Unified Communications as a Service provides a broad range of communication and collaboration applications and services in the cloud. The three main capability areas UCaaS solutions cover are: voice/VoIP, audio and video conferencing, and instant messaging/chat. Many vendors also include team collaboration features, such as screen sharing or real-time document editing. Contact Center software may also be offered as a separate solution or add-on product.
Many vendors in the UCaaS space started out offering one type of communication tool, like Web Conferencing or VoIP software and then expanded their cloud services to include other types of communication tools. As a result, there is a certain degree of overlap between UCaaS and these two software categories. Certain vendors may be more well known for their web conferencing and voice solutions, even if they also offer fully featured UCaaS platforms.
As more and more organizations transition to remote working, businesses and their employees increasingly rely on UCaaS and Video Conferencing platforms to support their online collaboration needs.
Some UCaaS vendors also offer contact-center capabilities, including auto-attendant, interactive voice response, call routing, and customer relationship management integrations. Many vendors are also building APIs into their offerings. This helps customers embed cloud-based communication tools directly into their applications.
Recent trends in the UCaaS space are changing how businesses think about their communications. Before purchasing a UCaaS solution, really think about whether or not your organization will benefit most from a unified platform, or will thrive best in a situation where different teams or departments manage their own communications tools, and rely only on a VoIP or web conferencing platform.
Trends to look out for when deciding which UCaaS solution may be right for you:
Think of VoIP as just one component of UCaaS. UCaaS platforms typically cover four main capability areas:
While VoIP is one component of these larger unified communications platforms, most vendors that have comprehensive UCaaS platforms still offer their Voice/VoIP solution as a stand-alone product. This is because many companies have their communication technology organized in a decentralized fashion, and still use separate solutions for different communication needs.
CCaaS stands for "Contact Center as a Service", which refers to contact center software provided as a cloud-based, subscription service.
Whereas UCaaS consolidates organizations' communications platforms, CCaaS focuses on enabling multichannel communication via one platform. Additionally, UCaaS may be better suited for internal communication, versus external communication. In this case, CCaaS shines in applications meant for interactions with customers and clients en masse. However, if customer communications are low at your organization, a UCaaS platform should suffice for your needs.