What is Unified Communications (UC) and How Does it Work?

Unified Communications is gaining significant popularity as a preferred choice of communication system for businesses. The ability to unify all communication channels, UC is often considered as a vital tool that promotes collaboration and productivity within organizations. In addition, the system also offers access to technologies such as video conferencing, contact center and analytics at a much lower cost, reducing the overall expenditure of businesses to a great extent. However, UC does not represent a single technology. Rather, it is an interconnected system of communication devices and applications that can be accessed through a single interface.

UC essentially aims to integrate both real-time communication (messaging, voice, video, etc.) and asynchronous communication (email, fax, etc.) into one single interface, so that the user has access to all the tools on any device. With UC, it is also possible to switch between different modes of communication within the same session. This means, users can start their communication through email and can quickly turn it into a real-time conversation through calling or instant messaging without any disruption.

These systems are typically deployed on-premise or on the cloud. A cloud-based UC system is also known as UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) and is one of the cost-effective ways to implement UC without investing in expensive IT infrastructure.

So, How Does Unified Communications Work?

Although the benefits of UC are well documented, there is very little information on how Unified Communications work. Let’s look into working of UC in more detail.

In order for UC to work, the environment requires support from multiple back-end systems, also known as UC platforms. These platforms allow integration of multiple communication services and facilitate a front-end interface for the users. Consider an example of a web conferencing service that uses an audio conferencing system, which again would require VoIP platform to facilitate audio calling.

There are two essential components that make up a powerful Unified Communications system – a strong back-end communication system and feature-rich user-facing technology platforms. Here’s what each component comprises of:

User-facing UC Technologies

  • Voice applications that facilitate voice calling, audio conferencing and voicemail
  • Text applications for SMS, instant messaging, email and live chat
  • Video services to enable desktop or room-based video conferencing and telepresence
  • Web conferencing platforms to facilitate virtual meetings and interactive whiteboards
  • Social networking tools for better collaboration

Backend Communication System

  • UC platform or server
  • On-premise or cloud-based IP-PBX (Private Branch Exchange)
  • VoIP-enabled phones along with headsets, cameras, and microphones
  • Multipoint Control Unit (MCU) that facilitates video conferencing between multiple participants

How UC Integrates With Other Platforms?

One of the key features of the Unified Communications system is the ability to integrate with other business productivity tools and enterprise applications. A key example of this is CRM integration that can bring a host of benefits to the business as it essentially allows accessing the data and initiating communication with customers directly from the CRM interface. This is typically done through communication APIs (Application Programming Interface) that allow data exchange between the two systems. Similar integration is also possible with third-party collaboration tools such as Slack, which allows businesses to communicate with external vendors or partners without actually leaving their UC interface.

Unified Communications offers businesses the ability to truly remain productive through effective collaboration, even if the teams are geographically distant. It unifies and simplifies all modes of communication and that too at a much lower cost compared to traditional lines of communication. UC can also be linked to reduced expenditure on travel costs as it offers the facility to establish meetings virtually through high-quality video and web conferencing technologies. The cloud hosted services have further made it possible for

Unified Communications offers businesses the ability to truly remain productive through effective collaboration, even if the teams are geographically distant. It unifies and simplifies all modes of communication and that too at a much lower cost compared to traditional lines of communication. UC can also be linked to reduced expenditure on travel costs as it offers the facility to establish meetings virtually through high-quality video and web conferencing technologies. The cloud hosted services have further made it possible for

Your business needs every cog in your machine to be as productive as possible. With 8x8's Team Messaging System your business gets the unified messaging it needs without the need for multiple disparate systems. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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