Thanks to cloud computing, the way people communicate and collaborate has already changed dramatically. Teams can work from anywhere without missing a beat. Businesses are staying productive and maintaining data security, whether employees are fully remote, partially working from home, or in transition. And in 2020, we found out how adaptable we truly are when we combine creativity with technology. What’s in store for next year? Let’s look at the 2021 trends in cloud communication.
Video is the new voice
In 2020, many businesses relied on cloud-based video conferencing software for everything from sales meetings to team collaborations as a good chunk of their workforce – if not their whole team – switched to working from home. Cloud computing enables incredibly high-quality video chats, brainstorming sessions, employee training, and virtual coffee breaks with co-workers because all the video mixing and compression happen on cloud servers.
In 2021, expect cloud-based video to be the go-to way to communicate. As Harry Moseley, Global CIO of Zoom said in a recent interview, “Video is the new voice.” With mobile cloud apps, face-to-face communication with team members, business partners, and clients is possible with the touch of a button – from any device and from anywhere.
Edge computing will unlock the potential of cloud communication apps
Viewed as the evolution of cloud computing, the edge offers a serverless computing model through the creation of distributed service layers around the cloud. The benefits of the edge will push the possibilities of a work-from-anywhere model even further ahead: lower latency, enhanced responsiveness, and real-time functionality.
Steven Miller-Jones, vice president of edge strategy and solution architecture at Limelight Networks explains, “Enterprises are looking at the network edge to bridge the gap between the centralized cloud and end-users, providing low-latency application and content performance for all users.”
Edge computing won’t replace the cloud, but it will enhance it in 2021. The edge enables developers to create more dynamic and responsive communication and collaboration apps, knowing that users will be able to access applications from anywhere without worrying about performance or lagging issues.
Businesses will look to streamline cloud apps with UCaaS
The coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to pivot fast. For those that patched together several software as a service (SaaS) collaboration and communication tools to make remote work possible in 2020, 2021 will be the year to streamline.
Instead of juggling several apps – and paying for multiple SaaS subscriptions – for SMS, file sharing, virtual staff training, and other tasks, businesses can get everything they need in one application with integrated unified communications as a service (UCaaS).
UCaaS will play a big role in 2021 for both SMBs and enterprises. Employees can connect, communicate, and share from any device, all from one central app. As a SaaS solution, your UCaaS will translate to lower IT costs because there’s no need to manage and update hardware. And, scaling is simple. You can pay for what you need and the software will grow with you as your business expands.
AI combined with communication tools will drive better decisions
Artificial intelligence, when applied to UCaaS, cloud-based call center software, and video conferencing, can analyze large amounts of data, identify patterns, and offer useful insights that can inform smarter business decisions. AI-driven metrics provide information on how employees interact, as well as offering customer experience data, and overall usage data. Real-time analytics can take this one step further with highly relevant business intelligence that managers and IT teams can use to enhance everything from app performance to customer service.
In 2021, we can expect that more cloud communication and collaboration tools will offer analytics and reporting capabilities, and that providers will improve on existing analytics features.
In 2021, cloud communications will be the norm
Cloud adoption and the use of cloud-based communications and collaboration apps has been increasing for years. However, with lockdowns and other workforce restrictions, 2020 saw a spike in cloud-based web conferencing, call center as a service, cloud-based telephony, and UCaaS.
The shift to remote work and heavy dependence on virtual tools is expected to slow down somewhat next year, but some changes will remain over the long-term thanks to high adoption rates this year and the convenience, flexibility, and cost-saving benefits of cloud communication solutions. Gartner predicts that by 2024, in-person meetings will likely account for only 25 percent of all meetings, compared to 60 percent pre-COVID.
This will be an interesting space to watch throughout 2021 and beyond. Follow the Intermedia blog to stay up-to-date with cloud communications trends and news.
December 30, 2020
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