What is Unified Communications

Making a resilient and scalable voice network can be a lot of work. Whether you are making a campus-wide voice network, enterprise telephony setup or a helpdesk/call center, you will find everything you need right here. At TechPillar.com's IP Telephony/Unified Communication category we have covered all the IP Telephony OEMs, a list that includes top brands such as Mitel, Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, NEC, ShoreTel. These brands have become trusted over time because of their expertise in a wide variety of IP telephony and unified communication products like Single box Hybrid PBX, Server-gateway PBX, Cloud-based PBX, Virtualized PBX, Smart IP Phones, Soft clients for IP extensions, Call center much more. 

Within this long list of brands, you'll be able to find IP Telephony products for all your unified communication requirements, like IP Phones, PBX system, and more. If you're building a secure voice network, you'll want to be sure you have the proper components to make a resilient, scalable and secure voice architecture including phones, PBX system, IP telephony gateways. 

Need help to find the right voice devices? Our featured subcategories of PBX/SMB UC and IP Phones make it easy to find the perfect addition to your enterprise voice network.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Unified Communication is a platform which integrates the real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), video conferencing with the non-real time communication such as unified messaging. In a broader sense, UC encompasses all forms of communication that are exchanged through IP network. The main benefits of Unified Communications are as follows:-

  • It minimizes the overall costs: - Unified Communication minimizes the cost of expensive hardware which constitute an important part of an organization IT. UC also helps in reducing the messaging cost by 50 – 80 %, reduces the building cost as it allows to work outside the office also, and reduces travel cost by 20-40%. Mainly it is helpful in reducing the cost of the bills of phone and audio conferencing by 20-40% due to high quality of VoIP and video.

 

  • UC works on a single server and interface: - All communications through UC can be done from one place from anywhere because UC operates from cloud only. With the help of this feature, one can have complete control over infrastructure with easy and real time access to reports and information. As it is extremely flexible, it allows to experiment a new ideas at minimum costs. This also means that the organization can investing in a life-long solution that allows to grow the business.

 

  • Unified Communication improves productivity:- UC allows the employees to take their own decisions which accelerates the sales of the company. UC generally streamlines the communication at a single platform which reduces the extra time and increases the response time. Therefore, UC allows the person to interact at the same time to deliver the right information.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is a term which denotes “as a service” or “Cloud” delivery mechanisms for Enterprise Communications. With the help of UCaaS, unified communications services can be made available from the cloud to enterprises. UCaaS is now become a part of the global industry trend towards cloud services.

UCaaS technologies include enterprise messaging and presence technology, online meetings, telephony and video conferencing.

Currently, there are two primary "flavors" of UCaaS: single-tenancy and multi-tenancy. With a single-tenancy approach, the customer receives a customized software platform that can be integrated with on-premises applications. Multi-tenancy customers share a single software platform. Enterprises can also adopt a hybrid approach, keeping a portion of their unified communications on-premises and other applications in the cloud.

Many companies, primarily small businesses, use UCaaS to avoid the capital and operational expenses associated with deploying a unified communications solution on their own.

Unified Communication serves an important part of the organization. UC provides the organization to use the voice, data and information at one platform in their common business applications. UC helps the employees to carry out their work more efficiently and effectively because the employees can work from outside the office also. It offers advanced telephony functions which includes short-number dialing without dialing the area codes. It allows to do the cheaper calls than traditional telephony. With voice and video being carried as data over the public network, there is scope for businesses to lower their phone bills by using a unified system.

Unified Communication also brings the billing system at the simpler pace as it potentially lower the cost of the conferencing by combining disparate services through one vendor.

UC provides the best way to connect with the people when they are available through its feature of Presence Technology. Presence can indicate whether the recipient is available on their mobile, home phone, desk phone, and so on; and whether they are in a meeting, working from home, or driving between meetings. It also provides the phone books for all business contacts which can be easily accessible from multiple devices and locations. UC generally target the smaller firms, as it provides the lower-cost equipment’s from big IT firms that allows the smaller firms to be web-connected.

Unified Communication encompasses the integration of communication services which includes :-

  • Unified messaging and multimedia services:-This includes voice communications in all its forms, voicemail, email, fax and other types of multimedia elements like pictures, animations, video etc.
  • Real-time communications:- Real-time systems involve getting immediate processing and response after input. Examples are conferencing, call screening, instant messaging, paging etc.
  • Data services:- This includes information delivery like web data, online services etc.
  • Transactions:- This covers transactions made online, through the web or   otherwise, like e-commerce, enterprise applications, online banking etc.

 

Five keys while selecting a Unified Communications Provider :-

Functionality

The biggest feature to consider is delivering an integrated user experience, allowing people to easily move from IM to voice chat to video chat to screen sharing. It is almost a foregone conclusion that the UC tools of today will have a form of presence enablement.

Focus on thoughtful implementation of core functionality such as presence, directory integration, workflow and easy federation with other services outside the UC system.

 Flexibility

A UC platform provides the flexible integration with existing vendors , software , business processes , telephony systems and directory services. This requires solid integration with other services and software, and the flexibility to work with existing business systems such as a company’s CRM and PBX.

Businesses should look for interoperability with existing platforms, both on-premise and in the cloud, and look for the extensibility to enable UC features to work on other applications, such as a click-to-call button on Salesforce or a custom business application.

 Architecture

The network architecture has various implications for a hosted UC implementation. The underlying platform and the data center setup are critically important when gauging UC provider appropriateness. The underlying platform should leverage open standards and be designed with the security and flexibility a business needs, and the data center should have solid network redundancy and be able to offer quality-of-service guarantees that ensure UC communications flow smoothly.

  Security

With documents, customer agreements, strategy sessions and other important business information flowing through the UC system, businesses should ensure that their UC provider has solid security practices and technologies in place.

 Usability

While selecting a UC provider, it is necessary to check the usability and security is available. This includes interfaces and functionality that “just works” intuitively, and also relatively easy integration on the backend so deployment is not an arduous process.

 

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