CF20: 2024's Top UCaaS Providers You Should Know

No provider can touch Microsoft's dominance in UCaaS, analysts tell Channel Futures for our latest CF20 list. Avaya, RingCentral and 8x8 also made the list. See who else did.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

April 17, 2024

20 Slides

The best UCaaS providers are seeing strong demand due to the shift to cloud-based communications and a trend toward integrated productivity and collaboration suites.

UCaaS remains a highly competitive market with little room for newcomers. And the best UCaaS providers are continuously adding new capabilities to keep up with competitors.

This is our fourth annual “CF20” focused on UCaaS providers, and the seventh if you count our previous CP lists. Analysts share their views on what it takes to succeed with the technology. It includes an updated list and fresh views on changes in the competitive landscape.

According to Spherical Insights, the global UCaaS market was worth almost $53 billion in 2022 and should reach nearly $312 billion by 2032. That’s a compound annual growth rate of more than 19%.

Raul Castanon, unified communications and collaboration (UCC) analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said while the concept of “unified” communications has been around for many years, we’re now seeing a new phase that’s characterized by a tight integration between applications and AI-enabled enhancements. Examples of this include Excel Live and Google Meet API, which bring together productivity applications with real-time communications and collaboration.

Related:CF20: 2023's Top UCaaS Providers You Should Know

Best UCaaS Providers Expanding Into Adjacent Areas

The UCaaS market has gone through a consolidation phase, Castanon said.

S&P Global Market Intelligence's Raul Castanon

“There have been several M&A transactions that have had a significant impact in the market,” he said. “However, these are not a continuation of the consolidation stage from previous years. Rather, we are now seeing UCaaS vendors expanding into adjacent areas to provide a more comprehensive portfolio. Examples of these include Ooma’s acquisition of CPaaS vendor 2600Hz, RingCentral’s acquisition of events platform Hopin, and Zoom’s acquisition of employee experience platform Workvivo. These are also examples of how the UCaaS market is evolving, giving way to a new definition of ‘unified’ communications.”

Brent Kelly, principal analyst of digital workplace at Omdia, which shares a parent company with Channel Futures (Informa), said the major change for the best UCaaS providers has been the addition of AI capabilities added to the UCaaS solutions.

Omdia's Brent Kelly

“Now meetings, and in some cases phone calls, can be immediately summarized using AI, action items extracted, transcripts created, translation of text into different languages, etc.,” he said. “Some of these UCaaS solutions also provide AI-assisted text creation for when one is typing in a chat space or a shared team space.”

Related:CF20: 2024's 20 Top CPaaS Providers You Should Know

M&A Has ‘Major’ Impact On UCaaS Market

M&A has definitely had a major impact on the market, Kelly said. In recent years, much of the M&A has gone into rounding out platform portfolios with functionality that was not there. These were generally small acquisitions. However, there have been major acquisitions over the years that have disrupted the market. Examples would be Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype some years ago or Cisco’s acquisition of BroadSoft.

“In addition to M&A, there are also many partnerships in play,” he said. “For example, RingCentral has partnerships with several major mobile carriers including AT&T and Vodafone who resell RingCentral. It also has partnerships with incumbent PBX companies (Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya and Mitel) to resell RingCentral to the SMB base in these companies that want a cloud solution. In the service provider space, there aren't UCaaS providers that sell white-label solutions to service providers that can be custom-branded. In these instances, the service provider is able to maintain the customer relation, maintain their own branding and charge what their specific markets will bear. Examples of UCaaS vendors who sell their solutions wholesale to others include Alianza, Enreach and Intermedia.”

Related:CF20: UCaaS, CCaaS Providers Making the Most of AI

Microsoft 'Unbeatable'

Jon Arnold, principal of J Arnold & Associates, said for a lot of the best UCaaS providers, it's not so much about growth as it is protecting their base because “Microsoft is going to steal everybody's business if we don't pay attention to it.”

“It's more about protecting your base, so for a lot of these vendors, [growth] is almost like a bonus,” he said. “If I protect my business customers, I'm OK. You have to concede that's probably as good as you can expect in this marketplace.”

Nobody’s going to beat Microsoft when it comes to UCaaS, but there are ways to gain market share, Arnold said.

“The UC platforms are all getting more AI-based, and if they can emerge with a stronger AI story that’s as good as or better than what Microsoft is doing, that could swing some momentum in their favor for sure,” he said. “Another one is this idea of marrying UC and contact center. If that combined platform can get more momentum, Microsoft doesn't have that. So you're looking for vulnerabilities. If the game plan is how do we beat Microsoft, that’s one way to do it.”

Based on feedback from analysts and recent news reports, we’ve compiled a list, in no particular order, of 20 best UCaaS providers that are making the most of the competitive landscape and charting success. The list in the slideshow above offers a mix of well-known providers as well as lesser-known companies that are making big strides in UCaaS.

Go here for access to our downloadable feature on this year's top UCaaS providers.

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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