Unified Communications

Unified Communications aims to integrate various communication methods into a Single Platform


Unified communications (UC) is a business concept and set of technologies that integrates multiple communication channels and applications into a single interface allowing users to easily interact through voice calls, video calls, messages, conferences, and collaboration tools with colleagues, clients, and customers. Over the past decade, UC technologies have rapidly advanced and merged with mainstream business communication tools enabling organizations to streamline their communications infrastructure and support flexible, mobile workforces.

What is Unified Communications?
At its core, Traditional communication tools such as telephone calls, voicemails, faxes, and emails have been replaced by unified communication solutions that consolidate voice, video, messaging, conferencing and mobility functionality. UC solutions provide a unified user interface and experience across multiple devices including desktop phones, softphones, mobile phones and desktop clients.

Some key elements of unified communications include:

– Integrated voice and video calling: Place and receive calls on desktop phones, softphones or mobile apps seamlessly. Conduct face-to-face high definition video calls.

– Instant messaging and presence: See colleagues’ availability and exchange real-time messages, files and screen shares.

– Conferencing: Host audio or video conferences with participants dialing in from any device. Share screens, files and applications.

– Mobility: Use the same UC features and functionality when working remotely on laptops and mobile devices over WiFi or cellular networks.

– Collaboration: Teams can work jointly on documents, presentations and files simultaneously using integrated collaboration tools.

– Voicemail management: Access and manage voicemails, transcriptions and notifications from a single interface on any device.

– Contact directory: View and search centralized company directory of all users, contacts and their availability status.

The evolution of UC platforms and their integration with other business tools have streamlined communications and boosted productivity across organizations.

Benefits of Unified Communications
Implementing a UC solution can deliver significant benefits to employees and organizations alike. Some key advantages include:

Improved productivity: Unified Communications solutions allow employees to handle all communications from a single interface on any device enabling them to spend less time switching between different channels and more time focused on work. Features like presence, instant messaging and number portability help employees collaborate efficiently from anywhere.

Enhanced customer experience: With UC platforms aggregating all customer communications into a single ecosystem, organizations can provide better, more consistent customer service across various channels in a timely manner helping strengthen customer relationships.

Lower communication costs: Consolidating voice, video, conferencing and collaboration needs onto a single IP-based platform helps companies reduce telephony bills by leveraging existing IP networks and infrastructure. It also reduces spending on separate hardware like phones, switches and PBX equipment.

Increased mobile workforce productivity: UC empowers mobile and remote employees to stay connected and engaged with colleagues and customers from any location. They can conduct meetings and collaborate on projects from laptops or smartphones as effectively as from the office.

Business continuity: Cloud-based UC solutions ensure employees can maintain seamless communications and work productively from anywhere even during unexpected interruptions or disasters. It keeps businesses running smoothly during disruptions.

Flexible deployment: UC systems provide flexibility and choices for on-premises, cloud-hosted or hybrid deployment models tailored to the needs, security policies and budgets of different organizations.

Top UC Features
With advanced innovation, unified communication platforms now offer a plethora of collaboration features delivering enhanced employee and customer experiences. Here are some top UC features adopted across organizations:

HD video conferencing: High definition video conferencing using plugins like Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams or Zoom enable life-like face-to-face meetings and interactions from anywhere. Participants can easily share screens, applications and collaborate during sessions.

Chatbots: AI-powered virtual assistants and chatbots integrated with UC platforms help automate common queries and tasks to provide self-service support to employees and customers 24/7.

Contact center: Advanced contact center capabilities with omni-channel routing, analytics, quality monitoring and workforce optimization help businesses deliver superior customer service across phone calls, emails, chats, texts and social media.

Mobile client: Feature-rich apps for iOS and Android offer full-fledged UC functions on smartphones and tablets. Employees remain connected while on the move with call/chat functionalities, presence, voicemail access and more.

Calling and SMS: Voice and SMS capabilities via toll and toll-free phone numbers on UC platforms enable rich calling experiences across national and international boundaries. SMS features facilitate notifications and confirmations.

Integrations: APIs for third-party applications integration allow UC systems to collaborate with other business tools like CRM, collaboration suites, helpdesk ticketing and HR platforms to streamline workflows.

Analytics: Actionable reports and insights using data from communications can help managers optimize resource allocation, identify productivity bottlenecks and glean stakeholder behavior patterns.

Artificial intelligence: AI and machine learning are progressing UC capabilities with voice assistants, predictive analytics, automated workflows and personalized recommendation engines to augment communications.

The Future of Unified Communications
Given its immense business benefits, unified communications adoption continues surging across organizations. As technologies advance at a rapid clip, UC platforms are evolving to:

– Incorporate advanced AI like natural language processing for interactive virtual agents, predictive analytics and automated workflows.

– Leverage automation, bots and RPA to streamline repetitive tasks, minimize human errors and improve operational efficiency.

– Integrate with additional enterprise solutions such as ERP, e-learning, telehealth and more to digitally transform complete business processes.

– Adopt blockchain, serverless computing and edge computing to deliver highly scalable, resilient and secure UC-as-a-service experiences.

– Support 5G, WiFi-6 and newer networks for AI-powered real-time communications, AR/VR collaboration and assistive technologies.

– Foster hyper-personalization leveraging big data, biometrics and user behavior patterns to deliver individualized communication experiences.

– Democratize UC through low-code/no-code tools making platforms accessible for professional services and SMBs too.

As organizations progress towards digital transformation, unified communications will remain integral to empowering workforces with powerful mobility and collaboration tools driving innovation and business growth. With continuous evolution, UC is surely poised to revolutionize interpersonal and customer communications across industries globally.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it