Unified Communications

Unified communications (UC) solutions deliver seamless user experiences that help people work together more effectively.

What is unified communications?

People work together in different ways. And they use a lot of collaboration tools: IP telephony for voice calling, web and video conferencing, voice mail, mobility, desktop sharing, instant messaging and presence, and more. Unified communications (UC) solutions deliver integration of these tools, with seamless user experiences that help people work together more effectively. Anywhere, on any device. They bring real-time communication from your phone system and conferencing solutions together with messaging and chat, and integrate with everyday business applications using APIs. UC solutions are available as on-premises software, partner-hosted solutions, or as a service (UCaaS) from cloud providers.

Terms to Know When Looking at UC Solutions

Before you go out and start looking for a new UC solution for your business, there are a few things to know in order to avoid confusion when you’re talking to tech vendors. Understanding these basic industry terms is essential for evaluating your options and determining what your business really needs.

UC (Unified Communications)

Think of Unified Communications (or UC) as a phone system on steroids. Just like your smartphone is a single device that performs many functions, a UC solution combines your Business phone system:
  • IVR
  • Voicemail
  • Instant message
  • Fax
  • Conference call bridge
  • Video conferencing
  • Web applications
  • CRM system

Benefits of Unified Communications

UC offers a competitive advantage to businesses by reducing the number of independent tools, platforms, and solutions they need to communicate. Many businesses are choosing UC solutions over a traditional phone systems because it’s a better way to future-proof their investment and keep pace with advances in technology. Here are a few of the main benefits UC has to offer businesses:
  • Improved efficiency
  • Reduced costs
  • Increased revenue
  • Better customer service

API (Application Programming Interface)

An Application Programming Interface (API) allows you to customize your phone system, and therefore may be one of the most important features to consider in your next phone system. An API allows a software developer to extend the functionality of your phone system by integrating it with other third-party business applications, such as your preferred CRM software like Salesforce or SugarCRM. Ultimately, this means you can increase employee productivity, improve customer service, and get more life out of your phone system investment.

BYOD (Bring your Own Device)

The term BYOD is slang term that has been modified to one of the hottest trends, and biggest IT challenges, in business communications. Let’s say your company’s sales director is attached to his/her iPhone, but several of your engineers prefer using their Android phones – and they all want to use the devices for both personal and work use. No problem! The days of issuing a dedicated corporate mobile device are over.

Mobility

Mobility is a term for integrating your fixed desk phone with your mobile phone. This creates a seamless communication experience whether you are at your desk or on the road. Using one phone number, customers can ring you on your desk, mobile, or home phone based on how you set your call rules or preferences. When you call a customer or vendor, your office phone number appears on their caller ID, regardless of the phone from which you are actually calling. This creates what is commonly referred to as a “unified” view of your business.

UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service)

A deployment method for delivering UC to organizations via the Cloud. Traditionally, UCaaS has served mostly smaller businesses who have small or no IT departments. However, over time, UCaaS is beginning to be adopted by midsize businesses and enterprises. UCaaS is considered by most to be the future of communications technology.

Bring people together anytime, anywhere, and on any device with Cisco's integrated collaboration infrastructure for voice and video calling, messaging, and mobility. Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Unified CM) provides reliable, secure, scalable, and manageable call control and session management.

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