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Healthcare Industry Is Key Sector Fueling UCC Market Growth

The healthcare industry will be one of the key sectors pushing UCC market growth, which is forecast by Global Market Insights to increase at a 9 percent CAGR and reach $57 billion by the end of 2024.

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Source: Thinkstock

By Fred Donovan

- The healthcare industry will be one of the key sectors pushing UCC market growth, which is forecast by Global Market Insights to grow at a 9 percent CAGR and reach $57 billion by the end of 2024.

Unified communications and collaboration, or UCC, integrate various communications services into a unified platform, helping companies to minimize service as well as hardware costs and improve worker productivity. These services include email, voice, instant messaging, desktop sharing, presence, and audio and video conferencing.

One challenge that could hold UCC growth back, particularly in the healthcare sector, is data security and interoperability with existing IT infrastructure, the UCC market report noted.

North America is forecast to account for the largest of the UCC market, owing to the availability of a cloud and telecom infrastructure across this region. However, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to post the strongest growth rate, reaching a 13 percent CAGR through 2024.

In a study published earlier this year, Spyglass Consulting Group said that 90 percent of hospitals surveyed have made or are planning to make significant investment in secure UCC and mobile devices

UCC will enable clinicians to use different communication services, such as voice over IP, secure text messaging, and video conferencing, Spyglass observed.

Hospitals are investing in next-generation communications platforms, such as UCC, to reduce costs, improve quality of care, and increase patient and staff satisfaction.

According to Spyglass, next-generation platforms are also providing hospitals with:

  • Cross platform support enabling clinicians to use mobile devices and/or web-based interfaces to support communications
  • Enterprise-wide directories integrated with the on-call scheduling system and care assignments database
  • Event-driven communications enabling clinicians to receive critical notifications from hospital legacy systems
  • Analytics and reporting tools enabling hospitals to measure communications tools usage and effectiveness

The Spyglass poll found that 73 percent of hospitals have developed or are developing mobile strategies to meet the communications, collaboration, and computer needs of clinicians and other mobile workers in medical departments, standalone hospitals, and ambulatory environments.

In addition, close to half of hospitals have identified returning on investment models to justify mobile investments that generate quantifiable metrics demonstrating cost reduction, outcome improvements, and patient and staff satisfaction.

Also, more than two-thirds of hospitals are using middleware to collect, monitor, and manage data, alerts, and alarms generated by hospital legacy systems, such as nurse call, biomedical devices, EHR, pharmacies, and laboratories.

The survey results were derived from more than 100 in-depth telephone interviews with hospital professionals, representing a range of medical fields, as well as organizational types and sizes, over a three-month period.

Gartner identified the following leading on-premises unified communication vendors: ALE, Avaya, Cisco, Huawei, Microsoft, Mitel, NEC, Unify. In terms of cloud-based unified communications as a service (UCaaS), Gartner named the following leading vendors: 8x8, AT&T, BroadSoft (Cisco), BT, Fuze, Google, Masergy, Microsoft, Mitel, NTT, Orange, RingCentral, Star2Star, Verizon, and West.

According to the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant report on UCaaS obtained by HITInfrastructure.com, UCC market is shifting from premises-based to cloud-based platforms. The report predicted that by 2021, 90 percent of IT leaders would be purchasing cloud-based UCaaS.

“There are two types of UCaaS cloud delivery architectures: multitenant and multi-instance. Both architectures possess the standard cloud characteristics of shared infrastructure (for example, data centers, racks, common equipment and blades), shared tools (for example, provisioning, performance and network management tools), per-user-per-month pricing, and elasticity to dynamically add and subtract users,” the Gartner report noted.

“However, in the multitenant version, all customers share a common (single) software instance, while in the multi-instance architecture, each customer receives its own software instance. The advantage of multitenant is that it is easier for the vendor to maintain, build and upgrade users when they are on the same software instance. In contrast, the advantage of multi-instance is that it allows customization to the needs of each organization, which is often favored by large customers,” it added.

The Gartner report concluded that most UCaaS vendors are currently embracing a multitenant, microservices, infrastructure as a service architecture.

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