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.

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