2016 predictions: The future of unified communications

The unified communications (UC) market is experiencing exhilarating growth. With an increasing number of communication methods, such as chat, video, file sharing, collaboration and conferencing, most companies are leveraging their existing on-site platforms, while taking advantage of new capabilities and applications in the cloud.

In 2016, we will see more organisations adopt a hybrid UC consumption model, a mix of on-premises and cloud solutions. This mix provides the greatest flexibility for today and provides a migration path to cloud-based services. We can also expect UCaaS, contact centres and collaboration to be top-of-mind with CIOs as they adopt unified communications solutions in the new year.

UCaaS goes up-market

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) will additionally continue to grow at a much faster rate in organisations and vertical markets than the rest of the UC market. 2016 will also be a year of global and mobile workforces which will drive greater demand for globally available UCaaS solutions. This “as-a-service” model provides organisations greater flexibility to manage their capabilities as they grow.

Contact-Centre-as-a-Service takes off

The growth of CCaaS will allow businesses to turn on and scale a contact centre quickly. Contact centre agents will add functions beyond voice and email, adding capabilities such as chat, workgroups and analytics. In 2016, the demand for omni-channel customer support will continue to put demand on businesses and e-commerce sites, as we see the importance of proficient enterprise-class contact centres in the cloud to improve the customer experience. With highly cost effective contact centre technology available today, small to medium businesses will take advantage of capabilities that were not practically available to them before.

Integrated collaboration goes mainstream

We will see more businesses looking for integrated collaboration tools that enable a natural flow between instant messaging, phone and conference communications, video as well as desktop and file sharing – without the need for opening multiple applications and remembering multiple passwords. New collaboration capabilities that enable virtual work groups to share and store more and more information will continue to proliferate. As these new collaboration tools go mainstream in 2016, some will demonstrate enduring business value, and others will go unexploited. In their continuous search for productivity, we will see organisations moving beyond application integration to more powerful collaboration tools integrated with their communications platform.

Eugenia Corrales, Senior Vice President, Product, ShoreTel

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