At its best, unified communications (also called “UC”) is just what it says – it enables better collaboration by unifying formerly separate modes of communication into a single, combined user experience. Email, text, and voice messaging work seamlessly with live voice, audio and video conferencing, and Web collaboration, in one interface, with “presence” notification to indicate your availability to participate.
A finger swipe lets you move between tablet, smartphone, or desktop phones, while One Number Service lets calls follow you to whatever device you select – whether office, home, or fishing lodge – completely transparent to your caller. And unified communications can be integrated or embedded into your business process software.
How does Unified Communications lower operational costs?
Unified Communications reduces costs in many ways, including transferring mobile device traffic from the cellular network to the WLAN (when in WLAN range), further reducing service provider charges by enabling use of more efficient network transport such as SIP trunking and intelligent call routing, reduced travel costs and time replacing in-person meetings with Web collaboration , and by minimizing or even eliminating the human latency that arises from unsuccessful contact attempts.
Do I need an IP phone system to gain Unified Communications functionality?
Not necessarily. Some “legacy” PBX solutions, such as Avaya's IP Office, centralize the voice and UC server platform to enable UC capabilities, including mobility, provided there is desktop internet access. This approach is ideal for organizations migrating or evolving gradually to a full IP-based solution. By the way: IP and UC are distinct technologies – just because a phone systems is IP-based does not necessarily mean it is UC-enabled.
How long has Unified Communications been around?
Avaya introduced the first functional hybrid IP-based Unified Communication solution, called IP office, in 2002
Can I utilize Unified Communications functions with people not on my network?
Great question! With some capabilities such as Web collaboration and video conferencing , yes, non-subscribers can participate in your Unified Communications session. For others such as presence, the answer is “no.”