2017 Will Be Year of the Cloud-Based Communications Provider

The world was a very different place in 2006.

Ten years ago, research firms like eMarketer were just beginning to forecast the IP telephony market, noting that cable providers and telecom companies would be going head to head "in the battle for residential and business VoIP subscribers" and predicting a "substantial migration" to VoIP services in the U.S.

This 2006 prediction wasn't wrong, but it didn't take into account the emergence of an entirely new class of cloud-based communications provider, one that isn't dependent upon legacy infrastructure.

Consumers today expect instantaneous, seamless communication with the brands they love. Traditional telecom carriers are often unable to support this innovation because they're bogged down by legacy networks, outdated regulatory controls, and sheer organizational girth.

By comparison, today's cloud-based communication providers can enable businesses to deploy, provision, and manage voice and messaging services directly through the network. These types of providers are disruptive because they aren't tied to a physical infrastructure -- everything operates via software and the cloud, making the deployment and provisioning of communication services simpler, faster, and less expensive.

In its 2016 Cloud Communications Survey, No Jitter Research found that "enterprises are drawn to cloud communications services for many different reasons. Chief among them... total cost of ownership compared to on-premises solutions (24%), and the agility to add features, functions, and/or users quickly in response to business needs (19%)."

As a result, there's been a dramatic transformation in how businesses access and utilize voice, messaging, and other telecommunications services to engage with their customers -- for example, think of texting a driver with a car sharing service or engaging with a customer support agent by way of phone, video, or SMS to resolve issues. Communications platform as a service (CPaaS) allows businesses to use communications services in innovative new ways to improve the customer experience, add functionality to existing products and services, and increase profits.

What does this mean for 2017? Here are several trends to expect in the year ahead as companies increasingly turn to IP communications services to reach new audiences:

It will be interesting to see how these predictions unfold next year, and over the next 10 years for that matter!