Last week, we featured predictions from five analysts touching on UCaaS, CCaaS, the challenges of hybrid work, and more. The space continues to be exciting and dynamic. Seven analysts from Frost & Sullivan shared their thoughts on what’s to come in 2022.
1) Equal and inclusive meetings will become table stakes. As people return to the office, there will be a growing challenge: keeping a level playing field when some people are face to face in office and others join online. Remote users will not settle for compromised collaboration experiences anymore. Expect to see rapid innovation and enhancements in meeting devices and software led by AI-driven audio/video intelligence that will create more equitable and inclusive meetings.
2) Efficiency and sustainability goals will drive a change in organizational blueprints. Businesses will make many structural changes to the physical office space. Real-estate reduction and optimization will lead to massive cost savings. The freed up funds will be pumped back into growing sales teams, increasing marketing spend and hiring more employees. Offices will be redesigned to achieve greater sustainability. In addition, reduced physical desks, added hot desks and flexible workspaces, and more focus rooms, meeting pods, and other spaces with video capability will help connect teams not physically present together in the same office.
3) Businesses will invest in improving personal communications. The massive shift to remote work will put the focus back on investments in new communication clients and devices that enable more robust, integrated and smart communication experiences for WFH while allowing IT to better manage and support remote users at scale. Smart communications software will address the concerns around employee experience and growing workforce exhaustion.
1) Changing work styles, including remote and hybrid work, will inspire newer generations of enterprise-grade endpoints, with updated form-factors, features and capabilities. Product designs and functionality will continue to evolve to accommodate new user requirements.
2) As frontliners adapt their existing processes to new realities, there will be a strong demand for enterprise-grade mobile devices, including headsets, badges, and ruggedized smartphones.
3) Memorable and immersive experiences will become the new mantra. We are already witnessing a first wave of services that allow workers to have immersive/memorable experiences in virtual environments without costly VR headsets via 2D virtual spaces. Full-fledged 3D AR/VR experiences for work purposes have also ramped up in the last few quarters. The enterprise metaverse might be here sooner than we think.
Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) and a continued expansion of the role that APIs play in enterprise communications are going to be two of the biggest trends of 2022. BYOC will likely become the preferred choice by enterprises that want to move to the cloud, but don't want to give up their trusted carrier relationships. Likewise, APIs, offering CPaaS-like capabilities, will become increasingly table stakes for businesses that need to continue the momentum of pandemic-inspired digital transformations within their organizations.
1) UCaaS bundling with mobile (cellular) business plans is quickly progressing from a differentiator to a competitive necessity and will do so within the next 12-24 months.
2) "UCC providers offering work from home bundles, that include voice and collaboration services alongside discrete and secure business-quality network connectivity, will be a more widely perceived differentiator among prospective enterprise buyers in 2022."
Most businesses are now convinced they need to adopt cloud communications solutions to stay agile and compete effectively in the era of hybrid work. In 2022 and the next few years, decision makers will need to choose the solutions and service providers that will provide the best fit for their organization's use cases and specific workflows. From security, reliability and scalability to tailored features and integrations that meet unique vertical needs, businesses must employ a robust set of criteria when evaluating the cloud communications solutions that will power their business transformation.
Composable, modular communications will be the name of the game in 2022. Enterprises are looking to pick and choose best-of-breed solutions while building a future-proof platform. Forward-looking technology vendors will be following this trend and we expect to see a continuous flow of innovation and an intensification of the competitive pressure in the marketplace.
1) The rise of hybrid work implies that dispersed teams and therefore hybrid meetings will be an increasingly frequent component of what is to come. The new normal will include meetings with remote participants on a constant basis, which will require collaboration technologies and devices to enhance the experience with better tools and functionalities.
Undoubtedly, the new workspace will be hybrid, but the user experience will be harmonized across users regardless of their location, underlying network or device of choice. To succeed, collaboration solutions will need to be inclusive – i.e, offer the same collaboration experience to all workers, no matter where and how they choose to work.
2) In the elastic office of the future, there will be a device for each space and a place for each task. Offices will need to adapt to the changing needs of the employees who visit them and each environment must be equipped with the necessary tools to foster efficient collaboration. This includes not only equipping large meeting rooms, huddle rooms, and small spaces (such as phone booths), but also employees who work remotely and who work from office desks on a rotating basis. Definitely, devices (both audio and video) that are better suited to flexible work will be in high demand and have a lucrative future.