We’ve hired new talent as we expand into new markets, passed our 1 million users milestone and launched an exciting new product to better support our customers. Now that 2019 has come to an end, the quintessential question becomes, “What’s next for UC?”
In this blog, we look at the top three developments that have the potential to impact the unified communications (UC) sector dramatically in 2020 and beyond. All of these will incentivize not only greater adoption of UC applications, but also greater control over business models for communications service providers (CSPs) and enterprises. Let’s begin!
1.) The IoT and Our Mobile Workforce
If there’s one thing that will define 2020, it’s going to be an even greater move to define work as a space rather than a place. All this will be made possible through increased enterprise adoption of applications and devices made for an Internet of Things (IoT) future. According to Google, 80 percent of the global workforce already spends time working away from a desk each day. As we move into 2020, more employees will begin saying goodbye to desktop products for good. Instead, they will increasingly use mobile and smart devices they can carry with them wherever they go for work. That’s where the IoT comes in.
In many ways, the IoT will provide enterprises and CSPs new ways to leverage UC for enhanced communication and collaboration possibilities. According to ZDNet, the IoT “refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data.” As a result, it is not just humans who can communicate across networks. Now, through wireless connectivity and sensors, virtually any object can become “intelligent” and transmit data in real time. For mobile workers, the IoT opens a whole new world of UC opportunities that will span a business’ entire operations. Some of these IoT-enhanced UC applications will include:
Capturing and processing data on customer behavior
Improving response times to issues regarding vital business equipment
Enabling improved multi-channel contact center operations
Driving greater decision-making efficiencies through automation
It is clear that UC is vital for this interconnectedness and sharing of information to work smoothly. If over 75 billion IoT devices will be active by 2025, per Statista, UC will provide the platform through which IoT-capable devices and the data they generate can be integrated into ongoing, streamlined business communication and collaboration processes. You can expect us to talk a lot more about this in 2020.
2) 5G and Consolidation of Remote Connectivity Endpoints
For our IoT world to really come into its own, however, 5G will be an absolute must. You might say that 4G LTE, the fourth generation of wireless networking, set the era of mobile communication in motion. That’s true, but it is really 5G that will provide the network architecture we need to satisfy our insatiable need to stay connected anywhere, anytime. Does this make you think of our SNAPmobile tagline? We thought so!
So, what is the benefit of 5G to UC features? Put simply, 5G will give networks an unprecedented leap in data speeds, capacity and low latency. In fact, some estimates put the predicted speeds of 5G at up to 10 times higher than that of 4G LTE. From a UC perspective, this is good news. Although 5G is still very much in its infancy, its predicted outcomes can deliver a series of benefits to UC including:
Improved HD video conferencing and streaming
New opportunities to use Virtual and Augmented Reality
Enhanced collaboration for mobile employees
Improved VoIP services across geographically-dispersed locations
Although video conferencing, remote collaboration and VoIP/VoLTE already function using 4G LTE and other legacy network technology, end-users can run into issues with buffering, skipping, call stuttering and other latency-induced problems. Much of this is because of 4G’s inability to prioritize packets – something that will be possible with 5G. As a result, businesses will be able to do things like leverage staff video calls in 4k, introduce virtual tours into video calls with prospects or consult on complex surgical practices in real time with remote medical teams. In other words, as it rolls out, 5G will likely spur greater adoption of UC features and tools – all of which will lead to greater efficiencies in communicating and working together.
Here at netsapiens, we offer our own SNAPmobile services, which will see these benefits when running over a 5G network. As 5G becomes the new normal, this type of product will become more critical in supporting businesses and end-users as they navigate a mobile-first world.
3) Unbundling of the UC Market
While our top two trends dealt with new technologies influencing the adoption and use of UC technology, our third one deals with how vendors will deliver UC services in 2020 and beyond. Whether one is a communications service provider (CSP) or an enterprise end-user, no two businesses are alike. As a result, UC Today recently predicted that “it’s likely that the UC environment will move towards an age where we expect less of a one-size-fits-all approach.” What does this mean, exactly?
At a basic level, increasing adoption of cloud services is driving business requirements for the unbundling of UC services and greater opportunities to customize UC solutions. Enterprises and CSPs are already turning to cloud migrations in order to leverage a variety of benefits including enhanced scalability, faster deployment times, greater affordability and improved disaster recovery capabilities. Deskless workers now rely on a myriad of mobile, cloud-based applications for communication and collaboration, expecting continuous connectivity as they shift between them. To meet demand for cloud-native UC features and pay-for-what-you-use type models, the UC market will have to become increasingly unbundled through 2020.
In fact, this trend is already well underway. According to the IDC, 80% of CSP revenues occur above the infrastructure level. Understandably then, CSPs (and enterprises) seek to move away from the cost and time-intensive choice of owning and managing the physical equipment, operating systems and even middleware vital for UC software to run. Consequently, a growing number of UC vendors are fulfilling this demand for greater flexibility by offering Infrastructure and Platform-as-a-Service (IaaS and PaaS) deployments of their own. Throughout 2020, UC vendors will increasingly compete to make it simpler for CSPs and enterprises to deploy their UC platforms and concentrate on other core business operations.
At netsapiens, we offer our own Managed IaaS services, which are designed to give our customers the simplicity and reduction in capital/operating expenses they need to drive growth. Our SNAPaccel product can help enterprises and CSPs migrate their UC workloads to the cloud, enabling them to focus on how they can leverage the IoT and forthcoming 5G networks to their advantage.
What do You Think?
What do you think of our top three trends for 2020? Are you excited about the future of the IoT, 5G, service unbundling and how these developments can shape your UC possibilities? If so, reach out to us – let us help you get set up for a remarkable 2020 of improved communication, collaboration and growth. Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2020!
-The netsapiens team
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