What Is Unified Communications?

Submitted by: Ashley Speagle

Unified communications (UC) facilitates the interactive use of multiple enterprise communications methods, according to the Gartner IT Glossary.

A UC suite integrates assorted applications and technologies into one platform, addressing multiple communication needs in one place.

Through a single access point, users seamlessly toggle between different communication mediums and manage all messages and communication.

What You’ll Find in UC

A UC set of products merges real-time and near real-time communication tools, typically including:

*messaging like voicemail and email;
*IM and presence;
*web, video and audio conferencing;
*telephony; and
*multimedia and data.

On-premise, cloud and hybrid services accommodate a range of business needs, and UC’s availability on multiple devices meets the rising need for mobility.

UC typically affords businesses interoperability with existing partners and complementary vendors. Although many UC suites offer a complete set of functions, integration with other platforms allows businesses to retrofit existing or legacy platforms with newer communication solutions.

Additionally, integration with applications like audio enables better mobility over VoIP-only UC suites. This option better suits larger meetings, meetings with external users like clients or other needs for high-quality audio.

How You’ll Benefit from UC

As an all-encompassing, flexible suite of tools, UC revolutionizes business communications, with benefits like:

*Accelerated productivity and collaboration. A single access point enables fast sharing, swift decision-making, constant updates and speedy data discovery.
*Operational efficiency. Administration is centralized, and billing is streamlined. You save time and resources on implementation and training. You also no longer have to worry about maintaining and supporting multiple licenses, services and vendor relationships, which frees up personnel for staff optimization.
*Enhanced user experience. When you decrease training guides, passwords and user names, employees will find tools easier to use and more accessible, enabling better adoption. This also adds value and functionality to your integrated, existing communications investments. With less integration points and risks of error, UC also offers a more consistent user experience.
*True enterprise collaboration. UC offers broad applications for all departments within an enterprise, eliminating silos. Everyone—business travelers, field reps, virtual teams, those beyond company boundaries—can benefit from the anywhere-anytime-anyone mobility of UC. The scalability of UC also supports company and customer growth.