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Capitalising on mobile and UCaaS solutions

As demand for mobile and UCasS services continues to rise, so companies should be taking advantage of the opportunity, says Cavell Group’s Dom Black.

Mobile and UCaaS solutions are key areas that channel partners should be looking to capitalise on moving forward.

That's according to Dom Black, director of research at Cavell Group, who was presenting a market update at the Nuvias UC Tech Talks event held at Park Plaza Victoria in London.

Black started by giving an overview of how the telecoms market has become ever-more converged. He said that providers had begun by offering voice-only PBX phone systems before moving into the cloud eight years ago, with some basic functionality being added to voice services, such as chat and other features.

Over the last four or five years, however, Black said that services provision has shifted into a UCaaS environment, with voice, video messaging and other communication channels increasingly being included in these solutions. Now, he said that new technologies such as AI are becoming incorporated as well.

"The market has gone on quite a journey," said Black. "From that, we can see the UCaaS market has undergone significant growth and is forecast to continue on that trajectory over the next five years, with over 10.8 per cent added growth in terms of UCaaS adoption by more than 16 million users during that period."

One of the key trends that Black identified is the rise of mobile services. He said that after undergoing steady growth in Europe and North America in recent years, now major vendors such as Microsoft, Webex and Vodafone were ramping up their UCaaS and mobile offerings. The importance of such solutions, said Black, is borne out in the fact that 62 per cent of sales teams surveyed by Cavell said it was key to provide customers with mobile services, up from 40 per cent last year.

"We expect to see a massive adoption of mobile first and UC applications over the next five years," said Black. "That's something channel companies should be looking to tap into.”

Another significant development, said Black, has been the adoption of Microsoft Teams as enterprises move their voice solutions across to the platform. That's evidenced by the 23 per cent of voice and UCaaS users who have already made the migration – a figure that is expected to grow to 41 per cent - he said.

"Having that Microsoft Teams integration is critical," said Black. "There's a clear opportunity for those working in the audio visual space to build Microsoft Teams Rooms to enable better office and home working and, thus, drive margin and revenue."

Other areas of opportunity, said Black, included security and contact centres for large enterprises. As a result, he said that companies should be looking to expand their portfolio to offer a broader range of services, such as UCaaS and CCaaS.

"Everyone realises that they can’t just sell one service anymore," said Black. "They have to be selling multiple services because customers are looking to bring all of these solutions together as one."

CX opportunities

CX is another hot topic, according to Black. With one third of consumers last year saying interaction with their service providers wasn't great, he said that companies needed to improve upon this to ensure they are receiving the level of service they want and expect.

"The problem can be addressed through the use of new technologies coming into the industry such as AI for voice recognition and virtual agents," said Black. "There's also more focus on agent training to improve call quality and engagement."

There has also been a big shift in the workforce make-up, said Black, with Millennials becoming the largest segment and Gen Zs starting to come through, as there has been in their uptake of new communication tools, such phone messaging and business chat. By understanding this growing market, he said that providers can capitalise on the opportunity to serve them better with the solutions they need.

In terms of winning new business, Black said that 75 per cent of respondents cited the migration from on-premise solutions to the cloud as the main driver. Of the new wins, he said that 50 per cent came from moving users from old cloud solutions to new ones.

"While initially that’s good news for providers, it also means that over the next five years it's going to become harder to win new business with less companies using on-premise solutions and more using the cloud," said Black. "If you are selling a cloud solution against another cloud solution, you have got to make sure that you're offering a great wrap-around on that as well as a true differentiation with your product through customer service and the delivery of that, and not just on price."

As far as challenges are concerned, Black said that regulation and the current skills gaps are the biggest ones. He said that businesses needed to be aware of the increasing regulation being brought in both in the UK and by the European Union.

Black added that the skills shortage had been exacerbated by a brain drain of people retiring and increasing competition for technical experts. Then there is ever-increasing pressure on partners to prove their environmental and sustainability credentials to customers, he said.

AI challenges

AI, while still in its relative infancy, said Black, is also starting to come to the fore in terms of how it can improve a business' operations and performance through functions such as automation, planning, billing and network quality and optimisation. However, he added that there are still big concerns about how AI will be used in terms of accessing their data and whether it will reduce headcount.

"AI has already been built into many products, including Zoom AI Companion and Microsoft Copilot," said Black. "The question for Tier 2 providers is how do they do that with their products and how can it be best used to solve their customers’ problems?"

Black said that the biggest issue with AI, however, is whether users are ready for it. First, he said, companies needed to ensure that the technology works properly for their purposes, but is also regulatory compliant.

Awareness around the PSTN switch-off in 2025 is also on the rise, said Black. Of those enterprises surveyed, he said that 79 per cent knew about it, compared to just 45 per cent last year. Within that 79 per cent, he said that 42 per cent believe the switch-off will have a material impact on their business.

"That represents a huge opportunity for providers to help these business through the migration," said Black. "By providing them with the necessary education and support, they can make a big difference."

Joel Chimoindes, CEO of Nuvias UC, kicked off the event with the keynote speech, reflecting on the key areas of progress that the company has made and new technological developments over the last 12 months. He said that having fixed the basics of its operational distribution, Nuvias had launched its Pathfinder+ programme to help its partners to capitalise on new opportunities and get to revenue quickly by equipping them with the right knowledge, skillset and capabilities.

"As of 1st April, we have also created five specialist business units with a focus on spaces, telephony, UCaaS and CCaaS," added Chimoindes. "Those SBUs are designed to give our customers the specialism and knowledge they need."

The morning line-up was completed with a series of hot-seat interviews including Zoom, Poly, Microsoft, Five9 and Logitech. In the afternoon, roundtable discussions were held focused on a range of topics from navigating through the world of UCaaS and the importance of CX and CC solutions to specialisation and diversification in a dynamic market, and the ISDN switch-off opportunity.


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