Unified communication

UCaaS Needs Shaping, Leadership

The first real discussion about unified communications (UC) happened in 2006, when vendors and service providers started packaging existing features into new service offerings that eventually came to be coined as UC.

In the eight or so years since the first UC product hit the market, the concept of unifying communications services has been twisted, rolled and reshaped like so many balls of Play-Doh. Today, UC isn't so much referred to as UC because there's a sexier version -- unified communications as a service (UCaaS) -- that currently is attracting all the kids on the playground.

The hype of UCaaS is much like the promise of UCaaS: Users get all the communications services they want in either a fully hosted or hybrid cloud format. And there are, without question, vendors and service providers that are delivering versions of UCaaS that address many of those communications needs.

But for UCaaS to have more of an impact than its cousin UC, solutions must embrace next-generation messaging and collaboration capabilities to meet business expectation, improve productivity, and sustain competitive position.

These are some of the issues addressed in this month's Heavy Reading Insider, "Hype or Promise? UCaaS Still Has Questions to Address." This report examines the UCaaS market, analyzing the most lucrative verticals for UCaaS and discussing drivers and challenges in the industry. It includes a comparative analysis of solutions available, examines the geographic landscape of the market and details trends that will likely occur in the industry over the next 18-24 months.

To be certain, there are several factors that are driving the need for UCaaS, including:

  • Aging voice infrastructures around the globe

  • Demand by the workforce to support a more flexible work style

  • Mobility

  • Enhanced and improved functionality and features from the cloud services

  • The ability to unify the employee communication and collaboration tools to increase productivity, access and flexibility

But for each of those needs, there is the lingering reminder that, to a large extent, these were the same needs established when UC first hit the marketplace. And, to be fair, a good number of UC solutions address most -- and some address all. The problem remains, however, that UCaaS promises integration and seamless mobility across all UC services.

That promise has not been fully realized today by any single solution, and it likely won't come to pass any time soon. The way to change that is for service providers and vendors to play nicely with one another. While that's happening, the market is ripe for mergers and acquisitions that will bring continuity to a market that's still struggling to find its king of the hill.

— Denise Culver, Research Analyst, Heavy Reading Insider

"Hype or Promise? UCaaS Still Has Questions To Address," a 19-page report, is available as part of an annual subscription (12 monthly issues) to Heavy Reading Insider, priced at $1,595. This report is available for $900. To subscribe, please visit: www.heavyreading.com/insider.

Carol Wilson 10/15/2013 | 5:16:45 PM
Hosted VoIP still seems to generate heat Among competitive service providers, hosted VoIP, as part of  Unified Communications solution or on its own, still seems to be generating a lot of interest. And certainly there is renewed controversy around how the FCC is going to treat VoIP going forward. It will be interesting to see if that impaces UCaaS. 
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