What’s the Difference between Cloud Communications and UCaaS
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Andy Cheng
July 30, 2020

Cloud Communications vs UCaaS: What’s the Difference?

The modern workplace is constantly changing. Today’s workers use their computers and smartphones to communicate in many ways, such as messaging, video, voice, and emails. The challenge is that, with so many different platforms, communication often gets diluted. People need to collaborate across devices, locations, and accounts. That’s why cloud communications are important.

All the technical jargon around communications technology can get confusing, especially when it comes to knowing the difference between regular cloud communication and unified communications as a service (UCaaS). For example, just because communication happens over the internet doesn’t mean it qualifies as UCaaS, and vice versa.

In order to understand what communications solutions work for you, let’s break down the nomenclature first.

What are cloud communications?

Cloud communications encompass all internet-based communications. They streamline collaboration by allowing users to access the platforms on any connected device.

Cloud communications platforms are hosted by a provider, off-site. The services are delivered over the public internet to an organisation that pays a subscription fee to use them.

Cloud communications come in different forms: team messaging, video conferencing, cloud telephony, text messaging, and email. Each of these cloud communications functions can exist as separate applications, whereas UCaaS rolls all of these functions into a single application, thus making it more efficient.

What gave rise to cloud communications?

There are three main factors that come into play as organisations adopt cloud communications: costmobility, and scalability.

Cost

Installing and maintaining a data hardware room is costly, but the costs don’t stop at the initial setup. When organisations have on-premises technology, they then have to hire an IT personnel to manage the systems, including adding new users, updating the software, and addressing server errors. With cloud-based tools, the provider is responsible for the setup and maintenance, and the user only pays a monthly subscription fee for the services they need.

Mobility

On-premises technology also mandates that an organisation maintain a physical office space, which can be costly when rent adds up, especially in expensive areas like city Centres. That means if an organisation has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, they have to front the cost of three separate servers. Cloud technology is accessible from anywhere.

Scalability

Finally, cloud services are more scalable than on-premises technologies. Once an organisation has transitioned to the cloud, it’s easy to add new features and new users to accommodate growth. An organisation with on-premises technology would need to add more hardware in order to scale up (or remove pieces to scale down). The benefit of a cloud provider is that they handle all of the updates, maintenance, and additions, so there’s no need to hire specialised IT personnel.

What is UCaaS?

Unified communications as a service, or UCaaS, includes several cloud communications tools packaged into a single platform. Think about the teaching “a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always a square.” It’s the same concept: “UCaaS is cloud communications, but not all cloud communications are UCaaS.”

UCaaS combines team messagingvideo conferencing, and cloud phone into a single app that users can access through the internet on any device. Rather than switching between applications to complete a communications loop, users can access every essential communication from within the unified communications platform.

Benefits of UCaaS

Simplifying every communication function onto a single platform has multiple benefits for individual users and organisations. Often, when organisations want to transition to a cloud-based workflow, they assume that more applications equal more efficiency. When it comes to communications, more technology does not mean more productivity. UCaaS enables greater functionality with less technology.

One way UCaaS makes workflows more efficient is by reducing “app overload.” Studies show that employees spend up to an hour a day toggling between different communication applications to complete a task. Every time they toggle, they lose focus—whether it’s waiting for apps to load, entering login information, or interrupting their train of thought.

Second, UCaaS is easier to manage than having multiple applications that cover the same functionality. For users, this means they only need to learn one interface. On the IT side, IT teams only need to manage, update, and support one application.

Moving to the cloud

UCaaS fosters effective communication and collaboration in the workplace. Employees can access messages, video conferences, phone calls, and relevant information all from any device of their choosing and from anywhere in the world. It’s a one-stop shop that not only makes communication convenient, but also fosters deeper levels of teamwork without being intrusive.

Unified communications solutions like the RingCentral app combine messaging, video conferencing, and phone on one platform, giving employees everything they need to collaborate from anywhere. As a single hub for all communication, the RingCentral app allows employees to switch between modes with a single click while keeping important information under one roof.