Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) have become increasingly popular over the past several years in industries such as tech, manufacturing, and healthcare. As we continue to discover new ways to support remote work, the need for tools that promote communication and collaboration from a distance will continue to grow. And while many are familiar with how UCaaS and CCaaS can increase productivity and connection for employees working from home, they’re not the only ones who can benefit. The education industry, including higher education and K-12 schools, is also beginning to recognize the importance of these collaborative and streamlined tools.
Before exploring what UCaaS and CCaaS can offer the education industry, let’s briefly look at the differences between the two.
What Is Included in Unified Communications and CCaaS?
UCaaS platforms focus predominately on internal communication functions, while contact center platforms streamline touchpoints with external users. With some minor changes, this is true in the field of education too.
Unified communications in education empower school districts or campuses to better connect students, faculty, staff, and other internal stakeholders. CCaaS platforms, on the other hand, provide a more streamlined experience for teams that work with both internal and external users, like leadership, admissions, or IT. Before further examining trends in the education industry, here are the most common tools associated with each platform.
Unified Communications as a Service:
- Telephony: A business-wide telephone system with features like call hold, transfer, and forwarding
- Audio, Video, and Web Conferencing: Collaboration tools that allow for synchronous meetings, messaging, and screen sharing
- Unified Messaging: Integrating communication channels like email or text messaging into a single platform
- Instant Messaging: Real-time communication tools for users
Contact Center as a Service:
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR): An automated phone menu system for routing inbound calls
- Calls: Both inbound and outbound calls are supported, along with call forwarding and other functions
- Chat and Email: Most contact centers offer chat and email support, including automated chat-bots
- Video and Web Conferencing: Supports functions like screen sharing for troubleshooting
What Are the Current Trends in Education with UCaaS and CCaaS?
Like most other industries, education has spent the months and years since the pandemic began grappling with how best to transition to digital communication and collaboration. In fact, by mid-2020, nearly 93% of households with school-aged children reported some form of distance learning. But it wasn’t just K-12 schools. During the pandemic, more than 1,300 colleges and universities moved to online learning for at least some period of time.
Additionally, the need for increased tech tools is further complicated by the need for all of it to be managed. Increasingly, educational institutions are looking for strategic service partners (SSPs) like InterVision who can implement and manage end-to-end technologies to meet the needs of long-term and short-term strategies.
Here are a few examples of how unified communications products and contact center services are innovating the education space.
Examples of Unified Communications and Contact Center Services in Education
Online Learning: While most educational institutions have returned to in-person instruction, we can anticipate that distance learning will persist in some form. Whether from COVID-19 infections, chronic illness, or personal preference, collaborative tools can benefit students who need to learn remotely. Unified communication solutions like instant messaging, synchronous or asynchronous lectures, and video conferencing allow students to collaborate with teachers and classmates when learning online. This helps retain the critical connections needed in the classroom.
Digital Conferences: The pandemic hastened a shift to providing more flexibility around parent-teacher conferences at the k-12 level and one-on-one meetings between students and professors at the college level. While 9 am to 3 pm conferences and strict office hours persisted for years, digital conferences are simply better for parents and students alike. Unified communication platforms, like those supported by InterVision, allow for flexible web and video conferencing so that these discussions can be held anywhere and at any time.
IT Services: Many of us have become tech-savvy over the past few years, but our reliance on tech has also increased. An estimated 70% of IT leaders reported an increase in their IT tickets and call volume during the pandemic, which means that streamlining these services is essential. In the education space, students, parents, faculty, and staff members all need support with their tech. CCaaS platforms can improve IT contact center performance by providing better management of calls, chat, and emails and tools like chat-bots that can take on basic support functions.
InterVision: Transforming Education’s Digital Ecosystem
At InterVision, we know how important education is. Our team has experience working with education technology and academic teams to assess and implement technology solutions that work for k-12 schools, colleges, and universities. UCaaS and CCaaS solutions can help maximize restricted IT budgets by eliminating unnecessary tools and streamlining your tech stack. Our proven approach can lower costs, scale applications, and allow you to meet the needs of your students and faculty. Learn more about how InterVision supports the education industry, or reach out to us today to learn more about how we can support your goals.