Unified Communications, or ‘UC’, is a term the telecoms industry has been using for years – but what does it mean? And what is the concept behind it?
Unified Communications (UC), sometimes referred to as Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC), is best described as a group of voice, data and video applications designed to integrate business communications into a single network.
UC is designed to improve communication through simplicity – giving businesses, and their employees, access to information from a number of mediums on a single device, allowing them to work faster and smarter.
Examples of Unified Communications Applications
One example of a UC solution is voicemail to email – a solution that allows voicemail messages to be played through any device with a media player.
If a call is missed, and a voicemail message left, a voicemail to email service will email a recording of the message out to them – allowing users to listen to it on their laptop or mobile device.
A similar service can be delivered for faxes, delivering them as PDFs to an inbox. This is known as fax to email.
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
CTI is a more advanced level of UC. It allows your IT and telecoms devices to communicate with each other and share databases.
Database integration is one element of CTI. The service combines your IT and Telecoms databases, allowing you to search contacts on your CRM database through your phone in order to make calls. The same technology acts as a caller ID function.
Click-to-dial can be added to enhance database integration: The service allows users to control their desk phone using their computer. Records can be searched and dialed through function keys, incoming calls can be answered, put on hold and transferred, and conferences can be set up – all through the click of a mouse.
Fixed-mobile Convergence (FMC)
Mobile integration is at the forefront of telecoms UC. The demand for clear, consistent and reliable communication has never been higher as businesses know that missed calls and disjointed communication leads to lost opportunities and poor customer service.
There are a range of intelligent applications that allow uninterrupted communication between office, home and mobile workers – and VoIP is at the heart of these solutions. It’s flexibility allows staff to work from multiple offices, alongside other locations home and abroad, while remaining part of the main IT and telecoms network. SIP phones remain part of phone systems whatever internet connection they’re using.
The invention of the smartphone has been the greatest aid to mobile UC – users can use a mobile application to interact with their corporate phone system and perform multiple functions as if they were in the office, using a standard desk phone.
The future of Unified Communications
Communication is becoming ever-more intelligent as businesses seek a competitive edge. As market conditions continue to improve, more and more businesses will look to re-address their existing communications infrastructure and make a decision on how UC can form a part of it.
In a recent survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan in conjunction with Aastra Telecom, the 6 most popular telecoms technologies being implemented by businesses are:
- Audio conferencing
- VoIP/IP systems
- Unified messaging
- Fixed-mobile convergence
- Telephony presence
- Instant messaging & PC presence
The three largest motivating factors behind implementing these technologies are to reduce costs, enhance productivity and increase the ability to reach remote and mobile staff.
This research shows the focus businesses are placing on Unified Communications as a long-term telecoms solution.
How can Nomis Connections help?
We understand the world of VoIP and UC – with many years experience in these technologies, and many happy customers. If you’d like some more information on how a Unified Communications strategy can give your business a competitive edge, please contact us.
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