Unified Communications (UC) allows organizations to access all of the tools they need to communicate through a single solution. This includes instant messaging, email, faxing, VoIP, monitoring, recording and video collaboration all from the same place.
UC emerged from the transformation of the telephone into a computer. This transformation continues and the promise of UC is being realized across many areas today. The big idea behind UC was to make communications easier and better by the convergence of multiple communication technologies. Ultimately the goal of UC is to make everybody’s life easier. Many telephones today are really single function computers that can talk to other computers. In the past telephones were siloed in their own world and computers were siloed in their own world. They could talk a little bit, but they really couldn’t talk too much. Now that VoIP is more widely used, “telephones” and computers can reside in the same world.
UC is turning some things on their head and bringing more functionality for communication. For example, since you can have a soft phone on your computer, why not install an email plugin straight from your email provider to make a phone call? If somebody emails you a message, instead of reading the email and emailing them back you just click on their name and your computer can now make a call for that VoIP server. When the call connects you hear the person you’re calling through your speakers and you talk to the person through the microphone that’s sitting on your computer. Your computer is acting as a telephone and now you’re calling straight through your email provider, so you don’t need any additional phone software.
While that conversation is happening, you can have everything that is being said transcribed to text. If you just have an audio file, it’s very difficult to go back and dig through all that. A text file lets you search anytime you want to find a conversation. Conversely, with UC, you can have an email turned into an audio file and sent to you as a voicemail. In this case somebody sends you an email and your computer reads it, turns it into a sound file, and then you get a voicemail on your telephone.
The idea with UC is that everything gets unified. In the past few years Unified Communication has broadened to include collaboration services. Things like file sharing tools, screen sharing, scheduling, and calendars are being brought into the UC mix.
One area where collaboration services are being brought in more closely is contact centers. Chatbots, FAQs, and other services help reduce the need for many live conversations. This means that the calls that do come to the contact center are often more complex and may require specific assistance from the right subject matter expert. UC can allow contact center agents to collaborate with other departments very quickly to resolve customer issues. This not only strengthens cross-departmental interactions, it also helps companies deliver better customer experiences.
Learn more about where to start with Unified Communications.