Demystifying buzzwords: Unified Communications

Isn’t it amazing how often we let all of the new technologies and buzzwords intimidate us ? While it’s true that your company should be embracing new ideas, the most important part of your website is probably still the “contact us” link. And the most important tool on your desk is still a phone.

Bottom line, UC can transform an employee’s handheld device, for example, into a universal “inbox” for all communications–wireline and wireless voice-mail, e-mail, IM, text messaging, and location-based services. In addition, dual-mode handsets (like iPhone, HTC and other SmartPhones) can take advantage of cellular and Wi-Fi networks for both voice and data access.

The main objective of UC is to offer users a choice to email, call or IM through a single click, without ever leaving the application. UC allows users to interact and conference though a different communications mediums, and to hold “virtual” meetings among geographically dispersed participants.

This concept has evolved over time, as UC has expanded to include more and more capabilities especially with the growth of real-time Instant Messaging and the concept of presence/availability management. But what really makes UC so practical is the transition from proprietary, premise-based, TDM telephony to “open,” standards-based IP technology making things like adding video to your communications only a click away.

What does all this mean to you ? Two to three years from now – it is going to be hard to find a business that does not have Unified Communications just like today it is hard to find one without email.