UCaaS: How Unified Communications Is Evolving in a Post-COVID-19 World
Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) has grown in popularity. Many of the solutions are cloud-based, creating an inherent flexibility. Plus, they centralize various forms of communication, making it easier for employees to collaborate using their preferred approaches.
The benefits of UCaaS became incredibly clear in the early days of COVID-19. Companies that had these solutions in place adapted more quickly to the situation, particularly if they had to suddenly embrace telecommuting in response to shelter-in-place orders.
However, COVID-19 didn’t just make UCaaS more valuable; it also began to shape the technology. As companies’ priorities changed, UCaaS had to shift with it. That way, it could continue to be a critical tool.
If you are wondering how UCaaS is evolving in a Post-COVID-19 world, here’s what you need to know.
The Need for Rapid Scaling
While scalability is often a hallmark of any as-a-service solution, rapid scalability became crucial during COVID-19. Many companies that had remote employees had fairly robust systems. However, when everyone began working from home, seemingly overnight, the ability to add new users quickly became a must.
The scalability issue applied to more than just the core solution, too. Many UCaaS providers had to find ways to support an increasing number of participants using specific services simultaneously. For example, voice or video calls may have previously had just a handful of participants. Once everyone began working remotely, the number of people on a single call shot up, potentially into the dozens.
As a result, COVID-19 will likely shape the future of UCaaS and other as-a-service offerings on the scalability front. Providers faced an unprecedented situation, with demand skyrocketing with little notice. As a result, mechanisms that can support this kind of shift will become increasingly common, making it easier for companies to ramp up fast should the need arise again.
A Growing Focus on Video
Video calls became shockingly critical during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many professionals who were used to working together in-person suddenly weren’t collaborating face-to-face. At times, this hindered collaboration. In others, it simply left employees feeling lonely and isolated.
With video calling, some of the in-person experience is recapturable. Participants aren’t just hearing each other; they are seeing one another, as well. This became critical for ensuring workplace relationships remained strong and allowing employees to incorporate visual cues into the overall dialog.
A Need for Presence Queues
While UCaaS has always been a way to support telecommuting employees, the paradigm shifted when nearly everyone was working remotely. Those who were usually collaborating in an office can’t simply stop by a desk to see if a colleague is available. Instead, they had to reach out online and wait for a response.
If a reply didn’t come quickly, employees might not know whether their message went unnoticed, if they were actively being ignored, or if their colleague was simply unavailable. This could lead to frustration and annoyance, significantly harming morale.
As a result, the need for presence queues within UCaaS solutions grew dramatically. Users’ ability to note whether they were unavailable gives their colleagues indications about when they may respond to messages. It is a simple tool, but is incredibly beneficial to maintaining morale and ensuring workplace relationships aren’t accidentally harmed.
Ultimately, many UCaaS providers and users learned a lot from the COVID-19 pandemic. Priorities shifted, and providers had to find ways to accommodate the explosion in demand. These experiences are going to shape the future of the technology, ensuring it can adapt to what companies need today and what they may need in the future.