Unified communication, or UC, is exactly that – a set of systems of products aimed at bringing together all of the company’s collaboration and messaging technologies. The exact definition is a bit nebulous, as every UC solution is different, but in general, the goal of proper UC is to integrate all of the company’s collaboration systems with a cohesive interface and infrastructure. This allows users to access the business’s collaboration technology from multiple points without needing to learn multiple systems. In short, UC is about simplifying technology for employees and improving its effectiveness at facilitating operations or capturing clientele.
What does a unified communication solution normally consist of?
There are multiple components to a UC solution, many of which may already be in place at a company. In general, these are A/V technologies that are designed to facilitate collaboration and connect to partners and clients in an interesting way. UC solutions normally include some of the following components:
- Advanced call control technology – The first wall that UC knocks down is relying on the telephone as a rigid means of interacting with others. Modern professionals rarely stay attached to their desks, so it makes little sense to rely heavily on traditional phones. With advanced call control, phone calls can be answered from any device, including mobile devices that are always with the professional.
- Conferencing technology – Audio and video conferencing is essential for collaboration purposes, and is the lynchpin in a system predicated on a same time, same place approach. A/V conferencing typically consists of shared displays, speakers optimized for the room’s acoustics, cameras and microphones, along with the software needed to operate the system. Unified communication relies so much on conferencing solutions because they can allow a company to collaborate internally as well as offering easy solutions for linking multiple parties together in a single conversation.
- Digital displays and the backend software that keeps them under control – UC is not just about collaboration, it is also about messaging with a different time, different place approach. In other words, technologies that can deliver messaging at a user’s leisure instead of at an exact moment. Digital displays are ideal for this approach, as an entire set of displays can be updated simultaneously and in response to changing information.
- Advanced messaging controls – Much like keeping the company’s phone calls organized, it also helps to organize the company’s messaging options as well. This may include messages sent via voicemail, text, e-mail, fax or even video messaging, and the idea is to ensure that the user can access all of their messages from a single device and a single interface, ensuring more intuitive use.
Unified communication is a plan, a project. It’s not just a single piece of technology, or even a single collaboration and messaging system. A/V integrators understand this, which is why they are capable of providing a range of UC solutions that will fit into any company’s operations.