Unified Communications: Most Frequently Asked Questions

With cloud-based solutions getting more popular than ever, we will see more and more Unified Communications. Moreover, it will have a lasting presence as we continue to live our lives. We may not pay much attention to it, but it is present in our homes and workplaces. Take for example: when we wake up in the morning, besides the SMS that we received from our friends and love-ones, we also get a text from some shop we enrolled our cellphone number some weeks back, informing us of their sales promotion. That text message is a by-product of Unified Communications

Then we find a notification via email about the incoming video meeting—that too is Unified Communications. After that, we attend this video which is obviously a Unified Communications. Lastly, because we saw someone in the meeting that you have not seen for a long time. So, you chat with them after the meeting. That, too, is Unified Communications.  

So is it a device? Is it’s a product? If not, is it a service? Is it hardware? Or software? What are Unified Communications features? What is the Unified Communications system? Just what is it? 

Unified Communications’ FAQ

Even with all these samples, others may still beg the question: what are the most frequently asked questions about Unified Communications? From hereon, we will abbreviate it as (UC).  Blair Pleasant, president and principal analyst at COMMfusion, a market research firm, offers some explanations on what UC is. 

  • What Exactly is “Unified Communications?”  

UC is not a product; it is rather a “concept, a way of working together.” It combines presence, communications, conferencing, messaging, and “information sharing across multiple devices and communications modes.”  The concept here is to be able to seamlessly connect. At the same time, work consistently with known user interfaces across platforms and regardless of when and where the user may be. So long as it is with the appropriate resources, which includes systems, back-office applications, and business processes.

Overall, it is the convergence of all medium of communications across multiple platforms that is integrated into one application. 

  • Who Sells Unified Communications?

Though is it not a product, there are still plenty of vendors who offer UC. However, there is some degree of the extent to what these vendors are offering. Moreover, it varies per vendor.  Some vendors sell UC suites as additional software for conferencing and collaboration intended for their voice products. Others partner with some other telephony providers that are offering UC.  Meanwhile, some tech giants are acquiring other companies with UC capabilities to get into the action. Pleasant believe that Microsoft will likely “shake up” the UC market. He made this prediction during the time that Microsoft is making “a big push to add communications capabilities to its software.” 

  • What Do You Get out of Using UC?

Basically, the selling point here is getting simplified communication, better collaboration, smoother customer service and improved productivity. Moreover, companies that use UC can streamline their business process and workflows. It is all a matter of shaving some time from a previously time-consuming process. The more you can be accomplished in a small amount of time, the more customers you will reach. The more you reach, the better the productivity.  At the same time, this process made the load lighter for employees. The less stressed they are, the more productive they can be. 

  • Can Smaller Companies Take Advantage of Unified Communications?

There may be no clear answer for this part. On the contrary, one thing is certain, UC can be scalable. It can grow with the company as it starts and progresses with it as any company chooses. That is where telco like Switch Connect comes into the picture.  There is even an option for those who still use legacy phones system. Some can go hybrid with such a phone system and still enjoy the benefits of having UC.  Some companies can enhance their telephony system with UC via Internet Protocol (IP)-powered UC capabilities.  Another could start with a real-time communications model. That is through enhanced IM applications.  Or via messaging: fax, voice mail, and email, all equipped with UC capabilities.  That all depends on your local service provider. 

  • Who Are the Primary Users of UC Technology?

There are many industries that uses UC in their work, among them are the sectors of healthcare, engineering, finance, legal, accounting, utility (gas) and even the government. 

  • What Is the Future Instore for UC?

Since UC is more of a concept than a product that can get obsolete, its principles of having a collaborative workplace in the cloud have limitless potentials. 

More on this below. 

Business Benefits of Unified Communications

Just what are the business benefits of Unified Communications, you may ask?

  • One of the known benefits of UC is the ability to work anywhere there is an internet connection. That is made possible by the use of IP softphones. Hence, with this technology, we can work from home. 
  • Improved communication is possible through frequent use of web conferencing. That has eliminated the common restrain of not knowing who is talking during traditional audio conferences. That gave the option of seeing those we are talking to. Plus, their options of just seeing the photos of persons you are talking to, with an avatar or a filter.  This opens a lot of cost-saving, including reducing cost for fixed location, e.g. contact centres and office space. 
  • Better real-time collaboration with the company. Thanks to instant messaging: there is no longer a lag time between the time an email is sent and the time it is read. Moreover, there are now instant messaging and better attention calling scheme, so no one misses a beat. 

Forecasts on UC

Million Insights forecasted that the unified communications market is projected to account for the US $167.1 billion by 2025. Million Insights is a distributor of market research reports. It also forecasted that the UC market would have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.8% from 2019 to 2025.  Among the many factors that will affect this is the changing workforce dynamics and increased preference for UC as a Service (UCaaS). It is also predicted that the healthcare sector will have a big chunk of the pie. That is because said sector will have a CAGR of 20% increase. That is because there will be a growing adoption of remote patient monitoring using video conferencing. With the projected increase in UC activity and with ever-growing demand, it has really found its spot in the future. 

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