Unified Communications Systems
Enterprise Businesses are finding that they can achieve even greater impact by using unified communications capabilities to transform business processes. This is achieved by integrating unified communications system functionality directly into the business applications. Instead of the individual user invoking the unified communications functionality to, say, find an appropriate resource, the workflow or process application automatically identifies the resource at the point in the business activity where one is needed. This “business process” approach to integrating unified communications system functionality can result in bottom line benefits that are an order of magnitude greater than those achievable by personal productivity methods alone
What is Unified Communications?
Very simply, Unified Communications (UC) is defined as Communications integrated to optimize business processes.
Unified communications is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, telephony (including IP telephony), video conferencing, call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax). UC is not a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.
Unified communications is sometimes confused with unified messaging, but it is distinct.
Unified communications refers to both real-time and non-real-time delivery of communications based on the preferred method and location of the recipient; unified messaging systems culls messages from several sources (such as e-mail, voice mail and faxes), but holds those messages only for retrieval at a later time. Unified communications allows for an individual to check and retrieve an e-mail or voicemail from any communication device at any time. It expands beyond voicemail services to data communications and video services.
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 the systems that a user might already be using and helps those systems work together in real time.
UC also refers to a trend to offer Business process integration, i.e. to simplify and integrate all forms of communications in view to optimize business processes and reduce the response time, manage flows, and eliminate device and media dependencies.