Unified Communications (UC)
Unified communications (UC) is the integration of communication technologies to help employees exchange ideas and do their jobs more effectively. An effective UC plan can help tie a variety of interoperable communication tools to business processes and applications.
Popular UC components include:
Conferencing and collaboration - In addition to audio, video and Web conferencing, these components include collaboration features such as shared virtual workspaces, whiteboarding, file sharing and document sharing.
Presence technology - Presence servers gather presence information from various sources and provide unified presence information to end users or applications.
Instant messaging - Enterprise IM systems offer security and privacy that public IM services cannot.
Speech access and virtual assistants - Virtual assistants provide intelligent screening and allow end users to filter messages and access calendars, contacts, voice and video through voice command.
Mobility - Integrating the mobile users’ voice and real-time communications services with core enterprise communications lets them do their jobs regardless of location.
Unified messaging - Unified messaging (UM) integrates voice, fax and email messages and message notification. Most UM products add a variety of advanced call and message management functions, including desktop call screening of inbound calls, find me/follow me, live reply or call return, and cross-media messaging.
An important aspect of every successful UC deployment is the integration of communication and collaboration technology with business processes and workflow applications. In addition to reducing the need for employees to use shadow IT, a unified communication plan can reduce bottlenecks that occur when a person or program must wait for human input. For example, UC technologies can be used to automate contact with the next person in a sequence of steps or facilitate set-up for an ad hoc meeting with geographically-dispersed attendees.
Unified communication systems can be deployed in-house, in the cloud or as hybrid services. In a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) delivery model, communication and collaboration applications and services are outsourced to a third-party provider and delivered over an IP network, usually the internet. UCaaS is known for providing high levels of availability (HA) as well as flexibility and scalability for core business tasks.