How will unified communications shape the way we do business in 2017 and beyond? We’ll be seeing a greater focus on mobile, an increased use of APIs, and cloud-based collaboration will play a greater role in the workplace. These topics and more are covered in a white paper by analyst Brian Riggs of Ovum. The full report is available on Voxbone’s website.

Predictions are that UC providers will seek to modernize their offerings, expand their reach, and appeal to large enterprises and small businesses alike, as real-time communication becomes more mainstream than ever. Vendors are also getting involved by introducing their own hosted UC solutions (Microsoft’s Skype for Business, Cisco’s Spark, Avaya’s OnAvaya, etc.). The number of communications offerings to choose from just keeps on growing.

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Ovum sees employees in 2017 using a variety of software-based tools, not only within organizations but also within teams, as individuals adopt their own preferred options. Another big trend is the rise of mobile communications within the workplace, which will continue to displace traditional devices like the desk phone. Therefore, Ovum recommends businesses take steps to integrate mobile applications into their cloud-based UC platforms.

The use of APIs is making embeddable communications tools more accessible and prevalent, allowing employees to enable capabilities like videoconferencing from within apps that wouldn’t otherwise support it. The digital workplace is seeing more workers collaborating with one another in the cloud, whether they work remotely or share an office. As for client-facing communications, APIs are enabling e-commerce customers, for example, to contact companies directly from a website or apps, with the click of a button. And businesses are able to reach their customers using multiple channels such as voice and SMS, by integrating business applications such as CRMs and other management platforms.

With the increasing diversity of features, coupled with the ability to integrate applications within UC, one thing remains constant–companies of all sizes are making technology shifts from on-premises communications to the cost-effective and increasingly flexible hybrid or fully cloud-based solutions.

Want to dig into the details? Read the white paper here and see what Ovum’s observations and predictions for unified communications mean for investors, providers and businesses in the years to come.

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