Unified Communications Trends 2019

What's next for unified communications?

Unified Communications Trends 2019

Unified communications is an exciting and growing market.

No business, no matter the size of industry can thrive without excellent communication. Whether it’s the conversations you have with your customers or the collaborative moments between teams, business discussions make or break the future of any venture.

However, as communication and the workplace as we know it continues to transform, there’s more to empowering your workforce than giving them a desk phone and a headset. Today’s organisations need software solutions that enable and engage their teams, keeping them connected through the most productive platforms available. Enter unified communications.

Unified communications or “UC” allows modern businesses to combine the traditional and innovative comms solutions they need into a single, cohesive environment. With UC, you can eliminate the risks of information silos, improve employee productivity and even enhance customer experience. It’s no wonder that Grand View Research predicts a value of $143.49 billion for UC by the end of 2024.

We caught up with leaders in the UC market, Unify and Avaya to discuss their views on the future of communications.

The Customer Trends That Shaped UC in 2018

Unified communication platforms allow teams to access a wide range of enterprise tools within a single, easy-to-use environment. With UC, companies can finally move closer to a “single pane of glass” environment for success, rather than forcing their teams to switch endlessly between different devices and pieces of software. We asked leaders from Avaya and Unify to tell us what they believe has been driving the UC market through 2018.

Savio Tovar Dias, Senior Director of Sales Engineering for Avaya International:

Savio-Tovar-Dias-Avaya

Savio Tovar Dias

According to Savio, research suggests that today’s customers want “SuperServe” brands, capable of providing the exceptional experiences that they expect. “This means that omnichannel touchpoints for customer care need to be better-managed by businesses. Organisations still aren’t managing the range of available channels well enough, and customers are finding it hard to move from one touchpoint to another. Innovations like web chat, voice assistant technology, and chatbots may help with these problems.”

Avaya’s team believes that if companies want to overcome the challenges in better customer communication today, then they need to extend the omnichannel experience to their employees too. “Omnichannel options for team members will help agents to better serve their customers. What’s more, advanced tools can automate some of the boring and repetitive tasks that many agents face so that they can focus more completely on sensitive tasks.”

Avaya research shows that happier and more productive employees lead to better customer experience, “It follows that the major trend shaping UC is the extension of the omnichannel experience, both internally and externally.”

Tony Rich, Head of Propositions and Vertical Solutions for Unify:

According to Tony Rich of Unify, the biggest trend for 2018 was the “consumerisation” of enterprise products increasing. “People want business tools that mirror the tools they use outside of work. This makes people feel more familiar with enterprise tech.”

Unify also notes that consumers have been demanding tools that can build an ecosystem around the services and systems they already use, like LinkedIn or Salesforce. “UC providers are becoming a catalyst to orchestrate all of these processes into a single platform.”

Tony also commented that security continues to be a significant concern for many customers. “Now that people are more aware of how their data is used, vendors are under greater pressure to ensure that their platforms are secure.”

The Technologies Creating the Biggest Opportunities for UC

Unified Communications has the potential to enhance and improve workflow in any workplace, encouraging better engagement and performance from employees. Studies have even shown that UC solutions can save companies up to 191 hours in terms of productivity. As new technology continues to emerge in the communications marketplace, it’s exciting to imagine where the UC industry may go next.

Savio Tovar Dias, Senior Director of Sales Engineering for Avaya International:

Savio believes that artificial intelligence is one of the major technologies set to transform UC in 2019. “The intersection of AI and UC will allow employees to transform the way they manage data each day, eliminating menial tasks so that agents can focus on bigger challenges.”

At GITEX 2018, Avaya hosted a demonstration showing how Ai integration could support the modern workforce. Emirates NBD, a major UAE bank, partnered with Avaya to create an HR chatbot using AI to solve simple queries. This reduced much of the pressure on HR departments and freed staff up to focus on more critical issues.

“This technology is getting to the point where, when properly integrated, every employee could end up with their own personal assistant. Elsewhere, solutions like voice biometrics will begin to play a larger role in customer identification.”

According to Avaya’s research, 71% of respondents believe that biometric technology should replace traditional security measures like passwords.

Tony Rich, Head of Propositions and Vertical Solutions for Unify:

Tony Rich Unify

Tony Rich

According to Tony Rich, Unify also believes that AI and bots will transform the unified communication space in the year to come. “Bots that help to automate business processes is one of the biggest opportunities for the industry, creating value and driving customer experience.”

Unify feels that bots offer huge potential in a range of environments, across all manner of sectors and industries. “Bots enable businesses to simplify their operations and provide customers with more personalised services. Most enterprise companies and software vendors now apply a suite of bots to their solutions.”

Beyond 2018: What’s Next for 2019?

The nature of unified communications has changed significantly in the past year. However, the space doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. As more disruptive trends and technology appear on the market, we’re sure to see even greater opportunities for those willing to embrace unified communications.

Savio Tovar Dias, Senior Director of Sales Engineering for Avaya International:

According to Savio from Avaya, the lines between customer and employee experience are beginning to blur – a trend that will continue in 2019. Companies like Avaya are addressing this change with converged UC solutions that support employee experience as much as customer experience. “Get it right, and these two sides of the equation will supplement each other in a positive feedback loop, creating better engagement for companies, and stronger confidence for customers.”

Avaya’s team also believes that automation will continue to play a significant role in the year to come. “Unified communications is morphing into a more personalised experience for everyone. As options for automation increase, it will become more embedded in our communication workflows.”

Tony Rich, Head of Propositions and Vertical Solutions for Unify:

Tony believes that 2019 will bring with it an accelerated growth in bots and AI. “Smart bots will become increasingly popular as companies begin to recognise their full potential.”

Tony noted that in specific industries, bots are already having a significant impact on the marketplace, showing companies where problems arise, and providing relevant information to help fix issues faster. “Predictive analysis allows us to be more proactive in our responses, and I believe that as an industry, we’ll start to see a shift from more reactive to proactive responses.”

According to Tony, the changing interface of the communication space moves the conversation from “how humans will be replaced by technology” to how people can work alongside technology to improve productivity and efficiency while delivering better experiences for staff and customers alike.

 

Latest comments

1 Comment
AvatarAlyssa Jones 06:02, 12 Dec 2018

Hello Rob,

Thanks for the Information about Unified communication. There is no doubt that UC is going to be the future of business collaboration. For my surprise, i just found the right platform i was looking for quite a long period of time. it can connect multiple teams, hold video meetings, store and share files or simply chat seamlessly as we switch from web to desktop to mobile.

The app i am talking about here is Rainbow – A Unified communication and collaboration tool by Alcatel-Lucent, integrating the cloud and hardware capabilities for enterprise communications which aim to connect people and systems optimally.

To know more about Rainbow: https://openrainbow-ale.com/blog/skype-vs-rainbow-which-is-more-suited-for-your-business/

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