The benefits of unified communications are well known, and lots of these are going to get even better throughout 2023.
It’s tough for businesses, who must rapidly embrace these new developments, so we’ve explored some of the biggest trends we expect to shape the next 12-months.
What is a unified communications platform?
A unified communications platform is a centralised portal for voice, video, instant messaging, file sharing and more.
Key beneficiaries are firms who have embraced the hybrid working culture now so prevalent across the country.
With systems including more channels than ever before, all made accessible from anywhere, team members can operate efficiently no matter where they’re based.
What does 2023 have in store for unified communications?
2023 is set to be a bumper year for unified communications, so below are just some of the biggest trends you’ll see telecoms software companies delivering to customers.
AI is the future – accept it, or fall behind
AI technology is not a fad.
This will shape how the world operates, now and well into the future.
It’s even led to advancements in unified communications already, helping businesses process language, contextualise data, and even offer granular insights to enhance customer experience.
Leading the charge are chatbots, and if we’re to believe the latest research, over 800 million users in over 190 countries will be using them in 2023, helping with basic queries, bookings and much more.
Does this mean we can wave goodbye to trivial tasks?
Yes, eventually, it probably does, and because of this, customer service representatives will be freed up to focus on ‘big picture stuff’ and more complex tasks.
Cloud communications is almost the norm
Equinix found that 47% of IT decision-makers decided to hasten digital transformation plans because of Covid-19, with over 60% of their survey respondents claiming this forced them to revise their entire strategy.
Google’s 2022 survey amplified this further, noting how businesses “accelerated their digital transformation projects by up to 3-4 years” during the pandemic.
Leading the charge is cloud adoption, which enables people to access storage, software and services from anywhere, using mobile or desktop apps, which means cumbersome onsite PBX solutions are being phased out.
The number of businesses using cloud software in 2020 was 81%, and this has now risen to 93% during 2022, a shift closely intertwined with a much greater desire to work either fully remotely or through hybrid arrangements. (Google CLOUD)
Integrations will go further
Cloud-based unified communications platforms can integrate with an ever-growing list of third-party, business critical SaaS tools.
These include customer relationship management products (CRMs), cloud office ecosystems, and popular business messaging platforms like Microsoft Teams.
In fact, research states the average business uses 110 SaaS products, and with a recent IDC survey finding that 54% of businesses have either maintained or increased their pre-pandemic expenditure on SaaS, it’s clear these integrations are more vital than ever before. (Statista)
Further to this, eCommerce platforms, shipping software, sales, marketing tools, and accountancy solutions may require some form of UCaaS integration.
Vendors aren’t likely to create extensive integrations for all these, so the industry has focussed on providing detailed open-API and webhook frameworks, that allow businesses to build their own with minimal knowledge or expenditure.
More focus on mobile applications
These are the ultimate tools for remote workers, so it’s only natural how mobile phone integration for UCaaS environments will become even more important throughout 2023.
Team members need mobiles to be an extension of their workplace platforms, as this permits services to be carried out anywhere, whilst keeping things streamlined.
With unified communications platforms firmly in the palm of their hands, team members can respond to customers quicker, improve engagement levels and become more proactive, as important data is readily accessible, all the time.
For this reason alone, we believe UC vendors offering free access to proprietary mobile applications will thrive.
IP traffic delivered over mobile is also the highest it’s ever been – a trend we expect to grow during 2023.
Given the increasing demand to work remotely, internet connectivity needs to follow suit, and 5G is set to meet these demands for mobile phone users.
5G will become essential when supporting the usage of mobile application for UC, with loading times up to 20x faster than 4G LTE.
VoIP will lead the way after the PSTN switch-off
Time to let go of PSTN and ISDN telephony solutions, with the complete cessation of the PSTN network still on track for 2025.
If you’re part of the 70% still clinging to old fashioned tech, its best to admit defeat and acknowledge that your window to upgrade is now only 24-months away, at which point you won’t have any choice in the matter.
It’s an ultimatum which isn’t even necessary, given the advantages you get from modern VoIP platforms, which includes lower costs, far more features, and all-round better quality in pretty much every department.
The fact is, unified communication systems using VoIP are perfect for businesses, offering up a suite of modern channels, such as instant messaging and video conference meetings.