UCaaS 101 (Unified Communications as a Service)
Your complete guide to UCaaS
Unified Communications as a Service or “UCaaS” is a form of communications service delivered over the cloud. With UCaaS, all of your communication solutions are hosted and managed elsewhere, so you can focus on maintaining consistent conversations, without the costly and time-consuming maintenance.
UCaaS platforms can include everything from enterprise messaging services, to conferencing solutions, call recording, IVR, call management, and much more. Many modern UCaaS solutions are also beginning to explore the possibility of adding collaboration features to their unified communication services.
Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about UC as a Service.
What is UCaaS, How Does it Work?
UCaaS, or Unified Communications as a Service is a simple and effective solution that helps companies to access a range of useful hosted programmes like instant messaging, video conferencing, file sharing and more over the internet, without having to host the technology on-site.
As more companies make a move into cloud communication environments, UCaaS offers an avenue for accessing the latest communication features, through a cost-effective pay-as-you-go solution. Already, UCaaS is expected to see a CAGR of 23.4% up to the year 2022.
UCaaS is a highly lucrative communication technology, capable of reducing the labour and costs of a standard communication stack. Services are charged for on an annual or monthly basis according to how much you use. This means that you’re not paying extra for unnecessary features that your team doesn’t want or need.
UCaaS aligns employees by giving them access to the same communication platforms over the cloud. There are currently two UCaaS architectures available for businesses to choose from, including:
- Single-tenancy UCaaS: Single-Tenancy UCaaS involves the business receiving a custom-made software platform capable of integrating with existing on-prem applications. Single tenancy deployments are private, dependable, and are often available to manage remotely
- Multi-tenancy UCaaS: In Multi-tenancy UCaaS, multiple companies or users share the same software platform. It’s like hosting your website on a shared hosting environment, where resources are divided between various locations
What Are the Benefits of UCaaS?
The demand for UCaaS has begun to rise as more companies embrace the flexibility of a cloud-based communication environment. Currently, new users are entering the UCaaS market at a growth rate of 23% per year.
UCaaS is useful because it leverages the versatility and agility of the cloud. This means that companies can easily scale and transform their communication strategies according to their needs. What’s more, UCaaS embraces the “OpEx” go-to-market model, which reduces costs to a predictable monthly expense. Some of the benefits of UCaaS include:
- Simple Deployment and Disaster Recovery: UCaaS solutions are delivered over the cloud. This means that large enterprises can give everyone in their team access to the same platforms at once, rather than having to spend months sending engineers to different offices around the world. If something goes wrong, patches and backups can also be rolled out worldwide within very little time
- Scalability: UCaaS is ideal for companies that want to grow or downsize rapidly at any time. You can add or remove features to your cloud package whenever you see fit. This is particularly helpful for businesses with seasonal trends in business performance. If you need more people to use your UCaaS system one month, you can add more users for that period
- Minimal maintenance: UCaaS solutions are hosted and managed from outside of your business. With a third party looking after your communication stack, your IT team will be free to focus on other things, like helping your company to grow and responding to problems within the IT stack
- Enhanced mobility: UCaaS is particularly useful for today’s remote workforce. Because the services you need for your communication stack are delivered over the cloud, your team will be able to access them wherever they are, allowing for global employees and staff members on-the-go
Top UCaaS Vendors
As the marketplace for Unified Communication continues to grow, the demand for UC as a Service has evolved with it. Today, many fantastic vendors are leading the way in cloud-based unified communications. Some of the world’s most notable vendors today are (alphabetical order):
- ALE (Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise)
- Ribbon Communications
Trends in UCaaS
As new disruptive technologies and trends enter the communication space, Unified Communication as a Service vendors are exploring new ways to set their products apart. We’ve seen companies experimenting with everything from UCaaS combined with collaboration services, to UCaaS platforms infused with machine learning technology. Some recent trends in UCaaS include:
- The demand for interoperability: Today’s companies want a UCaaS service that works with their existing hardware and software solutions. No-one wants o have to rip and replace their entire communication system just for an upgrade. Today, and going forward, interoperability will be a crucial component of UCaaS
- Better mobility: As the trend of remote working grows more popular, and employees complete more tasks from their smartphones, UCaaS solutions will need to work effectively on any device. Fortunately, the impending rise of things like 5G could help UCaaS providers to ensure a better quality of service for employees on the go
- Integration of collaboration tools: Many unified communication as a service platform already feature collaboration tools like file sharing services and presence. This demand for collaboration and communication will continue increase going forward
- Increased infusion of customisable apps: Today’s companies are increasingly embracing SDKs and APIs as they search for the perfect communication solutions for their employees. UCaaS solutions with an open platform that allows for custom applications will be more popular in the years ahead
- The rise of the digital assistant: In 2017, we began to welcome artificial intelligence into our homes and businesses. Now, we’re looking for more ways to put this intelligence to good use. Solutions like virtual assistants with voice-powered capabilities will improve the performance of the UCaaS-empowered workforce
- Big Data and compliance: Companies will want to make sure that they’re gathering as much useful data from their UCaaS solutions as possible, without falling afoul of compliance and regulatory standards like GDPR. UCaaS vendors will need to offer secure solutions for data collection and management