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An increasingly large number of Canadians are opting to work outside of traditional office settings, underscoring the need for businesses to adopt unified communications as a service (UCaaS) in order to keep employees connected regardless of their physical location.
According to a recent report from International Data Corporation (IDC) Canada, approximately 69 percent of all Canadians with a job are able to work while on the go or at home. By 2016, that figure is expected to rise to 73 percent.
The research cited a number of reasons for this growing trend, including an increased desire among employees to create a better work-life balance, an improvement in home and Wi-Fi internet speeds and a desire to avoid dealing with long commutes.
In particular, IDC noted that the increase in the number of Wi-Fi-enabled consumer devices like smartphones and tablets is fuelling this workforce trend. A recent survey from the Media Technology Monitor found that 55 percent of Anglophone Canadians – approximately 67 percent of all cell phone owners – have a smartphone. Additionally, the CBC reported that 28 percent of non-Quebecois Canadian residents own a tablet, up from 12 percent in 2011.
“With the growth of tablets and smartphones, improved network connectivity, and employee demand for greater work-life balance, Canadians are increasingly empowered with the tools to enable productive mobile work,” Krista Napier, Senior Analyst and Tracker Team Lead for Mobility at IDC Canada, said. “We expect to see healthy growth in the number of mobile workers in Canada over the forecast period, with the Canadian mobile worker population expected to increase from 68.9 percent in 2012 to 73 percent by 2016.”
Why UCaaS is ideal for a mobile workforce
While an increasingly mobile workforce will likely yield happier and more productive workers, this trend does present a number of obstacles for businesses to overcome. Perhaps one of the most significant hurdles will be to make sure that employees are able to effectively communicate with one another.
One of the best ways organizations can encourage communication between interested parties is by adopting a cloud-based UC system. In this way, all needs can be addressed. With unified communications, everyone can use the most effective communication method, be it email, video messaging, document sharing or live chat. Instead of flying to meet clients or gathering all employees in one room for a meeting, organizations with a UCaaS solution can have the meeting occur online via video conference.
With UC as a service, companies know that these vital communications tools can be accessed by workers no matter where they happen to be, so long as they have a secure connection to the network. Thanks to these unique capabilities, Frost & Sullivan has predicted the worldwide UCaaS market to grow significantly over the next few years.
“Down economy favouring OPEX-based solutions coupled with market’s need for flexibility and focus on core competencies, all boost cloud-based UC services adoption,” Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Dorota Oviedo said in a statement. “Both small businesses and large enterprises are interested in communications delivered as a service.”