Unified Communications (UC)– Another buzzword in the digital world. What this essentially means is that all of your communications will be accessible to you at a single point. This includes real time (where the response is very fast) and non-real time (where the response may be in days) communications. For instance, your instant chat is almost real time whereas email is not.
Before we step into UC, we need to understand that this is not just an extension of the old PBX (Private Branch Exchange) provided by the local telephone company. This is radically different in the sense that it works over the internet or VoIP to be more precise. VoIP stands for Voice over IP. IP is nothing but Internet Protocol, used on the internet.
While VoIP is one aspect of UC, it has other offerings like email, voicemail, SMS, MMS etc. built into it. Some of you may be familiar with Google Voice. It’s a single number provided by Google, where we can access our multi gadget world. This is an introduction to UC. Further you get things like videoconferencing or Telepresence having absolute control over data, voice and video.
The only problem with true UC is that it is very expensive. To set up, it requires an entirely different infrastructure, and to manage it is a nightmare. Luckily we have companies that provide UC as a service, for example CISCO, Microsoft, Siemens etc. The advantage is that we don’t have to manage the setup and we get excellent service level guarantees for which we have to pay.
It’s similar to Cloud Computing. In fact it is a type of cloud out there. No upfront costs and media (data, voice, video) guarantees. Although UC did not pick up much steam, it has a bright future ahead.