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UC Roundup: Expect Strong Demand for UCaaS in 2021UC Roundup: Expect Strong Demand for UCaaS in 2021

Analysts say demand for UCaaS solutions will remain solid into next year and after the pandemic subsides.

Edward Gately

November 20, 2020

9 Min Read
UC Roundup
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Demand for UCaaS solutions will remain solid into next year and after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

As previously reported, demand for UCaaS solutions exploded early on in the pandemic due to the massive transition to work from home. The initial surge leveled off early this summer, but remains brisk heading into 2021.

Moreover, analysts say UCaaS solutions are here to stay as organizations make them a permanent part of doing business.

451 Research's Raul Castanon-Martinez

451 Research’s Raul Castanon

Raul Castanon is senior research analyst with 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. He said the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to influence adoption of UCaaS solutions.

“Our most recent Q3 Voice of the Enterprise: Workforce Productivity and Collaboration survey (November 2020) shows that 17% of respondents are currently in the process of replacing on-premises PBX with cloud-based telephony,” he said.

Jon Arnold

Arnold & Associates’ Jon Arnold

Jon Arnold is principal of J Arnold & Associates. He said the pandemic has been an accelerant for UCaaS solutions and cloud.

“It’s caused businesses to move to the cloud faster than they otherwise would,” he said. “I think that’s the main thrust of this. And that’s an ongoing thing because when they go to the cloud for these things, they don’t necessarily go one shot. It’s a gradual migration. They may do other applications now and kind of take their time getting to the cloud. So there’s still kind of that migration happening. So it’s still a strong storyline and continues to be on an upward uptrend.”

And if people start returning to the office, it’s not like UCaaS solutions will no longer be necessary, Arnold said.

“That’s a good thing for the U.S. vendors,” he said. “If they continue working from home, then these will probably become the standard platforms that they’ll do their workflows around, whether it’s Cisco WebEx, Microsoft Teams, Slack or whatever. And when they do or if they go back to an office environment, those same tools will be there for them. That’s actually a draw in a way that says you’ve become accustomed to getting your work done in a new way now at home. So if and when you’re ready to come back to the office, you won’t miss a beat.”

S&P Global research shows that, nearly nine months into the shutdown, organizations are adjusting their operations for altered conditions in the long term, Castanon said.

“As they move beyond their initial response, organizations are looking to extend or make permanent some of the changes they implemented in the early days of the outbreak,” he said. “For example, survey data shows that most organizations plan to adopt (51%) or extend (45%) existing remote-work policies and adopt (41%) or extend (39%) existing travel restrictions. Our expectation is that demand for collaboration technologies such as video conferencing will level off from the surge in demand during the early days of the pandemic, but will continue to thrive. Survey data shows that one out of two organizations will continue to invest in video conferencing (51%) over the next six months.”

Earlier this week, news of progress on COVID-19 vaccines caused Zoom’s stock price to plummet, along with other stocks that benefitted from stay-at-home trends. Arnold said this wasn’t surprising, but doesn’t indicate any long-term trend.

“Just like the way stocks tanked early on with COVID-19, most of those gains have come back,” he said. “Most of those losses have recovered and Zoom will be no different. But … one of my outlooks for 2021 is there will be a bit of a pushback against being on video calls all day long, because … that term Zoom fatigue, it is a real thing. I think there will be a bit more of a …

… balancing of the intensity of using video. It was cool when we started like that, but the novelty kind of wears off after a while.”

The shift to remote work doesn’t mean the meeting room is gone, Castanon said. On the contrary, it will require that organizations rethink their technology to effectively support the hybrid workplace. That includes in-person and remote participants.

“I also think that mobility will be very relevant,” he said. “While some UcaaS vendors are good at mobile-first, for many it has been more of an afterthought. The post-pandemic workplace will require UCaaS solutions that are optimized for mobile devices.”

Security will be another factor in the spotlight in 2021, Castanon said. Organizations will evaluate the capacity that their collaboration technologies have to support privacy, security and compliance requirements.

“We will see more vendors looking to support end-to-end encrypted communications, for example,” he said.

Arnold also expects more use of AI applications to better manage productivity remotely. Many tasks can be managed by AI, improving collaboration.

In addition, the ability to federate across platforms like Teams and Webex is becoming increasingly important, Arnold said.

“It’s especially needed on the messaging front,” he said. “If we’re on different platforms, we can’t message each other, for example. I know Slack has gone down this road and others have as well. I think you’re going to see more need to federate these platforms so it’s easier to share information. A lot of the vendors want you to do everything on their platform. Well, it doesn’t work that way.”

Net2phone Ramps Up International Expansion

Net2phone has launched its cloud communications solution nationwide in Peru and is expanding to six new cities in Brazil.

The company now provides its cloud communication service in four countries in South America: Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. It launched its hosted PBX service in Brazil in 2016.

Service in six additional Brazilian cities – Recife, Fortaleza, Manaus, Brasília, Salvador and Florianópolis – will be fully operational by year’s end.

Businesses, enterprises and other organizations can sign up for Net2phone’s cloud communications service in Peru and Brazil through channel partners and distributors in both countries.

Net2Phone's Jonah Fink

Net2Phone’s Jonah Fink

Jonah Fink is Net2phone‘s president.

“Net2phone is in a continuous state of growth and international expansion is a large part of our growth strategy,” he said. “With ‘feet on the street’ and a local offer already in several South American countries, increasing our coverage in Brazil and expanding to Peru will accelerate our growth in South America.”

Net2phone partners who offer services, or plan to offer services, in these countries can grow with the company, Fink said.

“The stability of the Net2phone platform and the quality of our solution, along with it’s enhanced features and capabilities are a breath of fresh air to these markets who need an advanced UC system for their businesses to succeed in today’s environment,” he said.

Many UCaaS providers in the United States don’t have international operations or a true presence in countries abroad, Fink said.

“Net2phone is the leading global provider for international voice, and offers solutions and services in over 170 countries,” he said. “Currently, no other provider can match net2phone’s global footprint.”

Ooma Adds Video Meetings to Ooma Office Pro

Ooma this week unveiled Ooma Meetings, a video conferencing and collaboration platform that is …

… part of its Ooma Office Pro business phone service.

Users can manage and join video meetings through the existing Ooma Office desktop app. It turns any computer into a desk phone, also known as softphone. Ooma Meetings should also be available soon through a mobile client for iOS and Android smart phones and tablets.

With Ooma Meetings, multiple users can share their screens simultaneously. Participants can click on the shared screen of their choice to view it in the main window.

For many users, Ooma Meetings requires no software installation. On desktop and laptop computers, video meetings can run directly inside Chrome, Safari or Edge browsers.

In addition, users who aren’t near a computer have the option to dial into meetings by phone.

Ooma's David Beagle

Ooma’s David Beagle

Dave Beagle is senior director of business channel sales at Ooma.

“Ooma Office Pro is now a complete communications platform for SMBs, with all the phone and collaboration features they need,” he said. “Partners can provide their clients with features that include virtual assistant, ring groups, call recording, soft phones, video meetings and more.”

SMBs seeking video conferencing typically had to get an additional monthly subscription such as Zoom, Beagle said. Or they had to switch to a VoIP service that is designed for larger businesses.

“Ooma Office Pro fills this gap by offering video conferencing at an affordable price within a platform that’s easy to configure and manage,” he said.

Broadvoice Bubble Debuts

Broadvoice this week launched Broadvoice Bubble, a new text messaging and marketing platform. It allows businesses to connect with their customers with text messages delivered automatically to their smartphones.

Broadvoice Bubble gives businesses a faster way to engage and interact with their customers on their mobile devices. The platform is ideal for alerts and notifications, appointment reminders, customer support, delivery tracking, market campaigns and more.

Broadvoice's Erik Drumm

Broadvoice’s Erik Drumm

Erik Drumm is product marketing manager for Broadvoice.

“Fifty percent of consumers would prefer to text the businesses they work with,” he said. “And 94% of businesses currently using text messaging in their organization would recommend it to colleagues. This means huge opportunity for partners that currently sell Broadvoice UCaaS or SIP trunking services to now sell Bubble to fit that customer need.”

For partners with customers that already use Broadvoice for voice communications, Bubble is an easy upsell opportunity, Drumm said. Partners can also sell Bubble to customers contracted with another provider.

Text messages have, on average, a 98% open rate, a 95% read rate, a 75% engagement rate and a 45% response rate, Broadvoice said. This is a big improvement over phone or email for communications or marketing.

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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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