and wallets. There has been a continued drive from UC vendors to enter the Service Provider space and offer their applications from the Cloud. System Integrators (SIs) are now offering network services and are also being acquired by Service Providers. Direct Marketing Resellers (DMRs) are also now investing in their services propositions and their cloud capabilities and adding much more value beyond standard hardware and software supply. Distributors are also now much less hardware based. The overall UC landscape of Providers is becoming blurred with new partnerships and types of providers emerging to ‘land grab’ a share of the growing UC market in 2019.
Only time will tell over the next 12 months if my predictions pan out but what is clear is that the UC market has evolved and matured to reach a tipping point when the technology becomes truly mainstream and an integral part of the corporate IT fabric – both in large enterprises and SMEs.
Guest Blog by Steve Harris, EVP (Executive Vice-President) Unified Communications for Nuvias Group
Steve Harris has over 20 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry and was co-founder of SIPHON, the award-winning UC solutions and technology integrator for the channel. For the last ten years, he has also been actively involved in the cloud unified communications sector. At SIPHON, Steve Harris was instrumental in the acquisition of VCOMM in 2012 and was central to SIPHON’s rapid growth, prior to its acquisition by Nuvias Group in 2016.
Steve now heads up the Unified Communication practice within Nuvias, tasked with growing that area within the Group, through working closely with key vendor partners and ensuring that strong value proposition is replicated successfully across EMEA.