What is UCaaS?
The funny thing about acronyms is that even though they often look strange in their abbreviated style, they usually make sense when in their lengthened form. When it comes to the acronym ‘UCaaS,’ however, this isn’t your usual case. UCaaS stands for Unified Communications as a Service, but does that really answer your question as to what it means?
Lucky for those of us still confused, it can be broken down even further. ‘Unified Communications’ represents the integration (or union) of the variety of communications, such as phone, chat, and video conferencing. In other words, it means to provide ways of interaction across different communication channels. ‘As a Service’ represents the delivery model for cloud service and software that is exclusive to communication tools and APIs (API stands for Application Programming Interface, which is a software intermediary that allows two applications to communicate with each other.)
Putting these two definitions together, Unified Communications as a Service is what blends internet-based phone and messaging into a full-featured communications platform. Companies adopt UCaaS to provide their staff with collaboration tools that can allow them to work from anywhere.
Essential UCaaS functions
Unified Communications as a Service has proven to be the most resilient enterprise communication service; now companies don’t have to run analog phone lines to each staff member to talk and work on projects, not to mention how it operates in the cloud and therefore withstands natural disasters. UCaaS essentially takes the best features of an office phone system and combines them with other real-time messaging apps, and then delivers both in an intuitive way. UCaaS solutions function across a user’s computer, desk phone, and smartphone, hence companies’ staff being able to work from anywhere as mentioned before, but the value to UCaaS goes beyond this.
Due to the high number of communication apps and how separate and dissimilar many of them are, there is an air of uncertainty when it comes to the varying platforms. This is an issue that UCaaS solves by bringing VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol, a technology that lets anyone place a phone call over an internet connection), video conferencing, instant messaging, and collaboration tools together as one.
There are five essential UCaaS functions: voice, video, messaging, collaboration, and cloud-based. Voice as an essential function represents the phone service that includes call forwarding, call recording, and advanced call routing. Video is in reference to one-to-one and multi-participant video conferencing for meetings; guests are able to join through web conferencing. Messaging represents internal team instant messaging that provides individual and group-based real-time chat, collaboration means tools that enhance workplace collaboration and teamwork among employees with scheduling and project management, and cloud-based references how meetings and interactions through UCaaS will be hosted over the internet in a dedicated private cloud to preserve security and safety.
In addition to the flexibility for staff to work from home that had been mentioned earlier, UCaaS is less expensive and provides more value than your existing phone system. By switching to the cloud, businesses can save on service contracts, real estate, and utilities. Furthermore, due to the increasing remote work, there has been a rising concern about online security as communication channels are crucial to maintaining the continuity of businesses, so UCaaS practices a defensive security strategy that includes call encryptions and detailed call logs.
Another equally important advantage UCaaS offers is a better customer experience, as by surveying customers at key points along the customer journey, you can reduce churn and provide better assistance. Customers can also receive equal support whether over the phone, via email, or even on social media.
Top UCaaS Providers
Nextiva, Ring Central, and Zoom are a few of the top UCaaS providers. Given that they’re UCaaS providers, they each have many features in common, but each are still recognized for specific aspects. Nextiva features unified phone, messaging, collaboration, ticketing, and CRM (customer relationship management), which would explain why it is commonly ranked one of the highest among providers.
Ring Central is a communications solution with voice, fax, text, conferencing, and web meetings. It offers flexibility and scalability to create collaborative cultures and is known to be a secure solution that can be deployed and scaled up or down in minutes.
And of course everyone has heard of Zoom; adults use the platform for business and children use it for school. It unifies voice, meetings, and chat into one simple solution and features video webinars for up to 50,0000 people and 100+ interactive video panelists.
UCaaS, or Unified Communications as a Service is a cloud delivery model that provides a range of communication and collaboration applications and services, and Nextiva, Ring Central, and Zoom are a few of the highest rated UCaaS providers. UCaaS lowers communication costs without reducing productivity and is known for offering flexibility and scalability for core business obligations and responsibilities. Furthermore, employees can collaborate on projects in one workspace, provide customers the best customer experience, and streamline many communications tools. UCaaS was already being used when the COVID pandemic struck, but it still experienced a surge in businesses, transforming the way companies operate today. The world of technology around us is actively changing, growing, and improving, and one of the best ways to experience this yourself is by transitioning to UCaaS.