9 trends in the development of unified communications in 2021

Many business analysts are confident that even after the return of society and business to a relatively normal life after the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of the unified communications market cannot be stopped. Of course, difficulties cannot be avoided, but it is already obvious that in 2020 both company owners and ordinary employees have found many advantages in remote work.

Global implementation of UCaaS

One of the main trends in UC is the growing popularity of UCaaS. Large companies are investing in unified communications as a complete business communications system. This is due to the fact that UCaaS combines the main channels and communication platforms (voice, video, chat, email, etc.) in the cloud. According to experts, the UCaaS market will be estimated at about $ 79 billion by 2024.

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The growing impact of artificial intelligence technologies

Companies work with large amounts of data every day, which makes it impossible to manually enter each record into the system. Therefore, in many industries, for example, in telecommunications, artificial intelligence takes a significant place in the main business processes.

Unified communications are expanding the scope of AI (virtual chatbots, virtual assistants, IVR, integrated services, etc.). The introduction of AI allows you to increase the productivity and efficiency of collaboration, and also serves to obtain a quick and specific communication result (for example, analytical data).


This is, in particular, a technology for intelligent analysis of text or oral messages (for example, podcasts or YouTube videos) to identify trends in user sentiment. This allows companies to determine how customers feel about their brand, product or service and use this information to tailor business processes.

In addition, survey results show that customers prefer to use self-service tools wherever possible. Automated guides or FAQs allow customers to quickly solve simple tasks without the need for human interaction.


More cloud solutions

Today, an increasing number of companies are using cloud solutions for storing, processing and transferring various data. According to a 2019 study by Nemertes, about 67% of companies use the cloud as part of their UC system (a third of this number use cloud solutions to create a fully functional business communications system). This forces service providers to seek partnership and integration opportunities, creating end-to-end cloud solutions.

As for the Russian market, despite the limitations of regulators and the difficulties that any company that embarks on digitalization inevitably faces, the spread of cloud solutions will increase in the medium term. The largest market players expect that by the end of 2021, sales of cloud solutions in Russia will grow by 25%.

Obviously, most of the companies that decide to move communications to the “cloud” will continue to use this option. The parameters of cloud solutions will also change, since they will have to correspond to the complexity and importance of new tasks.

Switching from analog devices to SIP

The presence of a large number of SIP devices in the equipment fleet gives the business the ability to scale and reduce communication costs. SIP-enabled surveillance cameras and intercoms can be easily integrated into a single enterprise infrastructure, and the use of remote control systems can reduce device maintenance costs.

API and private development

To solve compatibility problems that arise when using solutions from different manufacturers within the same system, companies initiate their own software modifications. Communication vendors try to actively participate in this process, simplifying access to the code or integrating custom developments into the functionality of the system.

Growth in the number of industries using unified communications

The global spread of unified communications tools allows these technologies to be introduced even in such conservative industries as medicine, law and education.

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At the same time, the possibilities of remote health care are not limited to identifying symptoms of COVID-19: telemedicine solutions are used to treat cancer patients, and also expand the possibilities of internal communication in the hospital, reducing the response time in emergency situations.

Telemedicine services such as the joint project Health Mail.ru and ONDOC, SberZdorovye, a solution for remote health monitoring from Megafon have appeared on the Russian market.

According to RAEC experts, this is due not only to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to the forthcoming changes in legislation that stimulate the development of this market.


In particular, it is planned to determine the mode of using impersonal health data sets in order to create algorithms and machine learning methods for medical decision support systems. An experimental legal regime has been in effect in Moscow since July 1, 2020, which facilitates the use of impersonal health data for companies participating in the experiment. In the near future, a government decree is expected to be issued on conducting an experiment to ensure remote interaction of medical workers with patients.
A source: RAEC, “Trends in 2020: Have the Forecasts Come True?”


The development of digital technologies is among the goals of several Russian federal projects (Digital Educational Environment, Modern School). At the same time, the main tasks are to form the necessary competencies among teachers, modernize the technical equipment of schools and further reduce the “digital divide” in the regions.

Increasing number of scenarios for sharing different devices

In the next few years, we can predict a significant increase in scenarios for the interaction of various devices. This is due to the introduction of new telecommunication standards such as 5G and Wi-Fi 6, as well as the development of the IoT. To ensure cross-industry compatibility, new technical, software and hardware solutions will be required.

Choice of alternative channels and communication tools

The share of e-mail among communication channels is rapidly decreasing. Although this tool is still relevant for sending attachments and long texts, instant messaging has proven to be an easier-to-use way to solve quick questions, including in a group of employees. Screen and file sharing is becoming the new norm.

The proliferation of BYOD and mobile workplaces is forcing IT professionals to be prepared for employees to work anywhere and from any device, while ensuring maximum productivity and security is becoming a top priority.

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The share of wired equipment is decreasing. Laptops and tablets are replacing bulky desktops, and traditional wired phones are giving way to wireless systems as users seek freedom of movement even in a typical office environment.

Gamification

Gamification is the inclusion of game design elements such as scores, achievements, and so on in the non-gaming business context. Surprisingly, the popularity of these services is growing quite rapidly, and more and more companies are using gamification in video conferencing to increase employee engagement and productivity.

Conclusion

According to a study by RAEC, NRU HSE and Microsoft (“New Accents of Digital Transformation: How Spring 2020 Affected Russian Business”), 54% of Russian enterprises and companies that took part in the survey switched to remote operation in whole or in part (until spring 2020 years – less than 1%). 17% of the representatives of Russian companies interviewed in the course of the survey believe that some of their personnel will remain on the “remote site”. At the same time, a complete transition to telecommuting will remain an exception so far: only 2% of the study participants consider such a perspective realistic.

Nevertheless, thanks to “remote control”, many employers were able to assess the real productivity of staff and revise a number of regulations and procedures that affect the implementation of business processes. As for employees, a more comfortable, “home” work environment allowed them to be creative in solving various problems.

Thus, in 2021, unified communications will contribute not only to improving the productivity and quality of interaction between the parties to business processes, but also to expanding user experience and collaboration scenarios.

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