UC Growth, SD-WAN, Video Over SIP, and More For 2017
In our most recent UCStrategies podcast, my colleagues and myself cited areas that we see trended in 2016. Not only have these trends gained notoriety in 2016, but these trends will continue and grow and go BIG in 2017. I noted the following growth trends:
Unified Communications is Now Considered Strategic to an Enterprise (and Being Promoted Within)
It was only 36 months ago that UC as a technology was difficult, at best, to gain traction in the enterprise. UC requires a real strategy and game changing "friendly" disruption to any enterprise. The big difference recently is that, for our enterprise clients, there is a true interest for UC being adopted and a clear reason for replacing the older telephony infrastructure.
Many of our clients now feel that UC is game changing - a differentiator for their organization. They now WANT to embrace the full UC suite and to leverage this technology to enhance their experience. The cost difference for the full UC suite in addition to Telephony is minimal, whether using a stand-alone UC product or adding as part of an older TDM or IP Telephony replacement.
In our experience, those enterprises without a clear UC design and implementation plan only get 10-15% effective acceptance and penetration of the full UC suite. However, by intentionally embracing a UC strategy across the enterprise and leveraging use cases and usage profiles (as my colleague Marty Parker wrote about recently), that acceptance and penetration of the full UC suite can be 85-90% effective. We have experienced near 100% effectiveness with easy-to-train UC technologies, such as corporate directory and Unified Messaging. And all clients we have interviewed in the last 12 months want mobility - period.
This technology will continue to go viral, and according to Grand View Research, the UC/UCaaS market will be worth $143.49 Billion by 2024, currently at $41B, tripling its market size in the next seven years.
SD-WAN and SDN
SD-WAN and SDN technologies have been general availability/GA for over 48 months now, but it is only now that these technologies are trending up. The reason? In my opinion, the big drivers include:
- SD-WAN manages down costs by "aggregating" multiple data pipes (private Ethernet and MPLS, and public Internet, both wired and wireless) while prioritizing respective QoS-based technologies including voice, video, and high priority data
- UC technologies are now going mainstream and are complex. SD-WAN and SDN provides additional levels of network management and network control for managing such complex technologies
- IoT, Big Data, integration to 3rd party applications are all driving additional complexity in enterprise data networks, and managing such is critical to any CIO's and IT department's survival
- SDN holds the promise of significant reductions in costs with the intelligence at the core and not the edge, providing a better platform for network management across all sites. Less hardware at the core and at the edge promise additional savings, and some studies have shown reduction in such hardware and associated costs by 30 to as much as 70%
SIP Trunking, and Now Video over SIP
SIP trunking is an extraordinary technology that can transform and migrate your typically decentralized legacy PRI technology to a centralized, IP and QoS-based platform that can reduce your current infrastructure costs, in our experience, by 20-60%. In addition, it centralizes all DID numbers and, for a national company, migrates numbers up to 3,000 miles away into one central group, taking advantage of the number of sessions (or ports) required to run the entire company.
We recommend best practices for SIP trunking, including the number of sessions, geographic separation of SIP trunks as much as possible, bandwidth for delivery, redundancy, and failover of key DID numbers to PRIs if the SIP trunks fail.
The latest trend is video over SIP, and the typical public video conference over the Internet with no QoS will begin to transition and migrate to video over SIP with QoS, thus "upping" the quality of a video conference to other sites and prioritized among partner sites. Tata Communications is already providing such a service and, based on discussions with major carriers in the last 12 months, all carriers have video over SIP on their road maps.
Contact Center and Multi-Channel
Contact Center Multi-Channel/Omni-Channel has now gone mainstream. Within our consulting practice, we now leverage each of these channels with our contact center clients, including voice, chat/text, video chat, email, faxing, and social media. Customers no longer want just voice, they want the channel of their choosing, on their terms.
According to Gartner Group, by 2017, 89% of marketers expect the customer experience to be their primary differentiator. Contact Centers are about the customer experience and retaining customers on the customer's terms and the channel of their choice. Millennials in particular would rather use a text channel to resolve an issue or make an appointment, and voice for them is "out."
I have written a couple of posts recently on UCStrategies.com on video going viral, including "Video Is Going Viral, Especially In Healthcare!" and "Video Is Going Viral, Part Deux and Financial Services." I believe that new video applications in banking kiosks and telemedicine will enhance the customer experience significantly while managing overall corporate costs. Video will go viral in the contact center space and at desktop in the UC suite. Telemedicine applications, in particular, will grow significantly based on new legislation being passed at state and federal levels - healthcare clients will use this technology for pre and post op consults and get reimbursed by Medicare/Medicaid and select insurance providers. The video market is projected to be a $7.8 billion market by 2023, nearly tripling 2015's market for same (according to Transparency Market Research).
So what does this mean to the enterprise? Be prepared for these new technologies and how they can improve your customers' experiences. Include these technologies in your IT and corporate strategic planning. Implement these technologies in an over-planned manner and always begin with a POC Proof of Concept.
My recommendation: embrace these trends, as trends happen whether your organization participates or not. Better to catch these trends on the early side of their timeline, before your competition does. Leverage the help of Independent Subject Matter Experts/Consultants to help through the process - it can be just the leverage you need to get project approved at high levels. The consultants at UCStrategies provide clients with the expertise necessary to help build such strategies and overall deployment knowledge transitioning from legacy systems. It can make all the difference in how your organization positions itself and its market share going forward.