What is Unified Communications (UC)

Understanding VoIP and UC and how they transform Business Communications.

If you are a business owner and you are looking to modernize your company’s phone system, you would definitely come across these two terms: VoIP, which stands for Voice over IP, and Unified Communications (UC).

Many of us are familiar with VoIP technology and how it is different from PSTN and ISDN. A VoIP PBX in contrast to a regular telephone system, offers a number of benefits. To learn more about them, read the blog article on Migration from PSTN to VoIP.

However when it comes to Unified Communications, many people still get confused, which technology or a group of technologies stands behind this buzzword?

What is Unified Communications?

Unified Communications is normally referred to as a single product made up of different products and technologies. The industry leaders define Unified Communications as integrated communications which help optimizing business processes. By integrated, or unified communications we mean:

Access to different communication services from different devices

A user can send a message on one medium and access it on a different one, for example: listen to a Voicemail from deskphone, from desktop or from your mobile phone.

A consistent user experience across multiple devices and platforms

Users expect alike web interface and the same set of features on different devices, e.g. desktop, smartphone, tablet.

Integration of voice, video and data communications

Access to audio and video (one-to-one, one-to-many) communication, instant messaging, file sharing, desktop sharing, presence from within one single web interface.

Unified Communications vs Dis-unified Communications

In fact many companies are already using independent and disjoint elements of what could be a single and unified UC solution. This happens because many organizations have already moved to VoIP, but have not adopted a Unified Communications solution, or are simply not making use of it.
So the first question is, why to use Unified Communications and not Skype, Whatsapp, Telegram and Viber? Let’s see what happens if we use Skype for video conferencing, Whatsapp for Instant Messaging, and others for work purposes.

  1. Employees have to install many different applications instead of one single application on their personally owned smartphones. They use the same applications for communication with their family and friends as a result, they get easily and unexpectedly distracted by unnecessary communications.
  2. Employees need to monitor different sources (smartphone, laptop, deskphone), which increases the risk of missing an important piece of information. Slow information exchange results in slow decision making, which in its turn, leads to lost business opportunities.
  3. Employees spend double time on communication and information exchange. There is no access to centralized phonebook of colleagues and customers on their smartphone. A message received on one device cannot be accessed from another device.

Many business owners think that a VoIP system is enough, while Unified Communications is an extra luxury. As we can see, in today’s business reality the situation is quite on the contrary, Unified Communications is a necessity, a commodity, while having to use multiple disjoint programs and applications at work is an unaffordable luxury. However many business owners are still hesitant over Unified Communications and whether they can really make any change. In fact it often happens so that companies adopt Unified Communications, but the employees continue using disjoint and “dis-unified” communication means and applications. This is the reason why so many business owners still opt for a VoIP system without Unified Communications.

At this point it is important to understand that not all Unified Communications solutions are the same. When it comes to choosing a Unified Communication solution, it might seem that there is an embarrassment of choice, but there are several factors decision makers should take into account when choosing the right Unified Communications system, to prevent a wasted investment.

Four mistakes in choosing a Unified Communications system

Here are the four typical mistakes that you should avoid when choosing a Unified Communications system.

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    Unified Communications & Collaboration benefits

    In fact, the benefits of Unified Communications for business are countless, we will try to highlight the major ones.

    Stop spending time on unnecessary operations

    How much time do we normally spend on trying to reach the needed person, just to find out that he or she is on vacations, on sick leave, in a business trip? Thanks to presence feature, employees can see in real-time the physical location of their colleagues and their availability, whether they are at work and available, out of office, busy on the phone or do not want to be bothered at the moment.

    Needless to mention how much time your employees can save by having an access to corporate phonebooks on any device they use at work.

    Reduce unnecessary traveling

    Thanks to video conferencing there is no need to gather in a conference room to share ideas or discuss important decisions. You can organize web meetings and invite internal or external users at any time, schedule the conference synced with Google or Outlook calendars, work together on a document, share your desktop, share applications, participate in a conference call from your smartphone if you are out of office. Videoconferencing allows us saving significant amount of time and reduce travel costs.

    Work from anywhere

    There are cases when you still need to travel. Thanks to Unified Communications, you can reduce the downtime due to travelling and give your employees the flexibility to work elsewhere. Not only your employees can work from home, they can work on the go, when they go to clients, when they are on the move, when they travel to a different office of your company.

    There’s a growing trend towards smart working and flexible working, working from home. Unified Communications extend your workplace from your physical office to your PC, or even your smartphone.

    As we can see, the benefits are many. It is evident that to survive, companies need to become more flexible and simplify access to information within the organization. Those businesses who are not able to keep up with the fast-pacing environment are prone to failure. Unified Communications is no longer an option, but a must-have. So if your company is planning an important investment, such as changing a phone system, a good point to start is looking out for a modern VoIP system which not only offers reliable and stable call features, but a cutting edge yet user-friendly Unified Communications system.

    Wildix Unified Communications

    Wildix has developed its own UC&C solution which is simple to install, to manage and to use. The company invests in innovation and development and has its own R&D center in Ukraine. Wildix system is a reliable and complete solution which includes hardware and software.

    Wildix was the first vendor to integrate WebRTC into a UC&C platform and fully leverage WebRTC as a video conferencing system.

    Wildix’ focus is on user experience, this is why employees can start using Wildix applications and phones right away. Hassan Khalid, IT Manager of Sanrio Italy explains why they have chosen Wildix: “The biggest benefit for the company is that each user from the secretary to the salesperson can immediately start using all the available features.”

    1© Gartner Inc. Adam Preset | Mike Fasciani | Whit Andrews – Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing

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