Big Year Ahead for UCaaS Demand, Competition, Market Share

Transparency Market Research says global UCaaS market is poised for “staggering growth."

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

December 11, 2015

4 Min Read
Big Year Ahead for UCaaS Demand, Competition, Market Share

Edward GatelyFor Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), 2016 will be a game changer in terms of services, demand, competition and market share.

That’s according to Alan Rihm, CEO of CoreDial, Taher Behbehani, chief marketing officer of BroadSoft, and Clark Peterson, president of Vonage’s Business Solutions Group. All will be active in the UCaaS space next year.

The global UCaaS market is poised for “staggering growth,” and will be worth nearly $38 billion by 2022, according to Transparency Market Research. The market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of more than 23 percent between 2014 and 2022 on its 2013 valuation of almost $5.7 billion.

“We are just beginning to see UCaaS adoption move upstream from SMB to midmarket and large enterprises,” Behbehani said. “In fact, a global survey BroadSoft recently conducted of service provider decision makers indicates that the shift from premises-based UC to UCaaS is occurring across all market segments – SMB, midmarket and large enterprise. Seventy percent of respondents believe cloud UC/PBX will capture at least half the SMB sub-100 employee market within five years, and expect 200 percent cloud UC growth for midmarket and in excess of 300 percent cloud UC growth for the large enterprise segment.”

UCaaS is accepted in the U.S. market, but it is also growing globally, Rihm said. Demand and deployments will be accelerating in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, he said.

“There are more players in the market offering UCaaS,” he said. “In 2016, competition amongst these players will increase and that will be good for innovation and growth of the overall market.”

As UCaaS continues to evolve, and additional features and services are becoming part of it, UCaaS is no longer “just about delivering these services to the customer, but about the services themselves becoming integrated to create new solutions,” Peterson said.

“We will continue to see the integration of UCaaS services drive an emerging important element of collaboration, such as cloud voice integration with CRM tools and business productivity solutions,” he said. “As today’s workforce becomes more mobile, it’s becoming increasingly important for employees to be able to work at any time, on any device.”

Next year, the efficiency, user experience and reliability of a UCaaS platform will become a true differentiator, and the simplest and most powerful platforms will win out, Rihm said.

“Small and medium-size enterprises have had a few years to become …

… acquainted with UCaaS and are now more sophisticated in buying cloud communications solutions,” he said. “Providers must be sure they have the right platform to serve growing SME demand.”

Service providers will face risks and opportunities in 2016 when it comes to over-the-top (OTT) applications, Behbehani said.

“Eighty-three percent of BroadSoft survey respondents believe emerging team messaging and collaboration applications such as Slack, Glip and HipChat will significantly disrupt email usage,” he said. “This all comes down to a rapidly evolving workforce; by 2020, Millennials will make up more than half the workforce, and with that comes new ways that workers will look to communicate and collaborate. Service providers must recognize this shift that will be sure to accelerate in 2016, and deliver cloud UC solutions that meet business user expectations.”

As more midsize and large businesses begin to move their communications to the cloud, the market leaders will be determined by who can provide the full portfolio of UCaaS offerings, and control the quality of the delivery, seamless onboarding of new customers, and portals and service experts to support high-end businesses, Peterson said.

“The future will be interesting as more companies shift their businesses to the cloud and previously less reliable public internet and wireless options become more reliable in delivering options for cloud services,” he said. “Large traditional phone companies will begin to make the changes to their network, their back-office systems and their support teams in order to get into the cloud business.”

BroadSoft believes service providers will seriously challenge Microsoft’s Skype for Business by offering an open, mobile and cloud-based UC and collaboration alternative with next-generation, real-time messaging, Behbehani said.

“Look for UCaaS offerings to start building on contextual intelligence and persistence that presents and integrates situation-dependent information, such as the user’s conversations, social profiles, projects, files and availability,” he said.

The channel understands the value of UCaaS and a lot of partners have already seen their profitability grow, Rihm said. That will not slow in 2016.

“The opportunity is even more real and already delivering dividends,” he said.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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