I’ve been hearing and reading a lot lately about “unified communications” – what it can do for me, how great it is, how it saves me money, and so on and so forth… And I realized that this is yet another term that many technology savvy people assume is widely known. In turn, they take this for granted when speaking with your every-day, main street consumer or business person. That being the case, I decided to do some detective work and explain it more thoroughly to the non-geeks, like myself!
Basically, unified communications (UC) is the integration of various services we use to communicate with one another. By combining real-time and non-real-time services into one sleek user interface – individuals are able to keep better connected and up-to-date with clients, friends, employers, and more. In case you were wondering, real-time services include: telephony, instant messaging, video conferencing, webcasts, and data sharing; while non-real-time services are things like voicemail, email, text-messaging and fax (many times integrated into unified messaging). Unified communications allows individuals to utilize multiple media types and devices to monitor, update, and communicate.
Are you still with me? I hope so! I know that last paragraph got a little technical towards the end. At this point, I’m hoping that you’ve begun to get a clearer picture of what unified communication is. That being said, maybe you’re wondering why it is important to you. Well, the main reason that it’s becoming increasingly important is that UC provides you – a business person – the ability to stay on top of numerous projects and client concerns in a more streamlined manner.
Here are a couple quick examples:
1. If you need to step out of the office and cannot answer calls, you can set up your voicemail to automatically be converted into text and sent to you in an email (voicemail-to-email). If you’re like me – you are able to read that voicemail directly from your SmartPhone. How cool is that?!
2. Another example is utilizing instant messaging or text messaging, rather than a telephone, to speak to individuals within your office, across town or even across the ocean. This manner of communication is quick and to the point – saving time, money, and even the possibility of disrupting workflow.
Overall, unified communication is actually pretty simple and very useful. It is the evolution of how different, changing technologies are increasingly coming together to form the most streamlined and efficient methods of communication. Furthermore, by utilizing new technology – like a VoIP Business Phone System – you are able to more easily integrate your telephone, computer, cellular phone, fax machine, and more – keeping you better connected to your clients in today’s fast-paced society. Read more about the importance of “being connected” in our blog: Attention Small Businesses! Are you connected to your customers?
To put it simply: unified communications can save you time, money, and even help to retain customers by empowering you to act more quickly when necessary. It can make your life easier! And who doesn’t want that? My point exactly