Unified communications

What is unified communications?

Unified communications

By Steve Maton, Director at 5 Rings Group

The way we communicate at work has diversified so much in the last ten years. It used to be just email, voice (phone calls) and face-to-face, but now we’re also using video conferencing, instant messenger and collaboration tools.

Whether a driver or a result, this has led us to become more mobile. We’re using a variety of devices; desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, in a variety of locations. We might be on a video conference on a computer in the office, emailing on a tablet on a train or voice calling on a mobile in the car (on the hands free of course). The proliferation of technology and devices means we can communicate is almost any way, anywhere, and at any time. But wouldn’t it be great if we could bring these into a single point of communication? That’s what unified communications aims to do.

Technically speaking, unified communications changes technology architecture to integrate communication tools so businesses and individuals can manage all of their communications in one entity. It also aims to solve the issue of presence and single number reach.

Presence is the availability and willingness of a person to communicate. Think about when you log on to Facebook. On the right hand side you have a list of your friends with green dots. The green dots mean they are online and free to chat. This is essentially presence; an indication that you are available to communicate.

Even if your presence is indicated, how do decide how to contact someone? You’ve probably got at least an office number, mobile number and email address for each of your contacts. What if they’re free to communicate but out of the office on their mobile? Single number reach solves this problem. As the name implies you will have one access point for all of your communication tools. This of course would send all voice calls, video calls and messages to one place but would also include things like voicemails to your landline being emailed to you. Instead of having to check several devices for emails, voicemails, text and calls, you can manage them all through a single device.

It’s obvious that this can have a significant impact on your productivity. Imagine being able to be in constant contact with your colleagues, clients and prospects. The days of emailing someone and waiting hours or even days for a response could be gone. However, there is a few ‘conditions’.

Unified communications rely heavily on the internet and data speeds. This isn’t a huge problem given we spend most of our lives online, but it might mean you need to improve you broadband speeds and reliability to cope with the demands (for example using Voice over IP telephony).

Unified communications is making huge progress in terms of helping us communicate and collaborate so if you’re interested in integrating your communications tools you should speak to your current telecoms provider. They should be able to offer you decent solutions for a cost-effective price. If they can’t, we can.

Is it time to unify your communications?

Please get in contact with us if you want us to review your broadband. For information visit us online at 5 Rings Group.