Unified Communications or UC is defined as the combination of numerous communication channels like voice, video, email, and instant messaging. Unified Communications was developed to help business have access to various communication channels through a single framework. Without a unified system, the company has to approach a different service provider for each one of their communication needs. This adds in layers of complexity to the whole business structure and hampers the productivity.

Let’s review some of the major communication solutions included in Unified Communications;

  • VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP enables voice-based communication over the internet. IP calling helps the employees in a business to make and receive calls over the internet. This feature can be enabled by the use of special software that can be installed on both smartphones as well as computers. Therefore, it is possible for employees to initiate or receive calls directly through their computers.
  • Video Conferencing: Video conferencing is the modern standard of business collaboration, with Unified Communications, businesses can quickly set up virtual meetings and make high-quality video calls that enhance communication between remote teams that require no physical presence. It is equally useful when collaborating with outside vendors and partners through virtual meeting spaces where multiple users can connect and communicate with each other.
  • Web Chats: Web chats are useful on both customer and internal communication needs. For the customer side of things, web chat is used in the form of live chat. Internally, web chats are helpful in making automated notifications or as a means of collaboration between the teams.
  • SMS and MMS: SMS or Short Messaging Service is used to send short text messages. SMS technology is becoming increasingly popular within businesses to send offers or quick notifications to customers. With a read rate of 98%, businesses can use SMS marketing to reach more people and improve conversion rates.
  • MMS is a more advanced version of SMS that comes with multimedia support. With MMS, users can send images, videos, and audio files as messages. It is a great way to send accompanying visual information along with text to increase customer engagement.

When we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of UC, we need to look at things from every perspective. This is the only way in which businesses can zero in on the decision of whether to adopt or drop UC technology.

Unified Communications Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Collaboration: For businesses, collaboration is key to productivity because it helps the employees in a company to have a clear idea about their tasks and other responsibilities. With UC, businesses can use voice conferencing or video conferencing to communicate with distant teams with ease.
  • Higher efficiency: UC enables the user to access the communication tools from any device. As such, call center agents or employees don’t have to reach for their computer every time they want to make a call or take part in a video conference. All the tools are available on the smartphone or tablet so that they can respond back to call, texts or voice messages even on the go.
  • Cost savings: When reviewing cost savings, on one side, you have UC and on the other, you have the many different communication services that you deploy to help your business have all forms of communication channels. UC takes the win easily because it streamlines all the channels without skimping on any features.

Let’s look at the other end of the spectrum, the disadvantages of UC.

  • Learning curve: Since UC replaces conventional telephones with software or apps, users have to adapt to the new ecosystem. The younger generation may not have problems with this change, however, that might not be the case of employees who are above a certain age.
  • Interoperability issues: Another disadvantage of UC is that it might not work well with your existing hardware. Hence a hardware upgrade might be required to fully utilize UC features.

UC And UCaaS: What Is The Difference Between The Two?

When businesses worry about upgrading their hardware solely for running UC, it makes them a bit apprehensive about using a UC system. This is where UCaaS comes in. UCaaS or Unified Communications as a Service provides businesses with UC communication channels minus the hardware requirement. UCaaS providers do this by hosting their own hardware for all the back-end processing on the cloud.

The business only has to install the UCaaS software on their communication systems and they are ready to go! This is a great way for budding businesses to have access to UC feature sets without burning their budget. UCaaS is a great way to enjoy modern business communication standard without a large upfront investment.

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