The term ‘Unified Communications’ has gained widespread usage in recent times, especially within the field of IP telephony. Its meaning, however, is often not very clear to the user.

Below we’ve laid out in simple terms just what this term means, and what it means in terms of your business.

What does Unified Communications mean?

Unified Communications does not refer to a singular product that’s available to purchase, instead being more like a collection of products.
You can use these products and systems in various ways. However, they all serve the purpose of streamlining and unifying all the different communications platforms available to your company, ideally making communication between employees much easier.

What products and services does Unified Communications cover?

With Unified Communications not being a specific term, the products, platforms and service that it comprises are not entirely uniform.
However, there are certain recurring features of Unified Communication solutions that appear time and time again.
These include:
Instant Messaging Platforms

  • Likely to be an enterprise platform, such as Microsoft Lync or Skype for Business, allowing for faster communication between employees

Video and Audio Conferencing

  • Allows for collaboration when parties are in different physical locations

Cross-platform Collaboration Tools

  • Various tools and platforms that allow for online collaboration with other workers

Presence

  • A system that provides information on an employee’s availability status. Informs you if they are available for phone calls, instant messaging or email, or whether they are entirely unavailable.

Unified Messaging

  • Allows you to access communication platforms, whether Instant Messaging, voicemail or email, from any workstation or computer.

What is a Unified Communications solution?

A ‘UC solution’ is a plan which, through the integration of various UC elements, has the aim of streamlining and simplifying communication within a company.
It can refer to an individual product, whether an IP desk phone or a headset, or an entire collection of different products and platforms.