As communication technology develops, it becomes increasingly easy for businesses to contact each other internally and keep in touch with their customers. At least, that’s the theory. In reality, many companies are working with a multitude of different communication methods, channels, devices and applications that they could be using more efficiently.
Unified communications (UC) is technology that combines these multiple modes into a single, cloud-based system. Allowing the seamless integration of IP telephony modules and all phone calls and lines, voicemail, fax over IP, e-mail, video conferencing and calls, instant message services and much more, UC technology is on the rise.
Who is it for?
Essentially, everybody can benefit from a unified communications platform, whether it’s a business or its customers. Anybody whose work depends on interacting with others will find this way of communicating more manageable and less time-consuming, and it could even work out much cheaper. This is all because UC operates through a single, real time platform that is constantly updated by data from every person connected to the system.
This allows businesses with remotely based staff, or those that operate from multiple locations, to interact with one another without delay and will give call centre managers the most efficient tools they’ve ever had for monitoring activity. In all instances, this equates to the ability, throughout the business, to provide the highest service levels to customers.
Will it last?
Naturally, this is a concern for any business which has yet to look into adopting a UC approach to its communications. An ongoing concern with any new technology is that, regularly, further new technologies are invented. However, reassuringly, even the biggest tech firms in the world are actually being forced into adapting their services for a unified communications platform.
As reported by Computer World, even established Apple services, such as FaceTime and iMessage, are facing the prospect of losing users to other platforms, as the Apple applications are not compatible with non-Apple enterprise communications devices.
When businesses of this size are being forced into change in order to adapt to unified communications technologies, you know that it’s going to be here to stay for some time yet.
Is it safe?
Another big concern with any change in technology is how secure the new process is, especially when compared to the tried, tested and reliable alternative. UC software is typically delivered over a single, encrypted broadband or ethernet cabled network.
This method actually reduces the chance of anybody accessing your secure information without authorisation, simply because there are fewer channels and opportunities for them to do so.
This becomes especially practical when sharing confidential information, which would traditionally be sent over multiple devices. With each different platform, there would be a level of security attached to each one and, in the case of a data or security breach, it may not be immediately clear where and how it occurred.
How else does it help?
One of the most advantageous aspects of unified communications platforms is the ability for teams, workforces and entire organisations to work collaboratively over the same single channel. This also means that UC solutions are ideal for companies looking for a scalable communications solution, as adding or removing users is done with the same, individual interface.
The Manufacturer confirms, simply, how many aspects of a business are aided by UC: “Unified communications enable seamless information sharing, knowledge gathering, collaboration and productivity.”
Siemens is another large, notable organisation looking to effectively use UC products, as reported by Computer Weekly. Siemens can simultaneously modernise and standardise its communications and collaboration tools, and the idea of a business this size operating through a single channel gives an idea of how progressive and practical UC technology has become.
Can it help remote workers?
As so many businesses now operate from multiple locations, or with staff working remotely, unified communications initially appears to be a technology beyond their reach. However, with mobile devices, tablets and laptops all able to use the same interface, unified communications becomes the solution for the remote worker as well.
In fact, with products such as Connect, you can have all the power and connectivity of your desktop phone and CRS, wherever you are. When this is part of a unified communications platform, the power in your grasp is magnified even further, as you have real time connectivity with every other person in the business, too.