What is Unified Communications and its Relation to VoIP

Unified Communications is an umbrella term which describes an integrated communication system within a business. This includes a broad range of technologies and applications which function as a single communication platform.

Unified Communications

Unified communications or UC, is not necessarily a single product. Rather it is a set of products which provide a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types. UC brings together the means to integrate near to real-time unified messaging, collaboration and interactive systems. For instance, with the help of Unified Communication, one can access applications such as e-mail, SMS, video, fax, voice and many others through a single user mailbox. The scope for UC is vast. And therefore, its expansion makes way for incorporating collaboration and other interactive systems such as instant messages, voice response systems, scheduling workflow. An ideal or perfect unified communication setup enables various types of dialogue and workflow to exist all together on the same platform. Thereby joining all the streams within a business together. Hence it saves time and money for both employees and customers.

 

 

VoIP and UC

The definition of Unified Communication varies. Amongst all the most appropriate one is “communications integrated to optimize business processes and increase user productivity.” Some services that UC solutions include are as follows: Internet Telephony (VoIP), Instant messaging, video conferencing, screen sharing, call control, speech recognition, email, voicemail, SMS. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is one of the finest advancements made in the field of telecommunication. With the increased availability of the internet and also with improvement in internet speed, VoIP at present is the most popular choice of telecommunication. It is faster, reliable and most importantly costs far less than any other options available. It is this massive cost saving factor which makes VoIP favourable.

 

 

UC for Business

While both unified communication and VoIP may seem to overlap each other, there is still a difference between the two. VoIP Solutions focus on calling through the internet. In addition to its calling feature, VoIP Solutions also offer some UC features like voicemail, instant messaging, and video calls as well. UC, on the other hand, focuses on companywide communication. Also at times, it is a VoIP platform that powers the voice part of UC. While both VoIP and UC are useful for business, there are pros and cons for both. VoIP Solutions are best for reducing phone bills. It, therefore, helps to bring down the product cost in any business. To know more about the importance and usefulness of VoIP Technology in businesses check here:  Usefulness of VoIP Technology in Small Businesses

 

 

Components of UC

As pre-mentioned, Unified Communications integrate multiple modes of businesses. The collection of elements that UC includes are as follows:

  • Instant Messaging
  • Unified Messaging
  • Speech access and personal assistant
  • Audio, video and web conferencing
  • Call control and multimodal communications
  • Presence: the feature of knowing where intended recipients are and whether they are available or not.
  • Collaboration tools
  • Mobility
  • Business Process Integration (BPI)
  • Software to enable BPI

 

 

Cloud & UC

The fastest growing sector of the enterprise communication market is cloud-based unified communications. Combining the voice and unified messaging features, cloud UC brings together the best of both worlds. Hence outcome is increase in productivity. The features here are similar to before. They include: instant messaging, presence, video and web conferencing, call recording and team collaboration. This, therefore, helps to improve the work efficiency of the employees. Usually, a third party service provider hosts the cloud-based unified communication service. These software-driven services have numerous features. Above all, this is customizable and helps to adapt according to the growth and changing needs of the business. A research report from MarketsandMarkets predicts the unified communication as a service (UCaaS) market growth from $17.35 billion in 2016 to $28.69 billion by 2021.

 

 

Benefits of Cloud UC

The main plus point of hosted Unified Communications is cost and flexibility. Cloud-based services can easily accommodate according to the requirements of the company.

Some of the major benefits are as follows:

  • Backup and Disaster recovery
  • Detailed analytics
  • Support system managed CRM integration
  • Communication-enabled business processes
  • Support for new work-related regulations
  • Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) trunking
  • Global availability of service
  • Round the clock support

 

 

 

How to choose a UC provider

As this technology is highly useful and on high demand, there are many providers available offering Unified Communications services. Therefore, while choosing one has to remember these 5 points.

 

Scalability

Choose the provider who has the potential to accommodate your necessities in future also. As businesses expand and both clients and employee bases increase, scalability is one of the most important factors to keep in mind.

 

Backup

Backups are important as they will save the business when primary systems go down. Therefore look for a provider who offers a backup system.

 

Good Internet Connection

UC requires a high-speed internet connection. Hence make sure that the provider you select has the ability to keep up with the demands on implementing such a system along with a reasonable cost.

 

Service Package

Some providers offer customizable package services according to your requirements. Therefore select the one which suits you the best.

 

Equipment Compatibility

Many times it is necessary to upgrade old equipment to make it UC compatible. While one can do this on their own, there are service providers who provide this facility. So if you want expert help in this matter then select your service provider accordingly.

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