Unified Communications (UC) is quite literally the unification of all your communication tools into one platform. Every day we use our phones, email, instant messaging, and cell phones. On occasion, we use features like “GoToMeeting”, “Dropbox”, “Skype” or other meeting, video conferencing, and file sharing applications. UC essentially provides a one-stop shop for an array of business communications applications and tools.
Unified Communications Elements for Your Business
We’ve talked a lot about Hosted PBX phone solutions functionality and versatility. A good UC platform enhances the benefits of a good HPBX system by seamlessly integrating all the other communication and collaboration features.
Instant Messaging and Presence
This is one of the most popular Unified Communications features; Instant Messaging and Presence or IM&P allows employees to quickly check the presence status of coworkers and decide how best to communicate. In most cases, this feature uses both telephone and calendar status to provide availability information for all users. IM&P is especially beneficial to companies with multiple locations and those who have either staff in the field or working remotely.
Desktop and File Sharing
Presentations, spreadsheets, and other media can be shared in real time with any network location providing an efficient flow of information to facilitate collaboration and effective decision-making. Unlike email, there are no file size limitations in the file sharing function. Most UC platforms allow for simple drag and drop to allow for sharing over the entire network.
There is no question that face to face interaction keeps participants focused and allows for a better understanding of the subject matter being presented. The ability of UC to allow for video conferencing over multiple remote sites can save travel time and money and eliminate the need to duplicate meetings at different sites for companies with multiple locations.
Virtual “Rooms” or “Spaces”
Many UC platforms offer “virtual rooms”, and with some products, every user has his or her own “room” to conduct meetings and collaborate with other users. These “rooms” allow for all the collaborative functions of the UC system, just for smaller groups. The “room owner” even has moderator controls to manage the meeting. With many systems cumbersome bridge numbers, pass codes, and moderator IDs become a thing of the past.
Client User Interface (Client)
UC clients allow users to shift calls between multiple devices and disciplines while displaying a single corporate identity and number. Additionally, the Unified Communication Client is the single app or conduit to provide the user with all the other elements of the UC system, like access to send and receive IMs, collaboration with Voice and Video, and Desktop Sharing
Now UC is supposed to make life and work simpler for the end-user, therefore, the Client User interface is an important element. A well-designed interface will be easy for users to navigate and, in the end, could improve productivity, streamline business operations, and help your bottom line.
Unified Communications is nothing new, however, technological advances have made UC more reliable and more affordable, and that has everybody’s interest — including OTELCO. More next week!