What is Unified Communications?
Unified Communications (UC) is the ultimate communications tool. Integrating all forms of communications, networks, systems and applications in your business – on any device, in any location, UC improves productivity and efficiency by enabling you to communicate more effectively than ever before.
A new name for a group of established technologies, Unified Communications have been around in different combinations for quite some time. To take advantage of UC today, you don’t have to replace all your current hardware: in most cases you can leverage your existing communications infrastructure and enable some truly amazing ways to communicate.
UC consists of several important building blocks:
- Instant Messaging
- Conferencing and Collaboration
- Unified Messaging
Together, these pieces make a flexible, integrated communication system across your entire business, in every mode of communication on every platform.
Presence is a fundamental change in the way we communicate. Just as the name suggests, it’s about other people reliably knowing your presence, or your current whereabouts and how to contact you, at any time. It has been around for quite some time but presence information was initially about the phone (or to simply forward calls), not the person. The core concept of Unified Communications is your presence state providing rich information to others about your physical location and types of communication available to make it easier to contact you.
• Are you currently interacting with your PC, or are you away from your desk?
• Are you in a meeting and what time does the meeting end?
• Are you on a phone – desk phone, mobile phone, wireless phone?
• Are you in a conference – voice, video, application sharing?
Instant Messaging provides a new way to effectively hold multiple, simultaneous conversations and it provides a level of immediacy that email does not without being as obtrusive as a phone call. With an enterprise grade Instant Messaging system, all of your communications are secured and encrypted. Every message can be logged for auditing and compliancy purposes. And if you choose to federate with external parties, messages between organizations can also be encrypted end-to-end to ensure your privacy is never compromised.
Instant messaging can be critical in your Contact Centers where many consumers are now opting for web chat to talk to your business. This can drastically increase the number of calls your operators can handle at the same time, and provide a familiar and reliable communications method. With clients on your desktop, messaging available from your desk phone, web access, and apps for your smart phones and tablets, access to instant messaging from anywhere is now a reality.
Conferencing and Collaboration
Dedicated video phones (usually SIP based) can now be used to provide desk-to-desk video conferencing. They can also be a low cost high quality video and audio option. Soft-phone technology provides everything you would expect from a high quality business phone, but also incorporates a dedicated conferencing and collaboration solution, allowing users to perform point-to-point video conferencing with application sharing and instant messaging.
Room-to-room solutions allow for high quality video for important board meetings. These solutions are the highest quality audio and video and can be used to hold meetings with multiple parties across the globe.
With current Unified Communications solutions, you can now communicate with almost the same functionality you have at your desk from an internet café, in a hotel room or through your mobile device.
With IP telephony, moving desks is simple. You can log your phone in anywhere and your entire telephony profile moves with you. If you take your laptop, then using a VPN solution, your complete communications solution is always available.
Often Unified Messaging is used to describe voice mail that is delivered to an inbox such as Outlook, but there is so much more to Unified Messaging. Most offices have faxes scattered around, but with Unified Messaging you can have users fax directly from their PC’s – even receive faxes straight into their inbox. Receiving your voice mail as an attachment in your inbox is one thing, but with Unified Messaging you will not only be able to play that message in your email client, you can get it to play on your desk phone, or even get it to call you on another phone number and play the message.
Unified Messaging takes your current presence status and ensures your callers are up to date. Rather than recording a new message, the system knows where you are and speaks it: ‘I am sorry, Dale is not in the office, and will not be returning until 8:30am’. With Unified Messaging you can play different messages based on the callers’ identity, or even control the call flow. A key customer is calling and you are in a meeting, forward to your mobile. A colleague calls while you are in a meeting, take a message.
NEC is the leader in telephony – this is our core strength. They have been connecting people with traditional and IP phone systems since 1899 and pride themselves on giving customers migration paths forward. Their Unified Communications offerings are no exception. Customers with traditional PBX’s up to ten years old can take advantage of Unified Communications, either directly on their existing hardware or with minor upgrades to PBX capacity.
What is Unified Communications? Just as the name suggests, it is unifying all of your business’ methods of communication into one integrated, cross-platform unit that functions together seamlessly. The benefits to your team in time and efficiency savings could be immense. NEC is the leader in Unified Communications and SoundTel is a certified NEC dealer able to answer any of your questions and design, install and service the perfect system for your business.
Now is a great time to update your current phones to a modern total communication system. Find out how you can move to Unified Communications: call 1-800-797-3663 or 425-481-5493, or email SoundTel for a free, comprehensive communications analysis and discover what Unified Communications can do for you.