By Jeremiah Shea, contributing writer
Technology’s adoption lifecycle follows a bell curve from beginnings driven by the innovators and early adopters, to where it peaks and the market becomes saturated, and then transitioning to commodity. Think of something as simple as a VCR and how it went from just somebody you knew with one because of the associated price tag to the device itself being sold everywhere for less than $50. It’s the curve that follows most products regardless of its consumer or business technology.
When you apply this to communication in the business world, there was once a time when disparate technologies were required with specialized knowledge required for each. From complex PBX (private branch exchange) phone systems to email, the unified communications space was difficult to navigate before the advent of IP.
As it stands today, unified communications and collaboration (UCC) is a much broader term and includes all types of communication including instant messaging, conferencing, speech recognition, and centralized messaging to name a few. There has been nothing that has revolutionized this entire ecosystem, though, like the cloud and is only now being fully realized.
A recent Broadsoft study shows that cloud unified communications market penetration will grow sixfold over the next five years. That explosive growth is due to both the accessibility to the IT VARs who support it as well as the merchants of all sizes who are demanding it. All of this is made possible through the cloud as infrastructure has essentially been taken out of the picture.
Unified communications through the perspective of the cloud opens doors that were previously closed or relegated to a few with the appropriate knowledge and skill set. With just about everything being an IP address these days, phone systems, conference devices, and other ways to communicate are falling under the same umbrella, allowing more market penetration and rapid adoption from the largest of corporations down to the SMB space. In today’s world, accessibility is everything and all businesses are demanding it whether the communication need is in store or across geographical barriers with more people working remote than ever before. Without the need to house infrastructure, the doors have been opened up to all market segments and Broadsoft’s study proves that demand is only going to grow.
In a perfect summary, Broadsoft’s chief marketing officer, Taher Behbehani says, “Enterprise UCaaS [Unified Communications-as-a-Service] is proving disruptive due to its superior value proposition — reduced complexity, lower total cost of ownership and greater productivity and mobility for the increasingly millennial and distributed workforce.”
As we circle back to the technology adoption lifecycle thought, unified communications is in that sweet spot where it’s the perfect time to jump in and develop a practice. There’s a need in every sector — from retail and their warehouses to schools and hospitals. With the various methods to communication available and a need to always be connected, look to the cloud to lessen the barrier and understand how to begin to offer the various solutions that encompass this technology whose demand is growing exponentially in this hyperconnected world.