What is Unified Communications (UC)?

Digital transformation strategy is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business. So this helps you change how you operate and deliver value to your customers. One of the key components that make digital workspace or digital transformation success is having Unified Communications (UC). In today’s world, any business setting requires a sufficient communication channel. There is a dozen of them offered to technology users. Businesses or companies make use of telephony, emails, audio/video conferencing, social media among other channels.

There are some communication channels that are of “store-and-forward” type. This means that the information will be delivered in one direction then remain accessible indefinitely to be viewed remotely. A good example of this communication style is e-mail. The rest are most immediate and will require some form of rapid response. In this category, telephony could be the best example.

You will need an “app” for each one of the above-mentioned communication channels in case you wish to have full access to the information being exchanged. The more communication channels you add to your business or company, the harder it becomes to manage all of them. That is where Unified Communications (UC) comes in.


What is Unified Communications?

Unified Communications can be described as a framework used to integrate various asynchronous and real-time communication tools with the aim of enhancing communication within the business or company operations. This is also a way of enhancing collaboration and productivity within the business.

It is important to understand that Unified Communications does not represent a singular technology. Instead, it involves an interconnected system of enterprise communication devices and applications that can either be used successively or in concert.

VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephony and video conferencing among other business communication tools facilitate real-time communication normally referred to as synchronous communication. But there are other enterprise communication tools like email that only facilitate asynchronous communication. Such only facilitate communication that happens at a person’s own convenience.

But with the advancement in technology, team collaboration tools have become common and they offer near-real-time communication and messaging-centric workflows. You will also enjoy other features like video and voice capabilities and API integrations. These team collaboration tools have also expounded on instant-messaging services since they offer more Unified Communications features.

It, therefore, goes without saying that the goal of UC is to integrate the software that supports asynchronous and synchronous communication so that a business person or the employees can have access to all the communication tools from the device that is in use.


How does Unified Communications work?

Unified communication offers convenience since the environment it works under is supported by a single or more back-end system. This is what is referred to as UC platforms. This platform facilitates integration services and front-end clients that provide services. For instance, in the case of a web conferencing system, the system would use an audio conferencing system which will be established on an IP telephony platform. In this case, a unified messaging client will allow click-to-talk, click-to-video or click-to-chat functionality.

UC comes in to offer support to users who will be moving from one mode of communication to the other within the same session. Therefore, when a user starts to communicate via email then decides to change the pace of the communication to something real-time, they will be able to easily transition the session to a voice with a simple click then to video conferencing with another click.

You can easily deploy unified communication systems to your premises, in a private or public cloud or a combination of all the three.


Types of UC Tools to Consider

You will need technology that is flexible, mobile and unified in case you wish to drive productivity with the right communication tools. These are the factors that have driven the rapid growth of UC tools. Here is a look at the 5 Unified Communication tools you need to consider.


1. Voice

If you keep close communications with your clients, then you will realize there are a few who still describe the phone as the most frustrating channel forgetting their queries answered. But a good number of them still prefer the phone over other methods like social media, chat and email. But as much as voice messaging may experience some challenges in a business setting, this is still the predominant business communication tool.

Voice as part of UC feature can significantly reduce the cost of the business’ voice calls. Your business will even benefit more when it makes a lot of international or long-distance calls. Your business can also make use of cloud PBX tools that offer rich and high-quality voice features like messaging, trunking, queuing, interactive voice recognition (IVR) and conference calling.

Businesses will even enjoy further cost savings with a lot of inbound calls with features offered by UC tools for contact environments.

This makes sense for companies that have shaved up to seconds off their call handling after they integrated with apps and smarter call routing. What makes UC even ideal is the fact that you can make changes instantaneously with minimal cost when your call volume changes occasionally and forces you to scale your contact lines up or down.


2. Mobility First

The advancement in technology has influenced a good number of professionals to prefer a smartphone or other mobile devices over the traditional computer. There is no doubt that we are at a mobile tipping point. Today, UC doesn’t just emphasize mobility as a feature but makes use of mobile-first capabilities that allow users to enjoy full business communications from their mobile phones. Therefore, workers can still respond to their messages while they still participate in a video or voice call. They don’t have to switch in between apps to use different communication tools.

Digital transformation has also fostered the adoption of bring-your-own-device technique as a means for some employees to work better. UC could make work from an employee’s device secure. It does that by creating boundaries between personal texts and calls and work communications. It will make use of your employee’s personal and work number from the same device and keep the corporate data intact and secured.


3. Unified Messaging

UC features include unified messaging which offers employees an easy and unified access to all messages across the different messaging channels from one portal. You can easily miss some information when you operate different messaging tools independently. But having unified messaging ensures you don’t miss anything.

There are UC platforms that have been designed to handle the needs of today’s mobile worker who cannot always listen to a voice message. But with UC, all the worker needs to do is to click to access video, voice, email and fax from one inbox using any device. There are those messages transcribed for easy review in case you wish to use the information in a meeting.


4. Audio Conferencing

Unified Communications has also extended the idea of business meetings and now includes global teams. In most businesses or companies today, employees prefer dialling into a meeting than attending in person. This is backed by the fact that most people are more productive at home than in the office.

Unified Communications makes digital transformation a reality since it supports the employee’s need to participate in audio conferences on-the-fly. They can also switch between multimedia and audio communication modes. It is also possible to invite co-workers to join in while you are still on the line in real-time, with UC audio conferencing, you can easily collaborate on a second’s notice.


5. Video Conferencing

A good number of your employees will agree that it is not easy to multi-task while on a video call. It is also true that a video chat makes it easier to get group projects done efficiently. So it goes without saying that video chats can greatly benefit your business. You can easily capture non-verbal communication via video and enjoy face-to-face communication. Making use of UC tools reduce the number of business trips and still enhance productivity within the business. One such tool is Cisco Webex providing on-demand collaboration, online meeting, web conferencing and video conferencing applications.

With that said, it is now clear what Unified communications are and how it has the power to help employees in a variety of contents. An efficient digital workspace makes use of this tool to realize rapid business growth.


READ MORE: Cisco Collaboration Technology and Meetings of the Future


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Unified communications enhance revenue, collaboration and productivity within the business.

What is Unified Communications (UC)?

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