Unified Communications (UC) refers to a trend in business to simplify and integrate all forms of communications. It is typically a software program and infrastructure improvement. In general, it allows an individual to send or receive a message on one medium and be received on another. For example, one can receive a voice mail message and then read it in their email inbox using a Unified Communications program.
The communications leveraged by this term can include phone, e-mail, chat, voicemail, presence services, and fax. The typical software program unifies these communication mediums so that any activity or message can be easily transferred to another. A successful implementation can automate and unify all forms of human and device communications into a common user experience. Gains in efficiency can result through an optimization of business processes and enhancing human communications, reducing latency, managing flows, and eliminating device and media dependencies.
Components of Unified Communications
Unified Communications represents a concept where multiple modes of business communications can be seamlessly integrated. A Unified Communications System is not a single product but rather a solution which consists of various elements, including (but not limited to) the following: call control and multimodal communications, presence, instant messaging, unified messaging, speech access and personal assistant, conferencing, collaboration tools, mobility, business process integration (BPI) and a software solution to enable business process integration. The term of presence is also a factor – knowing where one’s intended recipients are and if they are available, in real time – and is itself a key component of unified communications. To put it simply, Unified Communications integrates all VoIP phone system components that a user might already be using and helps those systems work together in real time. For example, Avaya Communication Manage technology could allow a user to seamlessly collaborate with another person on a project, even if the two users are in separate locations. The user could quickly locate the necessary person by accessing an interactive directory, engage in a text messaging session, and then escalate the session to a voice call, or even a video call – all within minutes. In another example, an employee receives a call from a customer who wants answers. A Unified Communications System could enable that worker to access a real-time list of available expert colleagues, then make a call that would reach the necessary person, enabling the employee to answer the customer faster, and eliminating rounds of back-and-forth emails and phone-tag.
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