The development of unified communications has proven valuable for businesses, allowing small- to medium-sized companies to compete on a more level playing field. Internal and external collaboration has transformed to become more cohesive and convenient.
This is a far cry from past communication methods which required discrete devices, at different times, and typically on-premises such as email, telephone, video conferencing and messaging. The traditional methods gave little room for workers on field and burdening designating communication managers with heavier workloads, slowing productivity and customer service delivery, and increasing risk.
Learn more about unified communications and why it is poised to become essential for the enterprise industry in the future.
What is Unified Communications?
United Communications entails seamless management of your communications solutions including IP-PABX, video conferencing, smart whiteboards and VOIP to foster faster and more convenient communication between users in real-time. Personal and device-assisted data sharing forms are unified to create a cohesive experience.
According to Gartner, UC services and products allow the management, integration and control of different channels such as voice, messaging, video, voicemail and content sharing among systems and networks, business applications and consumer devices and applications.
The term was created by writer and consultant Art Rosenberg in 2000 to describe communication tools that efficiently channel data and messages to recipients, the succeeding technology after the unified messaging of email, fax, voicemail and other text-based communications.
Streamlined communications work to overcome all the known flaws found in business communication. Its purpose is to reduce or eliminate communication latency as the negative effect of having multiple means of communication. Unified communications use one platform and one interface to access all of those means, whether implicitly or explicitly.
UC may differ in structure and approach among industries, but overall involves extensive modification in the architecture to helps businesses and individuals manage all channels from a single entity.
Capabilities of Unified Communications
When referring to UC, it is likely the combination of these five communications capabilities.
IP Telephony (IPT) signifies voice communication technologies. IPT transmits telephone calls via the Internet Protocol (IP) packets across the data network as opposed to the conventional public switched telephone network (PSTN). It also grants contact center capability and the “soft-phone” function which allows a PC or laptop to receive and send calls.
Instant messaging or IM allows peer-to-peer communication via text format with the use of computers or portable devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Conferencing involves two or more individuals interacting through simultaneous audio (audio conferencing), video and audio combination (video conferencing), or the triple function of video, audio and visual data sharing like Microsoft PowerPoint via the web (web conferencing).
Conferencing is crucial for businesses, including SMEs, because it helps cut costs on travel and enhances real-time collaboration even when the employee is out of the premises.
Integrated capabilities like sending and receiving voicemails, fax and emails use one mailbox that can be accessed in different devices. It enables the delivery of voicemail electronically through email while using sources like an office, home or smart phone.
Real-time presence indicates a user’s communication status, whether available or busy. It also enables users to specify their preference when communicating with them, such as only through email. This function is especially useful for employees attending a meeting and unable to take calls.
Benefits of Unified Communications
Unified communications simplifies the way work is accomplished, delivering the best platform to streamline internal and external communications. These are the benefits of deploying UC into the workflow:
Integrating the different means of communication allows team members to close the distance to make working more efficient and even convenient. As a result, it fosters productivity and helps the business grow.
Enhances Customer Experience
UC helps companies deliver the right information to clients promptly, improving customer satisfaction and encouraging loyalty.
Overseas human resources are now easy to tap with smarter communication technologies. Hiring outsourced workers has become more convenient, without the added cost, and has been even found to reduce expenses. UC also allows employees to work from home, reducing seating costs at the office.
Unified communications can be accessed anywhere, anytime, using any device. This flexibility allows employees and clients to communicate using wireless IP handsets and softphones, whether they are on-premises or at the home or field.
A cloud-based UC strategy helps the business remain stay up and running even amid disasters or digital setbacks. Communication services stay open, available and manageable using a secure online platform that any device can access.
For small and medium enterprises, scalability is essential to ensure that they thrive within their means. Unified communications can be scaled as companies expand or downsize without having to worry about surprise equipment costs related to the communication architecture.
Meet the Experts
Unified communications can define a company’s interaction and engagement within its members and the clients or end-users. Optimizing communication channels by integrating several fragmented channels like voice, messaging, fax, email and more helps the business provide dynamic services, helping it grow.