Delving into Unified Communications
If you’re not quite sure what a specific term means in conversation, you might be inclined to simply greet it with a slight nod and smile and try to move the conversation along quickly. For many, the term unified communications can be complicated, but understanding exactly what it means can bring great dividends for a business.
Admittedly, it does not help matters much that the many definitions of unified communications differ greatly among certain companies in the telecommunications field, according to Forrester analyst Art Schoeller. The unified communications market is somewhat fragmented as well, he argued in his report titled, “The Unified Communications Civil War.”
At its core, unified communications refers to the integration of a number of communication platforms and tools, which are then made as accessible as possible to the user through a broad range of end points. These include instant messaging services, e-mail, telephony, video conferencing, and shared workspaces.
Peter Kelly, enterprise director of Vodafone UK, claims the shift to working remotely in the cloud has helped make the term unified communications a little clearer. For instance, he claims companies of all sizes can see how unified communications solutions can play into their overall strategy and provide cost savings in the long term through things like reduced travel expenses and lower overheads as a whole.
By integrating mobile and fixed devices through the cloud, Kelly says unified communications can help firms take charge of communications across geographically separate divisions of any organization. Not only is it easier for companies to monitor communications if necessary, it can be much easier to contact an individual using a single phone number while workers can access a unified voicemail box from any device.
Unified communications can also boost productivity and reduce decision times, as employees become much more accessible to clients and can thus capitalize on potential business inquiries and respond to customer concerns as soon as they arise.
With a number of productivity suites available from providers like Teo, unified communications isn’t going away soon. Let’s just hope a less fractured market will make the term unified communications just a little clearer in future.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein