Reliable communication is paramount for any business enterprise to excel at their respective field of service. Enterprise communication services between a business and its customers, which include messaging, presence information, voice telephony, audio and video conferencing, and emailing, are crucial. With the increase in enterprises across the world, the need for easy-to-maintain network systems that enable effective communication has become evident. On the back of digitalization, to make things simpler, unified communication (UC) solutions have begun to rise as they combine all the aforementioned communication services into a single cloud-based platform. There is increasing popularity for cloud-based unified communication in modern enterprises, owing to benefits such as low cost, improved collaboration, flexibility, streamlined user experience and time savings, to name a few. The growth in global cloud unified communication can be easily fathomed from statistics provided by CISCO, which stated that annual global cloud data center traffic will reach 19.5 ZB by the end of 2021 up from 6.0 ZB per year in 2016. But, the complexity of on-premise deployment and management of unified communication has instigated enterprises to adopt advanced communication technologies in order to cut down on the cost of acquiring hardware setups and IT support team for unified communications. On the heels of this aspect, the unified communication as a service (UCaaS) has come to prominence. Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is a service model where providers deliver various communications services or software applications, generally based on cloud. UCaaS is well known for providing flexibility, scalability, higher employee mobility, enhanced team collaboration, improved CRM and stronger overall productivity for core business tasks. These are the prime factors creating major impetus for UCaaS market growth.
The emergence of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and enterprise mobility trends across business enterprises is creating an unprecedented endorsement for unified communications as a service solution. The prevalence of BYOD is growing as it facilitates the connection of personal devices, including smartphones, PCs, tablets, and notebooks to an organization’s network and enables employees to accomplish their tasks, using simple, cloud-based mobile applications that allow them to work from anywhere at any time without the need for storage and transfer of files. According to Forbes, the BYOD market is anticipated to reach $367 billion by 2022. Thus, organizations are looking to explore corporate cloud-based UCaaS solutions incorporated with applications like enterprise social media and security policies to support the BYOD trend. Increasing demand in the BYOD market is expected to propel growth of the global UCaaS market, which was valued at $30 billion in 2018. In line with the adoption of its solutions to support BYOD, Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 15.2% during the forecast period of 2019 to 2025.
Geographically, North America held the maximum share in the unified communication as a service market, which translated to 33.9% of the total market share in 2018. This is mainly attributed to rapidly increasing consumer demand for online businesses. According to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, the estimate of U.S. retail e-commerce sales for Q1 2019 was $137.7 billion, which was an increase of 3.6% over Q4 2018. In order to facilitate hassle-free and high user experience, and consequently build a strong relationship with customers, enterprises are adopting multiple customer oriented services provided by UCaaS cloud utility which includes chatbots, audio conferencing, and automated customer query responses. This is a major factor behind growth of the unified communication as a service market. Moreover, presence of the most advanced software and information technology (IT) services industry of the world, in the U.S., is creating lucrative opportunities for the UCaaS market. According to ‘SelectUSA’, a program led by the U.S. Department of Commerce, more than a quarter of the $3.8 trillion global IT market is in the U.S. Furthermore, the industry accounts for $1.14 trillion of U.S. value-added GDP generated from more than 100,000 software and IT services companies. Moreover, to enhance technological advancements in the U.S., the Trump Administration has prioritized funding for fundamental AI research and computing infrastructure, machine learning, and autonomous systems in the FY2019 budget request. Thus the presence of a massive tech-savvy workforce and advanced network infrastructure is propelling growth of the UCaaS market in this region.
Retail Sector to Create Lucrative opportunities for UCaaS Market—
On the basis of industry, the unified communication as a service market is segmented into banking, financial service and insurance, telecom and IT, retail, healthcare, public sector and utilities, logistics and transportation, and others. Among these, the retail sector is expected to generate maximum revenue for the market. Retailers are increasingly adopting UCaaS technology to streamline business processes by enabling quick, real-time services and faster transaction closures. Thus, the tremendously booming retail sector is anticipated to augment growth of the UCaaS market. Growth in the global retail market can be easily fathomed from growth of the Indian retail market, as India is the world’s fifth-largest global destination in the retail space. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India's retail market is expected to increase by 60% to reach $1.1 trillion by 2020. In addition, low cost of ownership and pay per use characteristics of UCaaS are instigating retailers to incorporate UCaaS technology in their business processes. Thus, this key application segment is poised to grow at a CAGR of 18.9% through to 2025.
Unified Communication as a Service Market Companies:
Some of the key companies operating in the global unified communication as a service market are BT Group, 8x8, Cisco, CSC, Star2Star, Verizon, Voss, Microsoft, West Corp., HP, Avaya, Polycom, NTT, AT&T, IBM, Masergy, Nextiva, Vonage, and Twilio. These companies are heavily investing in R&D activities to innovate with advanced technologies in order to gain a competitive advantage over other markets players. Moreover, these companies are frequently entering into strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, and collaborations to gain substantial share in the market.
· Microsoft Corporation offers cloud services to organizations, business enterprises, educational institutes, and others. It provides UCaaS services to its customers with Microsoft 365 that can facilitate integrated messaging, calling, and meeting solutions.
· In 2017, San Jose-based telecommunications company 8x8 Inc. acquired Oakland-based Sameroom. This acquisition was aimed at improving the cloud-based communications systems. In 2018, the company acquired JITSI, a video communications technology company, to extend 8x8’s cloud technology platform and add to the company’s video collaboration capabilities.
· In April 2019, West Corporation, a global leader in technology-enabled services, announced the acquisition of NSO Group AB, d.b.a. Notified, a Swedish-based provider of a complete suite of cloud media monitoring and measurement tools. This acquisition not only provides customers with additional listening and monitoring capabilities, but also a fully integrated, unified and automated communications solution suite.
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