Unified Communications

Unified communications integrate several business communication tools into one sleek and efficient platform. This increases not only efficiency, but responsiveness in organizations.

Utilizing modern technology, your organization can streamline email, voicemail, inter-office chat, and multimedia applications into one system, which often reduces extraneous waste and unnecessary complication. With services like VoIP, unified communications are easy to integrate without disrupting productivity, and perform better than other, antiquated communications systems.

After the jump, we'll give you the current list of services usually included in unified communications.

Unified communication services integrate:

  • VoIP phone
  • E-mail
  • Voicemail
  • Fax
  • Chat
  • Mobile
  • Multimedia Applications

Basically, with unified communications, you can use just one service provider for all your communications. The service providers above all offer some type of unified communications.

Brief History of Unified Communications

Unified Communications has evolved as VoIP phone use has increased.

It's because VoIP uses Internet technology; a lot of other services, like emailing and instant messaging, are easy enough to integrate with VoIP.

Integrating services into is usually software-based, unifying all communication devices into one platform.

Types of Unified Communications

There are two main types of Unified Communication systems.

On-Premise: A purchases unified communications software and systems and maintains it at their premises. Popular Unified Communications platforms include ones made by Cisco and Microsoft. These companies usually have resellers that will design the system according to your needs and specifications.

These unified communications systems, such as Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager, can usually support up to 30,000 users. This type of solution is more appropriate for larger companies or enterprises.

Hosted: A provider hosts the Unified Communication service and the company pays a monthly fee per line. This Unified Communications system is more appropriate for small to medium sized businesses. It lets them enjoy the benefits of unified communications without the costs of maintenance.

What can unified communications do for my business?

Save time

Unified communications help companies increase responsiveness through features such as ‘Find Me, Follow Me’ or simultaneous ring. Calls will be directed to the right person or people. If that person is not available, it can be forwarded to another phone. The user can also be alerted when a voicemail has been left - by SMS, by email, or instant messaging (for example), so that users can respond immediately, even when they are not in the office.

Conferencing and collaboration are easier and more convenient with unified communications. You can make faster decisions with team members regardless of where they are.

Save money

Companies used to have to subscribe to different providers for different communication services. Now VoIP providers usually offer services such as business phones, fax, conferencing services, and auto attendants in one package. This makes it more affordable and easier to link together.

More mobility

Unified communications make your business phone system work for you within and outside of the confines of your office building. Your business phone can be accessed even when you are in a business trip in another country.

Here are some ways VoIP unified communication systems help you take your business phone everywhere:

  • Portable handsets: Just take your VoIP handset with you.
  • Softphone: Install telephone software on your computer.
  • Call Forwarding: Have all calls forwarded to any phone, including your mobile phone.
  • Online Management: Manage your business phone system through online management systems. As the administrator, you have full control of the company’s phone system wherever you are.
  • Notifications: Get text or email alerts when you have a voicemail.

Increase productivity

Aside from increasing responsiveness to customers or clients, unified communications also help increase productivity within the company by increasing the ways and ease with which staff members can communicate. Staff members who work from home or work in different office buildings can easily reach each other and collaborate with a unified communication system because it links the entire company into one communications system. Users can easily chat with each other, call extensions, set up conference call meetings, and even collaborate online.