As Unified Communications (UC) evolves to become more flexible and capable of adapting to suit the needs of users, its market will continue to see an uptick in demand and emerging trends. A recent report predicts that it will grow to nearly $70 billion in the next six years. So what more does the future have in store for this software platform that makes collaboration and communication easy and accessible? Below are some expert predictions.
Rapid Adoption of remote and hybrid working in the past two years
Several businesses have embraced the remote or hybrid culture of working in the past two years. Today
- 97% of workers prefer remote working to some extent.
- Remote workers have been found to be 40% more productive compared to full-time workers.
What are the implications for the future of organizations?
This is a positive shift, which, if embraced correctly, can lead to longer customer and employee retention, substantial cost savings, and higher ROI. Now that businesses have already started seeing value in these new ways of working, in 2022, hybrid and remote working as mainstream business models is here to stay.
The future of unified communications will hugely depend on the above trends. That said; let’s take a look at the predictions.
Focus on collaboration and inclusivity
Before the covid-19 pandemic, UC was a “nice to have” investment to keep distributed teams connected. But post-pandemic, it emerged as the key pillar for business success. The software platform witnessed 86% growth after the pandemic as it enabled and aligned in-office and remote employees.
Before the pandemic, it was a general misconception that remote workers couldn’t be productive. But with the evolution of new collaboration and UC platforms, this was proved wrong. Thanks to unified communication technology, the frontline, and remote workers are more connected than ever.
In 2022, we’ll see more evolved unified communication platforms that will link everyone in the workplace – irrespective of their roles. The UC solutions providers must also ensure that their platforms are ready for this new era of inclusivity.
Videos to make business communications more effective
As workplaces get more comfortable with the hybrid working culture, video and messaging will take over as the preferred forms of communication. More companies will be using videos to bring more depth and context to communications. Voice calls only do part of connecting teams, but videos make the communications even more effective.
With several new video features, such as – the ability to add employees in the same virtual space with video, video voicemails in the zoom app, the ability to add captions to video, it is a trend that is here to stay.
Migration to Cloud
Experts predict that there will be a continual and consistent migration from contact centers and premises to the cloud. But this migration will not just be limited to moving phone systems. The following migrations are also expected:
- Migration from Microsoft Exchange into 365.
- Migration to SD-WAN from Wide Area Networks.
- Local routing capabilities and securities will move to the cloud.
- No more on-site technology maintenance
We will see more companies seeking UCaaS as a cloud-based solution to their collaboration and communications needs with these trends. It will bring the following benefits to such organizations.
- Better disaster avoidance and recovery
- More advanced network security
- More streamlined operations
Enabling better employee experiences with Unified Communications
A good thing that has emerged out of the pandemic is that organizations are now more focused on the needs of diverse workforces. Several employers have increased work/life opportunities and implemented safety, well-being, and inclusion features. Therefore, UC vendors need to see how their solutions can empower better employee experiences. Many UC innovators are already considering this critical factor and implementing features for employee well-being, including – Office Social network, which connects and empowers workers.
Microsoft Viva, which is powered by Microsoft 365, brings together communications, learning, knowledge, insights, and resources in the flow of work. It fosters a culture that empowers the workforce to have the best experience from anywhere. It integrates learning into the workflow, offers personalized recommendations and insights to workers, enables managers to drive a healthy work culture, and improves well-being and engagement.
In 2022 and beyond, the UC vendors should evolve their solutions to encourage employee well-being and engagement by providing novel experiences through their platforms.
Best practices for reducing employee fatigue
While digitalization is occurring at a rapid pace, many teams are still struggling to transition into the age of digital work. Constant virtual team interactions are contributing to employee fatigue and other issues. Therefore, UC vendors need to find ways to introduce features such as – “focus time” and meeting breaks into their apps to handle this. Business leaders and employers should also introduce new policies and best practices to reduce employee fatigue. A good way would be to introduce “focus” and “meeting ready” time slots.
Increased focus on customizations
Another essential focus of the UC vendors in 2022 will be personalizing UC hardware and tools. This will enable employees to use the technology comfortably and enjoy a better employee experience. The demands of the hybrid workplace are different, and simple webcams and headsets are not enough to support this new way of working. Therefore, UC solution providers will need to develop platforms to provide users with ready-to-go integrations for all the critical applications they use in their workplace every day.
In the coming years, the fast-paced business environment will never look the same for better or worse. Therefore, the UC vendors must evolve their solutions keeping the trends in mind to enable businesses to survive and excel in this age of working.