By Grace Lau
Android is the biggest smartphone platform in the world.
Unified Communications software uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) networks to send and receive calls and messages over the internet.
This is faster than the standard public switched telephone network (PSTN), but as we’ll see the main benefit of VoIP vs. landline is that you’re connected to an ecosystem of internet services. These range from innovative products and experiences which will surprise and delight your customers. For cutting-edge back-end infrastructure, you need to stay competitive.
The Unified Communication (UC) field has evolved to grow a whole industry of Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) providers. They run their own data centers and manage back-end issues like security and server maintenance.
Think of it like Amazon Web Services for calling. Setting up a UC system is made fast, easy, and cheap. Businesses get to avoid upfront costs like equipment expenses or ongoing costs like billing for phone calls.
This unlocks new experiences for businesses and their customers. With a UCaaS provider, you can meet your customers where they are by running several communications channels on their preferred devices. But from your end, it’s all running on one unified interface.
With a UCaaS provider, you can transform your internal and external communications by unifying features like cloud-based telephone calls, cross-platform instant messaging, and live chat. You get SMS from dedicated business numbers, videoconferencing, interactive file-sharing, and virtual whiteboards.
Unified Communication doesn’t just run across devices. API integrations make it compatible with the software your team is already using. Beyond that, APIs make your company more agile by enabling you to integrate new services into your communications system with relatively little development time.
Before UCaaS, your IT/telecom staff were busy maintaining the system. Once you’ve got a UCaaS provider running the day-to-day issues, you can refocus your tech team on strategic advances like new API integrations.
By combining your unique mix of software services and providers, across customer support, marketing, and sales, you can generate data and analytics that no other company has access to.
Plugging your customer communications right into Zendesk or GSuite opens up new ways of working with your customers and this can also streamline the way you work internally.
Anyone can use their device of choice in whatever circumstances they’re in. Questions of how you can join that meeting while on the move, how to conference call on android devices, or how best to present your work to a fully-remote team are no longer issues you have to deal with.
UC puts all those issues “below the API”, so you can get on with the work that matters.
Who Needs Unified Communication?
Unified Communication offers improved team communication, increased productivity, and savings on operational costs.
Cisco and Nemertes found that UCaaS solutions saved the average company 30-50 minutes a day per employee, five hours a week on telephony IT support, $1,727 a month on mobile phone and long-distance charges, and reduced meeting times by 27%.
So it’s no surprise that small-to-medium enterprises are the fastest-growing adopters of UCaaS products. 61% of 21-100-person companies will purchase one by the end of 2021 if they haven’t already.
Benefits include faster support responses, resolution times, and the ability to handle service on any customer’s preferred channel. There are also fewer headaches as the whole company’s communications are on a single system.
Other benefits of a UCaaS solution include:
- Improved team communication and collaboration
- Increased employee productivity
- Greater flexibility during rapid growth, downsizing or moving between office and remote work
- Supplements in-house IT staff, who can now be re-assigned to more strategic tasks
- Easy integrations amongst products and solutions from different vendors
- The ability to collect analytics on customer and employee behavior working between services
By November 2020, McKinsey found that remote work was “concentrated among highly-skilled, highly educated workers in a handful of industries, occupations, and geographies.” But technologies like UC enable more industries to take full advantage of telework opportunities.
It’s not just about how they work internally. It’s about meeting users and customers where they are and delivering the convenience of online service they’ve become accustomed to.
In healthcare, UC is being used to offer telemedicine services to offer HIPAA-compliant standards of care. A patient’s whole care team can be spread out geographically. But they’re all able to communicate with their patient and each other seamlessly, sharing documents and even real-time patient data from Internet-of-Things healthcare devices.
In ecommerce, UCaaS allows customers to track deliveries in real-time across the web, email, and SMS with no delay across channels. UCaaS can get a text message about their new phone being delivered, then immediately receive an onboarding email to help them get it set up.
Schools and universities are complex organizations, but UCaaS connects separate departments and sources of data into user-friendly interfaces and remote classroom experiences for students.
In manufacturing, highly-automated UCaaS solutions allow couriers, distribution centers, and supply chain managers to keep in touch with each other and the extremely complex systems they’re managing.
A blockage at a port can be detected, and a ship heading there can automatically be told to slow down a touch so it arrives at a more opportune time.
Even home service providers like plumbers and electricians are benefitting from UCaaS. People can book and reschedule appointments and fill out customer surveys – all without compromising phone number privacy. As more industries catch up to the remote work revolution, the high speed and call quality of VoIP services provided by UCaaS become more important than ever.
In the world of software, developers have been thrust into remote work apps for close to two years and no doubt see things they can do better.
Tech has been one of the most forward-thinking sectors when it comes to remote work. But for people working to maintain huge platforms, build mobile apps, and come up with whole new product categories, all the while working remotely, there’s still so much potential for exploration in the remote-work space. Cross-platform UCaaS will be the foundation that these new products will be built on.
Unified Communication on Android
One benefit of Unified Communications is that it’s platform-agnostic. This allows you to enjoy the perks that Apple users have as part of one fully-integrated ecosystem.
2021’s Android 12 – used across phones by Samsung, Google, Xiaomi, and OnePlus – will allow users to connect to Chromebooks in the way that iPhones can share files instantly to Macs. And the new Windows 11 brings Android apps to your colleagues’ and clients’ work computers and office networks.
All of this is possible because Android is such an open ecosystem. That allows Android developers to quickly bring features like multitasking, scanning bar codes, and biometrics to the widest range of devices any OS boasts.
It’s the same principle as UCaaS’ API integrations applied on a huge scale. Open, interoperable ecosystems create an environment where a rising tide lifts all boats. When one part of the network gets better, it unlocks new possibilities for all the other platforms and services connected to it.
Closed ecosystems like iOS offer tight security and a polished user experience, but the rate of improvement is only as fast as the companies working on them.
Android is also extremely competitive on hardware. Innovative features such as wireless charging, OLED displays, and multi-lens cameras were all on Android before anywhere else. It’s an exciting time for Android. Google is the strongest AI player in the world and the AI-enabled features for their Pixel phones have now spread to other Android devices.
At the same time, we’re going to see augmented reality become our reality this decade. This will enable all kinds of innovations in the UC field we can’t even yet imagine.
Apple is making AR a priority with features like “view in AR”, LiDAR integration, and rumored AR glasses. But as with the “metaverse” – another promise about the future of work and communication – you can argue it makes for a healthier and more productive environment if it’s taking place across open standards and ecosystems like Android.
More urgently, Android phones are bringing 5G to every price point. Better, faster connections will allow more people to connect on the move. This potentially allows you to attend meetings while you’re traveling or maybe you’re just holding a video call from the far end of the house where the WiFi is weaker but the lighting is much better.
The Future of Unified Communications Is on Android
It’s a really exciting time for unified communications, and Android phones are in a great position to harness all the upcoming technology trends.
If you’re thinking of adopting unified communications in your company, UCaaS offers the best, most cost-effective, future-proof way to take advantage of this thriving ecosystem now.
About the Author
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, one of the leading UCaaS providers for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content.