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So What Exactly is Unified Communications?

May 29, 2014 by

In a world of ever-changing technology, it is common for something new to be embraced right off the bat by several  adventurous companies while the rest of the world looks on with skepticism. But in the case of most innovative solutions, it usually isn’t long before others hop on board. They just need a little proof and longevity before leaping headfirst into a new solution.

This is proving to be the case with UC, or "Unified Communications," a multi-faceted set of technologies that integrates communication services such as telephony, mobility, conferencing, video, and messaging. Instead of having an arsenal of communication methods spread out over several different services, UC combines all of the solutions that are integral to your business.

Here, I'll examine several of the most popular UC features and components.

1. VoIP, or “voice over IP.”

VoIP simply means that voice communications are delivered through the use of an Internet provider, rather than via coaxial cables. By utilizing the Internet rather than a telephone network, companies are able to realize cost savings almost instantly.

2. Unified messaging.

UM enables messages from different services (such as email, text, and voicemail) to arrive at the same location. Presence is an oft-overlooked component of UM. By being able to tell whether a person is available or not, employees decrease unnecessary time spent chasing down colleagues.

3. Voicemail.

UC offers a total rethink of voicemail. Checking voicemail on a regular basis can be a cumbersome, annoying task. But with UC, a transcript of incoming messages can be read as an email. Realistically, voicemail and email should serve the same purpose, so why not put them in the same place?

4. Conferencing.

Remember conference calls? This functionality is no different within UC, but instead of calls traveling from circuit to circuit like they would with traditional phone service, they traverse the Internet. Despite this significant difference, there is little change in functionality—except that now conferencing doesn’t have to be a distinct and independent part of your communication scheme, but is rather seamlessly integrated into it.

With so many new technologies emerging, trying something new can be daunting. It may appear to be risky combining services that, for so long, have been thought of as individual components rather than a collective cluster. But UC has been proven to ultimately increase efficiency, save time, and make work easier. And what company wouldn't appreciate that?

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