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Lost in Translation: Cloud and UCaaS Jargon Explained

The Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) global market size is expected to reach USD 210 billion by 2028, with an annual growth rate of 23.6% from 2021 to 2028, according to Grand View Research, Inc. Given businesses growing reliance on cloud-based tools in recent years, it’s not surprising that the market is expanding at such an astonishing rate.

However, cloud-based tools, such as UCaaS is a relatively new concept for many businesses when it comes to specifics (i.e. call accounting, license management). Even seasoned IT, Operations, and Finance experts have difficulty wrapping their heads around the various terms in the wider cloud-based toolset, which the unified communications sphere forms a part of.

In this guide, we’ll go back to basics and reveal the meaning behind ten cloud and UCaaS-related acronyms. Continue reading to gain the foundational knowledge you need to navigate the industry with confidence.

Cloud-Based Applications Explained: Ten Commonly Confused Acronyms and Concepts

1. API — Application Program Interface

An API is an interface that allows interactions between various software applications or between hardware and software applications. The protocols included in the API defines how software communicates with others, i.e., the type of request that can be made, how to make them, which data formats are allowed, etc.

Within the sphere of unified communications (UC), an API allows a UC application to integrate with other software products to ensure interoperability between two systems.

2. BYOC — Bring Your Own Carrier

Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) provides businesses with the ability to choose a carrier that best fits their business needs and plug them into their UCaaS or UC solutions. With cloud-native communications platforms, businesses don’t need to tie themselves to on-premise systems, allowing for greater flexibility and autonomy.

3. SaaS — Software as a Service

Software as a Service (SaaS) is one of the three main categories of cloud computing services, alongside Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

It involves a third-party vendor hosting and maintaining software for users. Since the software is hosted by the provider, users don’t need to install or run applications on their own computers or host their own services. Vendors also manage all potential technical issues, meaning users benefit from continued maintenance and support.

SaaS brings flexibility through its pay-as-you-go pricing model. The service also allows for easy, automatic updates to be pushed by the provider and ensures greater accessibility to the software.

4. IaaS — Infrastructure as a Service

IaaS offers virtualized computing resources over the internet. A provider uses their own hardware to offer anything from website hosting servers to virtual storage, leasing it out to users. The user then pays a metered subscription, which could be anything from per-user, to per-hour to per-gigabyte, but they do not have to cover the maintenance or operating costs.

The service offers users greater flexibility and agility, meaning it can be scaled up or down on demand.

5. PaaS — Platform as a Service

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a form of cloud computing used to deliver applications to computers over the internet. Whilst IaaS delivers the infrastructure, like servers, PaaS delivers the entire platform. The service is aimed at software developers, delivering a framework they can build upon and use to create customized applications.

The main benefit is that developers don’t have to build their own physical servers or infrastructure; they can simply rent “virtual” servers where they can host websites and applications. Like other cloud computing services, PaaS is charged on a pay-per-use basis.

6. UC — Unified Communications

Unified communications is an umbrella term for the integration of multiple enterprise communication tools, such as voice calling, video conferencing, instant messaging, content sharing and presence, into a single interface. The aim of UC is to improve user experience and productivity by breaking down silos and ensuring a higher level of interaction throughout a globally distributed workforce.

7. UCaaS — Unified Communications as a Service

The UCaaS acronym is often used interchangeably with UC. However, there is a slight difference. UCaaS is a cloud-based deployment technique for offering unified communications to companies.

Unlike conventional on-premise UC systems, UCaaS is a subscription-based service hosted by the provider. Users don’t need to set up any of their own infrastructure to get started.

The flexible, cloud-based nature of UCaaS makes it suitable for businesses of all sizes. In addition, users can avoid the initial upfront expenses related to setting up an advanced communication strategy while benefiting from advanced technology.

8. Hybrid UCaaS

Hybrid UCaaS means businesses don’t have to transition to the cloud fully. Instead, they can take a hybrid approach, keeping some technology on-premise and moving other solutions to the cloud. A hybrid design is ideal for businesses that have highly sensitive data that they want to keep secure on-premise.

9. UM — Unified Messaging

Unified Messaging (UM) brings together different forms of communication media (email, SMS, messaging, voicemail and video) and compiles them into a single interface where they can be read without having to switch between programs.

In most traditional systems, messaging systems relied on their own systems, servers and standalone devices. UM aims to simplify the communication experience by gathering all the features into one solution.

10. VoIP — Voice-Over Internet

VoIP (Voice-Over Internet Protocol) is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a regular phone line. Since VoIP uses the internet for calling, you can make calls directly from a phone, computer or app.

Whilst VoIP deals solely with voice communications over the internet, UC combines this technology with a number of other services to bring you a fully-fledged communications software suite.

Learn More About UCaaS with Calero

At Calero, we understand that cloud and UCaaS can be a confusing space for many businesses, between the endless acronyms and various products on the market.

We want to make things simple for you.

We offer innovative solutions that provide you with unified visibility and management of all your UCaaS expenditure. Discover, allocate and optimize UCaaS spend with our turnkey integrations that enable end-to-end invoice, subscription, contract and renewals management.

Learn more about our UCaaS expense management solution here.