2017 Predictions – VOSS Hits It Out of the Park
Christopher May, VP, VOSS Solutions
Every year, for fun, the team at VOSS puts our collective heads together to compile a number of industry predictions for the year ahead.
We're currently working on our predictions for 2018, but we thought it would be interesting to communicate how well our 2017 predictions turned out:
- Advances in artificial intelligence and deep learning – 1/1
VOSS predicted that 2017 would be the year that the value of AI would hit the communications industry, and there's no question that the communications industry has moved strongly towards AI and big data. NoJitter published 92 blog posts on AI this year, and we are seeing AI and deep learning start to impact every area of enterprise communications and collaboration. Even Cisco joined the list of companies promoting AI with their announcement for their Spark AI-powered voice assistant. Of course, VOSS is also investing heavily in AI and big data analytics.
- UC mergers and acquisitions – 2/2
At the end of 2016, VOSS said "Watch out for an interesting spate of M&A activity as the larger vendors strive to maintain their industry leading position by snapping up some of this cool tech!". And we were proved right when Cisco announced their bid for Broadsoft in October. This, of course, will be a major rationalization of the UCaaS industry, with Cisco controlling 50% of the cloud communications market. Expect further UCaaS and UC market consolidation in 2018.
- The acceptance of cloud communications – 3/3
2016 saw wide scale adoption by the SME market of the UCaaS model, and we predicted that 2017 would be the year in which more and more of the larger enterprises started to consume their communications and collaboration tools from the cloud. Again, this was validated by NoJitter in the 2017 Cloud Communications Survey. In fact, 75% of responders with 1,000+ employees anticipate bringing more communications services into their current cloud mixes within the next 12 months. VOSS continues to lead the cloud communications management space and with the continued adoption of cloud from larger, more sophisticated enterprises in 2018, so too will demand for VOSS' management agility continue to grow.
- The decline of independent mobility applications - 4/4
2017 saw the introduction of Apple's CallKit feature for the iPhone. This allows mobility applications to be fully integrated with the smart-phone's operating system and regular phone calling features (such as call waiting and messaging). Not long after the CallKit release, Android released their ConnectionService feature to match the Apple initiative. All the major UC vendors have subsequently released mobility applications that now integrate with the smart-device operating systems. Of course, VOSS provides UC management for smart devices, with full provisioning of the new mobility applications.
- UC security – 5/5
UC Security, as predicted by VOSS, has taken on a much more significant role in the cloud communications market. Several UCaaS vendors have released MPLS network solutions for connectivity, rather than delivering a service over the internet. And, the rise of software-defined WAN technology is also a major leap forward in communications security. At VOSS, we are very focused on constantly improving the security of our management platform and its connectivity to a company's network. Expect this focus to continue in 2018.
- Deeper UC integration – 6/6
2017 saw a significant shift in the enterprise communications industry towards digital transformations based on the adoption of advanced unified communications. Organizations now understand that they need to focus on improving their operational and customer processes, and one of the best ways to achieve this is through the improvement of communications. If people are able to find subject matter experts more quickly, then better decisions can be made in a more timely manner. VOSS continues to be at the heart of this digital transformation revolution, offering both a single point of integration for the entire enterprise communications stack, plus readily programmable business intelligence to aid in the delivery of UC to the right people at the right time.
- The desire for best of breed UC – 7/7
In 2017, we did indeed see more and more enterprise and cloud providers breaking their loyalty to a single UC vendor, as they now choose to build their cloud UC offerings based on best of breed solutions. Cloud providers are starting to switch UC vendors more frequently, as the desire for market differentiation and competitive edge increases. And, enterprise organizations are adopting hybrid environments, as well as multi-vendor solutions. As predicted by VOSS, this is resulting in a huge spike in the complexity of hybrid cloud UC environments and a requirement to manage these many disparate elements from a single point of control. VOSS, of course, is well equipped to manage these best-of-breed and hybrid environments.
- UC Management as a Service – 7/8
Our final prediction was probably a little ambitious. We were hoping to see "as a service" models for UC management continue to grow in popularity, and enterprises would start to consume UC management from the cloud, rather than a traditional on-premise solution. MaaS has definitely grown significantly in the ITMS industry with companies like ServiceNow growing at an exponential rate, but MaaS has yet to take off in the UC industry; possibly because of the high growth rates in UCaaS (where management plays such a critical role). At VOSS, we still think that the UC MaaS model will appeal to enterprises, driven by the promise of low-risk adoption and quick deployment, so maybe this will take off in 2018.
We are very proud of the 87% success-rate of our 2017 predictions. It is a testament to just how in-touch we are with the trends in the UC market. It is not surprising that we are all looking forward to repeating our success in the 2018 market predictions!
We'll be back in touch with our 2018 predictions later in December. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us to find out more about VOSS.