What is Unified Communication
Unified communications, or UC, refers to the integration of real-time and non-real-time communication methods. It is rapidly being adopted by businesses around the world for a number of reasons. With unified communication, there's no longer a need for people to stay at their desks or to miss calls and other messages. It essentially unifies all of the available communication methods to ensure that people can communicate as quickly and effectively as possible. Although it is sometimes offered as a single, unified interface, it is more commonly accomplished through the use of several different services. Learn more about it and why it is so popular with today's businesses below.
Integration is Key
You can have all of today's best communications services in the world, but they're not going to do you a lot of good if they don't communicate with one another. In other words, having to make separate phone calls, emails and instant messages is inefficient. Unified communication solves this problem. It integrates all of today's most popular communication services so that they essentially work with each other. It is comprised of two broad categories: real-time communication services and non-real-time communication services:
- Real-Time Communication Services - These services include telephony, data sharing, instant messages and videoconferencing. Presence information, which refers to the ability to tell whether a user is available, also falls into this category. These services allow you to instantly communicate with others or to instantly discern whether they are online or not.
- Non-Real-Time Communication Services - These services usually act as backups to the real-time services listed above. If the user who you are trying to reach is unavailable, you can put a non-real-time communication service to work. These services include faxes, voice mail messages, emails and SMS messages. They are still generally received by the recipients very quickly, and they can be addressed quickly too.
Top Benefits of Unified Communication
In the world of business, communication is vital. It should come as no surprise that unified communication has been adopted by many businesses around the world. It brings many exciting benefits to the table, especially from a business standpoint. A handful of the top benefits are highlighted below.
- Response - Nothing can hold up the pace of business like waiting for a response from a client, vendor, supplier or coworker. Time is money, after all. UC allows people to communicate more effectively. Response times are dramatically reduced because people can send a message using one method, and the recipient can receive it in a number of different ways.
- Integration - Continuity is important. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Unified communication makes it possible. Processes like customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, supply chain management and other types of data management are integrated so that everyone is kept as up to date as possible.
- Presence - It's easier to communicate efficiently when you can tell whether someone is available or not. It allows you to avoid wasting a lot of time. The days of dealing with stacks of messages about missed calls are rapidly fading. With UC, you can see whether a person is available, and you can easily determine which method is going to be the most effective at any given moment.
- Collaboration - Perhaps one of the most exciting benefits of UC is collaboration. With it, you can communicate and share data simultaneously. If your company has multiple locations, everyone can get together for a video conference. During the video conference, participants can edit a document live, even if they are located in several different places. Document repositories and online whiteboards make collaboration especially easy.
- Access - Accessing the communication services that you need is a snap because they are available through many different devices. From smartphones to laptops, it's easy to integrate the communication services that you use the most. This further enhances the ability for a business and its employees to communicate effectively.
If you'd like to maintain the most competitive edge possible, you need to embrace unified communication and put it to work for you. Bringing all of the available communication options together in a seamless and unified way is sure to produce exciting results for your company.