2019 Top UCaaS Providers (so far)
In alphabetical order, and according to CP, written by Edward Gately and includes contributions from industry experts: 451 Research’s Raul Castanon-Martinez, J Arnold & Associates’s Jon Arnold, and Forrester’s Jay McBain, the 2019 top UCaaS providers (so far).
Castanon-Martinez and McBain said 8×8 remains a successful, cutting-edge UCaaS provider. Last week, 8×8 unveiled its new Meetings experience that provides video communication with voice, chat and one-touch conferencing. The solution provides a video collaboration platform supporting voice and video on any device on the 8×8 cloud-first environment, which is globally scalable with a server architecture built for WebRTC.
Castanon-Martinez said Amazon Web Services (AWS) belongs on the list of successful providers. Alexa for Business is one of the ways AWS is making a strong push into the enterprise space, and they’re using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate running meetings, Arnold said.
“Security for all cloud solutions continues to gain attention and increased requirements,” said Julie Dzubay, vice president of sales operations, and editorial advisory board member. “Innovative ideas for securing data, improving performance, ease of doing business and providing business insights through data analytics are becoming more important in the decision-making process.”
Avaya remains on our list of successful providers. It has launched a new multitenant UCaaS platform geared to the small business market. Avaya has 3.7 million cloud seats between its public and private offerings, and said it continues to see increased adoption of its cloud solutions across a wide range of industries.
Castanon-Martinez said Cisco continues to “give battle” and is on the offensive to remain among the top unified communications and collaboration (UCC) players. McBain also cited it as a successful provider.
“We continue to see maturation of the UCaaS market with consolidation and price compression as indicators,” McBain said. “There are startups building disruptive point solutions in this space and the larger providers need to welcome them into the ecosystem.”
Castanon-Martinez and McBain cited Fuze as a successful provider, and Transparency Market Research lists Fuze among the five leading global UCaaS companies.
In addition, Fuze was the winner of the 2018 Aragon Research Innovation Award for technology in the voice-centric collaboration category. The award recognizes providers leveraging visionary use of technology to not only adapt as markets change, but to actively disrupt and inform how their markets will evolve.
Another player to keep an eye on this year is Google, which at last year’s Cloud Next announced an enterprise version of Google Voice for G Suite users, available via an early adopter program, Castanon-Martinez said. Though not yet generally available, the addition of Google Voice should bridge the gap with key players Cisco and Microsoft, which leverage voice communications as a central component of their respective productivity and collaboration portfolios.
Both Castanon-Martinez and McBain cite Intermedia as a successful provider. Earlier this month, Intermedia launched Unite Envision, a new analytics platform that allows administrators and partners to visualize, in real time, the performance of its Unite UCC system. Intermedia Unite integrates a business phone with web and video conferencing, team chat, file sharing and backup, and other features.
Jive (by LogMeIn)
Dzubay said Jive by LogMeIn continues to be an innovator in this competitive space with a reputation for strong vertical offerings. LogMeIn acquired Jive last year.
Castanon-Martinez and McBain said Masergy remains a cutting-edge provider. At this week’s Enterprise Connect conference, Masergy launched a new AI-powered virtual agent. Masergy Intelligent Virtual Agent powers virtual assistant and chatbot features for the company’s global UCaaS offerings. It also serves as the queueing agent for its cloud contact center platform.
Although by no means a new player, among the UCC innovators that need to be spotlighted is Metaswitch, which earlier this year launched MaX UC, an in-network, mobile-native UCC offering that features one-touch in-call via native dialer, network-powered multiple persona support and business-quality voice features.
Microsoft is on the offensive to remain among the top UCC players, and has made significant strides in the last year targeting field workers, mobile employees and front-line workers with Teams, Castanon-Martinez said.
Castanon-Martinez and McBain cited Mitel as continuing to be a successful provider. Earlier this month, Mitel appointed Daniel Farrar, previously CEO of Switchfly, as executive vice president and general manager of its UCaaS business unit.
Mitel has more than 4.6 million cloud seats and more than 1.3 million UCaaS seats globally.
Nextiva remains a cutting-edge provider, both Castanon-Martinez and McBain said. Earlier this month, Nextiva was named in the Customers’ Choice Zone in Gartner’s Peer Insights “Voice of the Customer”: UCaaS Worldwide report. Providers are chosen for this report based on reviews by customers who have experience using a variety of solutions.
“Unified communications provides real-time collaboration capabilities that enable employees to meet, message and share content, which accelerates decision making and boosts worker productivity,” McBain said. “Today, more than 60 percent of global telecom decision makers are planning to implement, are implementing or are expanding their use of UC.”
Among the emerging vendors giving established players a run for their money is Quobis, a Spanish UCC startup whose solutions include Sippo Web Collaborator, a WebRTC-enabled UC suite that provides features such as video conferencing, call recording and screen sharing.
RingCentral remains among cutting-edge providers, both Castanon-Martinez and McBain said. This month, the company rolled out new enterprise products, including an open platform expansion, new APIs and a cloud reliability product.
“There has been some consolidation in the UCaaS space in the last year,” Dzubay said. “While RingCentral, Mitel, and 8×8 continue a strong growth path as top established players, smaller UCaaS providers have added strength to their offering through acquisition such as the Broadvoice acquisition of YipTel. Google and Microsoft are gaining mindshare as they gain recognition as UCaaS options via the cloud space.”
Slack remains a successful provider [in the team collaboration and enterprise messaging space], Castanon-Martinez said.
Castanon-Martinez said another interesting innovator is Tango Networks, whose portfolio of mobile-native services now includes its acquisition last year of Simetric Telecom, which effectively positions it as a global private mobile network.
In February, Tango unveiled its Kinetic Cloud Mobile-X, a communications service that creates a private mobile network controlled by an enterprise for maximizing productivity of its distributed workforce.
Verizon remains among the top UCaaS providers, Castanon-Martinez and McBain said.
“We certainly have the major incumbents at the top of the food chain … and these companies are still the dominant players, but to defend their positions, they’ve all had to make significant moves to become more cloud-focused, more AI capable, so they’ve all been buying companies in those spaces to add pieces to their portfolios and get to the cloud faster,” Arnold said.
Vonage is making strides with One Vonage, bringing programmable communications into UC, Castanon-Martinez said.
“Though not the only vendor doing so, I think they’re one of a few leading the way,” he said. “RingCentral also recently expanded its capabilities with programmable communications. I think this will be a key differentiation for these players and increasingly relevant for UC providers.”