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April 15, 2022
All businesses need to evolve to survive and thrive, and UCaaS providers need to understand where they can add value to an organization.
UCaaS providers face a highly competitive market, which has been shaken up in the past year by M&A and strategic partnerships. The market is also crowded with little room for new entrants.
This is our second annual “CF List” focused on UCaaS providers, and the fifth 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 Future Markets Insights, the global UCaaS market should reach $85.7 billion by 2031. That’s a massive jump from $19.6 billion in 2020.
Raul Castanon is senior research analyst with 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
451 Research’s Raul Castanon
“The emergence of the hybrid work model is accelerating the shift to the cloud as well as influencing the road map for UCaaS,” he said. “This is reflected in a growing demand for secure remote collaboration, with capabilities such as encrypted communications becoming increasingly relevant. Asynchronous collaboration is another capability that gained ground with the pandemic and is becoming increasingly relevant with hybrid work. Finally, another key trend is the integration of productivity tools with collaboration and communications, where Google Cloud and Microsoft have the upper hand with their respective productivity suites.”
Tim Banting is Omdia’s Digital Workplace Practice lead. (Omdia is part of Informa, the parent company of Channel Futures.)
Omdia’s Tim Banting
“We [were] going through the great resignation, [and] we are now in the great experimentation stage of, hopefully, post-pandemic working,” he said. “This is where organizations will be experimenting with what hybrid working means for their customers, business operations and employees. We already hear about employees ‘forced’ into their offices to sit on Teams and Zoom calls for hours when they could have been doing that from home. Omdia believes that hybrid working will now be a permanent requirement of most organizations, and the employee experience is now a priority. Omdia data shows that just under half of the workforce will work away from the office for at least three days per week.”
Jon Arnold is principal of J Arnold & Associates. He said providers all have a strong video component to their UCaaS. Moreover, they keep layering on new things driven by video, not telephony.
J Arnold & Associates’ Jon Arnold
“They’re getting into events now, for example,” he said. “You use these platforms now to reach not tens or hundreds of people, but thousands of people. So you’re doing all-hands meetings for a global organization. You’ve got to broadcast your earnings internally or new strategy for everybody. That’s what these platforms are being adopted for now.”
Core use cases are now “kind of saturated” so providers are trying to add new things, Arnold said.
“The biggest driver, I think, that’s going to take it to the next level is all the artificial intelligence (AI) stuff,” he said. “So you get the speech-to-text and text-to-speech, and the real-time translation and transcription. They’re all becoming must-haves now. And then it’s moving along to more intelligent applications where … the voice streams become data streams, which is what happens in these
environments now where all of the content can be tracked and searched, much like in the contact center. So now it becomes a new source of knowledge for the organization to mine.”
Based on feedback from analysts and recent news reports, we’ve compiled a list, in no particular order, of 20 UCaaS providers that are making the most of the competitive landscape and charting success. The list offers a mix of well-known providers as well as lesser-known companies that are making big strides in UCaaS. There also are some shake-ups on the list due to M&A and strategic partnerships since our last list.
Scroll through our slideshow above to see which UCaaS providers made the cut this year; then, compare it to last year’s list.
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