Matrix-NDI Telecom 10 Podcast 4: UCaaS

In this episode of our Telecom 10 podcast, we’re speaking with Matrix-NDI Account Executive, Jason Cardwell, about how Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) can transform businesses and enhance hybrid work models.


Tana (00:01):

Hello and welcome back to the Telecom 10 with Matrix-NDI. My name is Tana, and today I have one of our account executives, Jason Cardwell with me again, and we are going to dive into UCaaS, which stands for Unified Communications as a Service. Welcome back, Jason.

Jason (00:17):

Hey, thanks, Tana. It's good to be here. I appreciate it.

Tana (00:19):

So why don't we start off with you giving us a brief overview of UCaaS; what it is, what it's used for, all that good stuff.

Jason (00:27):

Yeah, it's probably one of the most used topics today in conversation points with anyone we're speaking to. It doesn't matter the industry. And it doesn't matter where the business is located. So we, when you think about Unified Communications service, most businesses traditionally have had phone systems, and those phone systems have provided certain functions for the business.

But when Covid came and everyone had the experience of having to vacate the physical premise building, if those phone systems didn't allow the extension of that technology into the homes or the devices that the employees were using, now all of a sudden, that phone system became obsolete as a tool for them to communicate, perform their mission, and continue to conduct business.

And so Unified Communications as a Service is basically the phone system in and of itself now located in what we call carriers, data center, or the quote-unquote cloud, which is really a carrier's data center. The phone system's now software, it's been built into that data center, and it's delivered via the internet. And people can subscribe to their solution as a service and access the features and functions that a phone system would provide, but now they can do it from any device of their choice, no matter where they are in the world via the internet or cellular services.

Tana (01:47):

So like an application on your phone or your computer or tablet?

Jason (01:53):

Precisely. Yeah. And that's, I mean, even that is a larger topic of Unified Communications service today 'cause carriers have created either a) their own solution, right? Or some carriers have worked with the solutions that were already out there from a video and conferencing platform. So I can think of RingCentral, for example, that's basically designed their own application.

Whereas Zoom has taken the platform they were already offering via video and conferencing and turned that into their phone system. There's a flavor of that with a partner of ours, CallTower for Microsoft Teams, but there's several others, such as 8x8 and Nextiva, and many providers that have created their own application or softphone and or from any device, right, just the application itself.

Tana (02:41):

And so, say people like to have a physical desk phone, they don't wanna use their cell phone, they like the old school model, or they have a phone to pick up, and it rings. I know we offer multiple solutions here, but are there any providers that, you know, we are a seller of that have that option?

Jason (02:59):

So the phones have become standardized, for lack of a better term. So most, and this was even prior to Unified Communications service, there was a protocol SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), but it's - think of open source, right? Software's ability to write to other software applications to make an introduction.

So Polycom was a big provider originally of telephones and still are today. And their phones were open source, so they could work on what was premise-based systems. But today, in the UCaaS space, almost every carrier out there, if they offer a physical phone or a physical set, it's a, it's a Polycom phone, but there's other options. There's Yealink phones. There's a tremendous amount of options today. And some of the UCaaS providers will offer their own phone. It's just a means to try to keep costs down as well on the actual purchase of the handset.

Tana (03:49):

Okay, that makes sense. So I know you mentioned a few different solutions a couple minutes ago, but as far as Matrix-NDI, what UCaaS solutions do we offer and recommend to our customers?

Jason (04:01):

That is, for us, that's the fun piece. So we're not necessarily married to, for lack of a better term, a specific Unified Communications service provider. We can access pretty much most of, I would say, the top 10 providers consistently. So we can sit down and really listen to our client's needs, and that's the important piece of Unified Communication service. There's so many offerings today, so many options, and so many applications.

So it's, it's sitting down with the business and exploring what do they have today from an application landscape perspective, like what are all the applications they have? If they were to take a look at each of their departments, how often are the applications used? What are the applications being used for? And what are the most commonly used applications? And based on that common usage, could any of those applications work or fit into one of our UCaaS solutions?

Jason (04:50):

The benefit of that being a good majority of their employees already use that application a high percentage of time, so they're familiar with it. And we talk about phone system change-out. There's always the culture question, like, who's ready to make a change? Who's gonna adopt the new technology, and who's gonna utilize it if we roll it out, which is what ultimately makes it efficient for a business? So if there's a higher percentage of employees using something they're familiar with, our experience is, chances are if we made that their phone system too, they would just naturally gravitate towards it or adopt it.

So when we talk about UCaaS, we wanna really explore what exists today, what could be provided. And then when we talk about providers that can do that, I would say within the top 10 you know, every day we're talking about RingCentral, we're talking about Call Tower, we're talking about Zoom, we're talking about 8x8, Nextiva, there's, there's Google plays with Dialpad, there's Vonage. So you really have choice. So it's really gonna come down to what are they trying to accomplish, what's in their environment today, what's the price point they want to hit? And then another piece, you know, gets into the certification area of Unified Communications as a Service and what other software platforms they play with and what they've certified to.

Tana (05:59):

Okay. So that kinda leads me into this question. We work with every vertical right here at Matrix-NDI. As far as the healthcare industry or even the financial, you know, sector in general, there's a lot of certifications that to follow with privacy, things like that. So just talking about healthcare in general, would any of our UCaaS solutions be HIPAA compliant, and would they be able to use that in a healthcare situation?

Jason (06:24):

Yeah, great question. I mean, that's fantastic. So the answer is yes. Several of the UCaaS providers have gone through the links in the depths needed, both in their own employee personnel, right? So a lot of them bring on specialists that focus on a healthcare vertical or a financial vertical, or a manufacturing vertical. But in addition to the expertise they've brought on staff, the company in and of itself has gone through the measures that they need to make their solution compliant.

And so, HIPAA compliant is probably one of the most important pieces within the healthcare space. And you have the financial, as you referenced, so most of the providers we work with have that already taken care of. So they can offer and extend their UCaaS solution out into the healthcare, the financial, you know, in other industries or verticals.

Tana (07:12):

And I can see how that'd be really valuable in the healthcare space. Just thinking about nurses, doctors, surgeons, people that work in hospitals, they're on their feet, they're moving around having RingCentral or a tool like that where they could carry a mobile device versus a pager and a phone and another phone, this could really kind of create a one-stop shop for communicating with them in general.

Jason (07:34):

That, that's exactly right. And that's the, what I would say, that's become the benefit of taking a look at the newer technology; it's because the applications can be used on any device of choice, for the most part. Now it's about, okay, well then, what is the right device? We talk about healthcare; well, could there be a tablet that can access multiple healthcare applications or solutions from the same device that now your softphone can run over too?

So now you don't need to have necessarily multiple devices. So the flexibility of the software itself, the fact that most of the top providers are open source, so they can integrate, and their software can tie into other softwares, but the devices then can access that software. You can now use one device for more, which, exactly as you alluded to, is a huge benefit in the healthcare space.

Tana (08:22):

Awesome. So kind of my final question just surrounding UCaaS for today. We've talked a lot about voicemail, you know, voice just calling. Are there other features that you'd like to highlight around UCaaS?

Jason (08:36):

Yeah, I mean, the top features are, are voice, right? Having voice conversations. You can now do SMS. So most of us use texting literally as a primary means of communication, whether it be family, friends, and in many cases, sometimes coworkers. So you can blend in your SMS texts into that application as well. So that's become a really popular use. You can do faxing.

So the benefit there being is with certain providers, you don't have to have separate numbers today for voice or SMS or fax or video or conference, right? You can just give one number out. It's a work number. It's not a cell phone number. So that remains masked and hidden for you. So there's privacy for the employee, but you only have to give out one number, and if someone wants to use it for multiple means, voice, SMS, video, fax, chat, for example, they can just use one number, and that's really the benefit. So most of the ways people communicate can all be done by one number, and it can all be done through UCaaS,

Tana (09:35):

And that sounds so easy.

Jason (09:36):

It is. It's so easy, and people already know how to use those devices. So it's not retraining on the device; it's just a new application on the device. And because it's the same application, if I go from a laptop to a smartphone or to a desktop computer, once they understand the application, it's the same on all of their devices. So it's an easy learning curve, and most people are pretty good and intuitive today because of how much we use smartphones and applications, of going in, and it's no longer a daunting task. It's easy. They're familiar with what an application looks like, and they're familiar with sort of poking around it until they can understand how it works.

Tana (10:16):

Awesome. Well, that is all the time we have today. Thanks again for joining us, Jason, and discussing UCaaS. I'm sure we'll be talking about this more in the future as technology evolves, as it always does.

Jason (10:29):


Tana (10:30):

But yeah, so thank you guys for turning in, tuning into this episode of the Telecom 10 with Matrix-NDI. My name is Tana, and if you'd like to learn more about Matrix-NDI, you can find our website at www.matrix-ndi.com. Or you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the handle @matrix_ndi. Thanks again.


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