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Aragon Research, one of the leading IT research companies in the Unified Communication and Collaboration marketplace, recently announced their long-awaited Research Globe for 2018. The "Globe" is very similar to the Gartner Magic Quadrant, as it separates significant providers in the UC&C space into different sections depending on their performance and international reach.
This year, the Aragon Research Globe for 2018 featured:
Introducing the Aragon Research Globe Leaders
Similarly to the Gartner Magic Quadrant, the Aragon Research Globe represents an in-depth analysis of the Unified Communication and Collaboration market and the vendors that are doing incredible things within that space. Every year, Aragon conduct a detailed investigation into the potential of each vendor in the UC&C space and create their globe based on their findings. This year's globe has delivered a well-respected selection of leaders, including cloud giants like Google, and Fuze.
Though there are various segments in the Aragon Research Globe, the part that is most attractive to many of today's consumers is the "Leadership" portion. Leaders in the Globe have the most comprehensive strategies available, designed to align with industry growth and market demand. Here's what you need to know about the Aragon Research Globe Leaders for 2018.
Importantly, unlike the Gartner Magic Quadrant, the Aragon Research Globe also includes mentions of "notable" companies that were not included in the report for the year. This year, the brands that received an honorable mention included BlueJeans, PGI, Zoom, AT&T, and Amazon.
Avaya is a company that has seen various ups and downs in the last year or so. In 2017, Avaya exited Chapter 11 and has since celebrated a spotless balance sheet and a new management team led by the innovative Jim Chirico. Currently, the product leading the way for the new Avaya is Avaya Equinox, a UCC solution that combines older systems into a new and intuitive platforms. Avaya has been building out an extensive range of solutions in its portfolio, and the Avaya Equinox system ensures that today's companies can have the perfect blend of industry-leading tools to delight their customers and support their employees.
Cisco is one of the best-known Unified Communication and Collaboration vendors on the market. The complete UCC portfolio offered by Cisco comes from the "Spark" platform, which combines everything from Meeting rooms and messaging to video endpoints. Cisco's advanced UCC platform integrate with a range of core offerings, including the Cisco Unified Communications Manager, and the Cisco WebEx solution for enterprise chat and collaboration. According to the Aragon Globe, Cisco is also known for having one of the most comprehensive videos and voice conferencing platforms on the current market. Interoperability is also a massive bonus with Cisco, thanks to its open APIs, integrations, and SDKs.
Fuze, an innovative communication company that's based in Boston, built upon its management team in 2017 with the addition of new CEO, Colin Doherty. Of course, an expanded management team isn't the only thing that Cisco has introduced this year. Cisco also offers a complete UCC platform that provides seamless user experiences to companies seeking a range of unified communication and collaboration solutions. The cloud-native Fuze platform includes HD video conferencing, cloud-based voice, messaging, and more as standard, providing a wide range of consumers with a seamless experience across both their mobile and desktop environments. Fuze also offers a fantastic convergence between both video and web conferencing, for a more comprehensive collaboration solution.
Google has long been one of the major contenders in the Unified Communication and Collaboration space. This year, Google continues to impress in the Aragon Globe with its impeccable Hangouts Platform, which was re-designed in 2017 to feature both Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. Today, Both Hangouts Meet and Chat work correctly on a range of devices, to ensure that employees around the world can continue to collaborate using the tools that are best suited to their needs. Google also comes with the added benefit of an entire productivity suite, featuring solutions like Google Drive, Calendar, Gmail and more. In 2018, Google also announced the delivery of a new Hangouts hardware kit for people who want to build out their communication strategy with advanced in-person meetings.
Microsoft is another of the biggest names in the unified communication and collaboration environment this year, particularly thanks to the growing popularity of Microsoft Teams. As collaboration tools continue to become more popular in businesses around the world, Microsoft Teams is quickly becoming one of the leading contenders for delivering innovative mobile and desktop user experience, with full mobile messaging support. Although it will take some time for certain consumers to get used to the switch from Skype for Business, the previous Microsoft flagship, to Microsoft Teams, the consumer group for this brand is quickly growing. Teams work well across a range of operating systems according to the Aragon Research Globe.
RingCentral offers an extensive UCC platform solution with its flagship PBX platform and mobile collaboration service. RingCentral also supports instant messaging with the Glip platform - a system for messaging and collaboration. Glip has recently become a fully-integrated part of the RingCentral Office experience. In 2017, the company previewed it's unified platform and began rolling out beta features for select customers. In the years to come, we're bound to see an increased number of features on the RingCentral Office flagship product, as well as upgrades to RingCentral's video, voice, and cloud contact center solutions.
Finally, Unify, a brand by Atos, made a considerable impact on the UC&C space over the last couple of years with its decision to introduce the OpenScape Cloud to the communication environment. OpenScape Cloud currently provides a fantastic roadmap for new and existing clients that want to take advantage of the perfect blend of cloud, on-premise and hybrid options for their communication stack. There's also the option to explore the benefits of Unify Circuit, the company's mobile collaboration platform that offers support for voice, messaging, video, screen sharing and more.
What the Aragon Research Globe Tells Us about UC&C
The Aragon Research globe examines 15 of the most competitive providers in the unified communication and collaboration space, assessing their potential in the current market. This year, the Globe drew attention to the evolving nature of the UC&C space. As intelligent devices make their way into the industry, we're seeing a significant shift in the way that communication is managed.
According to the Aragon Research Globe, email and voice communications continue to be the primary modes of communication in the enterprise. However, as the marketplace grows more agile, real-time solutions like instant messaging are becoming increasingly popular. Many enterprises are still in the process of discovering what new communication strategies might mean to them, from video conferencing to real-time text messaging and collaboration portals.
For years, Unified Communications has always been built around a voice-led product offering. However, as the market has shifted, buyers are demanding more than just voice. UCaaS providers are now finding their space in the industry, as the demand for converged solutions that offer mobile, video, collaboration and more continues to grow. According to the Aragon Research Globe, the year ahead will change the way we define UCC with offerings that begin to leverage multiple communication options at once.
The Future UCC Platform
The Aragon Research Globe isn't just a way to rank UCC providers according to the completeness of their marketplace offering. This year's globe also drew attention to the fact that many of the factors involved with Unified Communications are changing. The most significant components of an effective UC&C solution in the years to come according to Aragon research include:
Voice: Voice services may be evolving, but they're still a crucial component of the UCC platform. The market for voice communication is beginning to move more rapidly towards the cloud, and the demand for voice is starting to be overshadowed by a need for video and messaging. However, Aragon believes that voice shouldn't be overlooked in your UC strategy.
Video: Users in the modern marketplace are beginning to recognize the power of video for communications. In the age of the remote worker, video is an increasingly common component of keeping employees connected and engaged. Aragon believes that the best video services should be able to work seamlessly and securely on any device to support the rise of the BYOD format.
Video Mobility: Following on from the video requirement, Aragon also feels that video needs to be a mobile experience that can transition from room to room. As such, UC&C environments may begin to replace the standard conferencing room with huddle rooms that can offer more agile video experiences on a rapid basis. This will lead to low-cost solutions that make it easier for small and mid-size enterprises to experience the best meeting room experiences.
Mobile collaboration: Messaging is crucial in the UC&C marketplace today. To truly unlock the potential of messaging, today's companies need a system that they can access just as easily on smartphones and mobile devices, as they can on their computers. The modern UCC platform will include an all-encompassing messaging system that keeps team members working together efficiently around the world.
Aragon also believes that artificial intelligence and chatbots will have a part to play in the transforming UC&C space. Chatbots are quickly evolving to become fully-fledged digital assistants that can efficiently support the people-centric view of modern companies. As customer experiences rise to the top of any organization's strategy for long-term success, the vision for the digital assistant is becoming increasingly refined. Aragon believes that by the end of 2021, around 40% of all UCC providers will be able to offer an AI-based digital assistant to support collaboration and communication.
Already, leaders in the Aragon Globe like Google are excelling in these various UC&C elements. Google offers their "Ok Google" assistant to support productivity and search in the workplace, along with easy-to-use AI frameworks for companies that want to build their own bots using SDKs and APIs.
Putting People at the Center of UCC
This year's research Globe from Aragon highlighted some essential elements demonstrating how the digital environment for communication and collaboration is likely to evolve in the years ahead. However, of all the trends that Aragon discussed, the most important of all was the rise of people centricity in the workplace. Aragon believes that there is a growing need to place people at the heart of any UCC decision. As we continue to move forward with a focus on UX and CX in communication and collaboration solutions, use cases will help to guide people in their decisions, along with the use of prescriptive and predictive analysis.
According to Aragon, people-centric collaboration is all about enabling seamless communication and cooperation in the workforce. When you can keep your teams connected effectively, it's not just your internal users that feel the benefit. The right UCC solutions will spill over into the experiences that your agents can offer to end-customers. After all, when people have access to the correct information and support from their coworkers, it becomes a lot easier for them to deliver the solutions and support that customers need at a rapid pace.
Are you prepared for the changing UCC environment? Which of the market leaders will you be using in your strategy? For help setting up your UCC campaign, contact the team at Coolhead Tech today!