For as long as Unified Communications as a Service (or UCaaS) has existed, it has constantly seen growth and evolution. Workplaces the world around have begun adopting the technology for various purposes, but these tend to boil down to one primary reason: convenience.
For the uninitiated, UCaaS is a type of SaaS, or “software as a service.” UCaaS in particular is a cloud delivery model that offers a mixture of communication and collaboration applications on one unified platform. That means services like enterprise messaging, Cloud PBX, teleconferencing, call centre software, online meetings, and more.
Now, with rapid adoption and subsequent industry growth, we could very well be seeing the next phases in UCaaS’ evolution—and these next phases involve integrating even newer technologies that have been disrupting various industries.
AR and UCaaS
Augmented Reality (AR) combines live vision with data to produce something more effective than either would be on their own. Or, as PwC puts it, “live view overlaid with information.”
In a real-world example, someone could point their phone camera at a museum exhibit and watch a video play that explains its history using the exhibition as a centerpiece.
AR doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Together with UCaaS, they’re increasingly likely to combine and impact one another in a range of ways. Many firms may soon provide UCaaS solutions which comprise an AR element.
Using AR effectively in the workplace requires an understanding of its three core qualities:
Personal: AR allows the user to focus on what matters to them most
Emotional: Immersion means deeper connections
Visual: AR is a visual medium, meaning it can tell a story better than a 2D screen. Bringing metrics to life.
Looking to the future, VR is most likely to impact UCaaS in these three ways:
Both internal and external staff and suppliers need access to a range of data to effectively perform their duties. That’s everyone from financial teams to warehouse staff. Besides, of course, dedicated data quality software, AR technology can help businesses create interactive, real-time data simulations curated for the audience using them. Solutions that are smart enough to respond instantaneously to new inputs.
A consultant handed sales metrics, for example, can use an AR application to dive deeper into each user case. They can let the technology analyze the approach taken for each prospect, to identify the most successful process going forward.
‘Authenticity’ is what sets brands apart from one another, and AR as a tool can be leveraged to communicate emotion and understanding to a customer during an outbound call.
As an example, a customer using AR on a website can learn the origin of a product through an interactive video that plays when a camera is pointed at that product. The feature can even be utilized to communicate product changes as they pertain to a specific item. Alongside improving headless commerce capabilities and other developments in the retail field, this can vastly improve customer experience. Internally, showing employees the impact of their work on customers using an AR application can improve employee retention and boost morale.
With holographic applications, businesses can create ‘in-person’ experiences that add another dimension to how we communicate. A live, holographic image of a company’s executive delivering an annual speech or monthly update can be beamed to locations worldwide. This would reduce travel expenses, keep people engaged, and add a new dimension to any UCaaS platform.
AR, conversational and virtual assistants, live video, video conferencing, and self-service are all different paths to the same customer communication future. How customers and staff use those products and services in this future will be determined by ongoing analysis and reaction to how successful each approach is. As consumers interact in a more direct and personal way with companies, AR is the best-suited channel for making intangible things like data and reports, real.
Whether you’re going to use Augmented Reality to make better use of data, tell your story, deliver internal communications more intimately, or for building your brand on social media, you first need to understand AR’s potential. Either way, it brings with it dynamism, and being dynamic is how to stand out in today’s competitive marketplace.
5G and UCaaS
We’ve heard a lot in recent years about the potential impact of 5G. Lauded by some as the next great quantum leap in communications and technology (and also the subject of some truly bizarre conspiracy theories), the arrival of 5G promises to shake the business world up in all sorts of ways.
It’s more important than ever for businesses to be within easy reach of consumers. Contact center solutions, for example, have been widely embraced by firms in every sector, so that clients and customers can contact them with the minimum of fuss. 5G now looks set to elevate connectivity to an entirely new level.
But what can we expect from it? And in particular, what will its likely impact be on UCaaS? This transformative technology is sure to have far-reaching effects – so what should businesses be prepared for? Here, we’ll take a quick look at three areas where we can expect 5G to make the biggest impression.
Enhanced remote collaboration
Remote working is now increasingly commonplace. Likewise, other remote services such as online shopping have been further boosted by the rise of ecommerce platforms as they continue to steal a march on their physical rivals.
With the arrival of 5G, we can expect remote collaboration to go from strength to strength. Audio and video conferencing, for example, will likely be far smoother and more reliable with 5G than it currently is either with 4G or Wi-Fi. This is sure to facilitate more seamless project management and closer collaboration, no matter how physically far apart everyone might happen to be..
One thing we’ve learned in recent months is that a reliable internet connection really is a lifeline to the wider world. 5G is up to 20 times faster than 4G, allowing for much smoother synchronous and async communication between people all over the world.
With 5G, devices will be able to process sizable amounts of data in a short space of time. This will enable us to communicate with one another with far greater reliability than we’ve enjoyed up to now. VoIP services, in particular, will benefit from this. In turn, it’ll open up all kinds of new possibilities for close co-operation.
Another important advantage offered by 5G is that it potentially allows for more immersive user experiences. Because it’s likely to facilitate quicker and more reliable connections, it could allow us to develop new tools and platforms that totally transform the way users engage with content online.
It’s impossible to predict, as yet, just what forms this will take. We won’t know how to make the most effective uses of 5G technology until we’ve had time to accustom ourselves to it. But we can be sure that the possibilities it’ll present to us will be very exciting indeed.
Of course, 5G is still at a relatively early stage of its rollout, and only a fairly small proportion of consumers are able to make use of it. But keep a close eye on online phone service and VoIP trends and other such technological developments in the months and years ahead. That’s because, with 5G, change is coming – and it’s up to businesses to ensure it doesn’t overwhelm them.
Of course, it remains to be seen just how well different industries can and will integrate these new technologies in terms of UCaaS. While AR and 5G are what we would call “the future” of the technological landscape, the path towards the future isn’t always a linear one. But, at the end of the day, the most important thing is really to brace ourselves for these changes so that when they do come, we can allow ourselves to welcome them, welcome “the future,” with open arms.