Gemma Maroney is Solution IP’s Marketing Manager. She writes about what is new and exciting in the business communications world

What are Unified Communications (UC) solutions?

Unified Communications are exactly that: a combination of different types of business communication solutions and devices that all work together in unity, as a single solution. UC systems can enable businesses to make use of data, video and voice integration via one product.

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Gartner defines Unified Communications (UC) products (equipment, software and services) as those that ‘facilitate the interactive use of multiple enterprise communications methods’.

These unified real-time solutions have the benefit of being tailored to meet the needs of an individual business, and can incorporate VOIP, Mobile, telephony, cloud, remote, broadband, wireless, video conferencing, file sharing, instant messaging and many other elements, depending on what is required.

When the phrase was first invented by Art Rosenberg, it related mostly to email and voicemail. These days, the phrase incorporates a significant number of devices that all help a business and its employees to communicate and collaborate. This applies to businesses that operate on a multi-site, local, national and global basis.

What does this mean?

These days, the traditional desk-bound worker is a thing of the past, with many businesses operating on a much more flexible basis. The concept of ‘Plug and Play’ has now become a reality, with a single user no longer being fixed to a single desk. Additionally, as the cost-saving benefits of adopting behaviour such as instant messaging, video chat, email and smartphone technology are recognised on a global basis, business infrastructure is evolving to accommodate these new collaborative methods.

This means that how your business communicates and operates can be vastly improved by thinking more laterally about your communications needs.

For example, instead of thinking solely about which telephone handsets or headsets your sales team needs, you can be thinking more widely about what your overall business needs are. Your company will very likely be composed of different functions and groups of people. These groups will have unique, differing communications needs. One group will require a fast broadband connection for data upload or downloads, or to enable faster processing. Another group may need to work on a remote basis, requiring reliable mobile services. Yet another group may need a reliable HD video conferencing or teleconferencing solution for regular long-distance collaboration.

A reputable communications expert should work with you to understand your company’s needs, and provide you with the most appropriate tech and software in order to meet all of your extensive operational and business communications needs.

Unified Communications is about flexibility and collaboration, and empowering a business to be competitive and agile. It is vital that your communications provider fully understands your business, inside and out, before making any recommendations.

How does it work?

UC involves streamlining all the different elements of how you communicate externally and internally. This could involve redirecting emails and data to your mobile device if you are out of the office, or enabling you to start a video conference whilst on a traditional land-line based call. It could involve having a unified directory, enabling employees have access to information no matter what device they are using.

Think about the different ways in which your employees work. Are your current communications solutions answering their need for mobility, speed and flexibility? Could you be working in a much smarter way? Defining what their needs are means that you can end up increasing productivity, both on an individual and company-wide basis.

It’s time to think about Communications in a truly holistic sense. Unified Communications allows you to do so.


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