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UCaaS market soaring as cloud-based technology evolves

This week in UC news, the UCaaS market continues its strong growth, while a Web conferencing services report sheds light on some of the market's trends.

The global UCaaS market is growing at an accelerated pace thanks to increasing interest in cloud-based UC business suites, according to a report from Synergy Research Group. UCaaS market annual revenues have reached $4 billion with an annual growth rate of 16%.

The UCaaS business suite accounts for just one-third of the total UCaaS market, but that segment is growing more rapidly than the larger UCaaS application market, according to the report. The business suite segment includes public, private and hybrid offerings from vendors including RingCentral, 8x8, Vonage, ShoreTel and Mitel.

The larger standalone application segment includes video conferencing SaaS, Web conferencing SaaS and hosted contact center offerings. UCaaS market leaders in this segment include Cisco, Microsoft, Citrix, inContact and Genesys. Video conferencing SaaS is the smallest product segment but has the highest growth with revenues surging 50% each year, according to the report.

But the line between the two UCaaS market segments is blurring as features and technology evolve.

"Now some vendors are broadening their product offerings to provide more comprehensive solutions, examples being Cisco adding video conferencing and voice capabilities to Spark and Microsoft adding UCaaS to Office 365," said Jeremy Duke, chief analyst at Synergy. "We are now entering a world of next-generation UCaaS where standalone is not so standalone anymore."

Web conferencing services adapt to buyers' needs

The Web conferencing services market is adapting to meet the changing demands of enterprise buyers, according to a Gartner Magic Quadrant report.

Enterprise buyers today are more interested in products that offer bundles of audio, video and Web capabilities. Buyers are also interested in the bundling of Web conferencing with UC suites like Microsoft Office 365 and Google for Work. This trend is a boon for UC vendors who offer Web conferencing services in their portfolio and has impacted standalone Web conferencing vendors, who must now focus on integration with UC vendors to gain traction in the enterprise, according to the report.

The freemium model is a stronger influence than ever on the market and is driving the cost of Web conferencing services down, Gartner reported. Ten of the vendors in the report offer freemium services for smaller, less complex meetings and upsell more complex enterprise features to drive adoption. Services from LogMeIn and Zoom, two new vendors to the report, are entirely freemium-based.

In the report, Cisco, Microsoft, Adobe, Citrix, IBM and AT&T were named leaders. Google was named a challenger. Zoom, Vidyo, Fuze, PGi and West Unified Communications Services were named visionaries. LogMeIn, Arkadin and Blackboard were named niche players.

UniVoIP integrates with Skype for Business

UniVoIP has launched its OfficeConnect Enterprise phone system integration with Microsoft Skype for Business. The integration includes Microsoft server on-premises and online.

The OfficeConnect service includes support for IP and softphones, multimedia contact center functionality, UC, call recording and interactive voice response (IVR) features. The service integrated with a Microsoft environment without the need for third-party voice components, gateways or software changes.

The service extends the Skype for Business client to connect to voice control features like voice presence, escalating IM to a call, click-to-call and incoming call device selection. OfficeConnect Enterprise includes in-call features like call waiting, mute, transfer and embedded conferencing, and supports voice integration with Microsoft Office apps like Excel, Word and Outlook.

The service supports mobility by allowing users to move calls between their desk and mobile phones within the Skype for Business client.

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