How many forms of Unified Communications (UC) are there?

By Kristine Hegglin
Updated: February 01, 2011

Unified Communications (UC) integrates real-time communication services and devices with non-real-time communication services and devices. For example, real-time communication includes communication services like video conferencing and instant messaging. Communication services that don’t happen in real-time include services like voicemail and unified messaging. Unified Communication brings these communication services together over several different types of devices and medias. With UC, emails can be responded to with voice communication, a personal digital assistant (PDA) can communicate with a PC, and business telephones can be answered from just about anywhere in the world. Unified Communication solutions simplify the plethora of communication technologies to make communication more efficient and effective.

Several Forms of UC

There are the devices themselves that enable communication and the media, which provides the avenue for communication to happen.

Unified Communication devices include:

  • Telephones (desk phones and mobile phones)
  • PDAs, and
  • PCs.

Unified Communication media include:

  • Email
  • Voicemail
  • Video
  • Conferencing, and
  • Instant messaging

Because there are so many types of device and media vendors on the market, a UC solution has the ability to resolve interface issues, platform problems, and potential network mishaps. Unified Communication solutions can be used across enterprises and for social media purposes. The result of a UC solution enables better communication between co-workers, team members, executives, partners, customers, vendors and suppliers. Remote workers can be connected to form virtual workgroups with UC services and devices. Mobile-based employees can share communications from anywhere in the world. And, business processes can be more efficient through UC collaboration.

Unified Communications are beneficial for companies of all sizes because UC devices and services enable data sharing. Sharing documents, repositories and other data can be vital to the success of any organization. Most UC interfaces are user-friendly so that they are intuitive for all. Continuity is achieved with UC devices and services because UC bridges the gaps across enterprise platforms, which is important for local and remote workers alike. For example, a remote worker can access their organization’s internal network from their netbook. If a local employee is traveling, they can access their organization’s internal network from their PDA. Remote employees don’t have to travel to their organization for real-time meetings or to share documents. And, traveling employees have up-to-date real-time data. Organizations can save on travel costs by implementing a UC solution, provide employees with real-time data, and improve overall companywide communication.

Featured Research
  • How UC Can Help Your Business Survive the Holidays

    The holiday season is filled with frenzy and excitement for businesses and consumers alike. Consumers prepare gift lists, compare brands and prices, and begin shopping with a vigor that is not present most other times of the year. For many businesses, the holiday season accounts for a large profit bump at the end of each year, and companies strive to exceed their goals and keep customers happy during this rush late in the year. more

  • [Infographic] Switching Phone Systems

    There are a lot of possible reasons you might want to switch to a new phone system. The old one might cost too much or be too troublesome to operate and maintain. It might not be flexible enough. It might not be reliable enough. Or it just might not have the kinds of features and capabilities that you need in today’s competitive business climate. more

  • Business VoIP on a Budget

    Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems represent the next innovation of telephone connection and communication by making it possible to conduct calls over a broadband internet connection, rather than an analog phone line. more

  • [Infographic] The Advantages of Unified Communications

    Did you know that according to 8x8, the tangible ROI of a unified communications solution for a 10,000-person enterprise is approximately $15.5 million? This isn't the only way unified communications can improve your business. more

  • The New 2016 Phone Systems Comparison Chart

    Check out our latest Q4 Phone Systems Comparison Chart complete with new vendors, products, and features! Our free chart compares over 40 business phone solution providers, including PBX and business VoIP systems, on over 20 performance metrics. more