What used to be the separate universes of phones and computers have collided together producing this thing called “Unified Communications.” Each of these technologies have evolved separately since their birth.
Our phones have now become computers. In our hands we casually wave around devices with orders of magnitude more computing power than Apollo astronauts required to land on the moon. The workstations and computers we use are more likely to be used for communication than any other task.
It seems inevitable that these two realms would converge into a unified platform. Today organisations are leaning into getting the most out of their workforce. They are investing in improving collaboration and communication by providing new capabilities under the umbrella of “unified communications.”
The technical cornerstone to delivering these capabilities has been the retirement of the dedicated voice network and implementation of Voice over IP (VoIP). This has allowed voice communications to use the same data network as the computers. The heart of many small/medium businesses was the PBX (Public Branch Exchange) that routed calls over the telephone network. This can now be a computer network switch that provides a gateway between a company’s computer network and the public telephone network. Businesses can easily justify the investment in these capabilities purely on the cost savings of reducing or eliminating the now redundant voice network.
Unified communications are more than moving to a VoIP system for phone. It includes new capabilities like:
- Ubiquitous presence
- Instant messaging
- Desktop video conferencing
- Desktop sharing
- Call following
- Voicemail to e-mail
Call following as an example makes sure calls reach you whether the caller uses your office or your mobile number. You need only one number and the system knows what device you are using. If a caller leaves a voice message it can be relayed to you on e-mail. This results in fewer missed calls and saves time in returning those calls.
Often overlooked in unified communications is how having presence information and instant messaging can alter the way we work. Being able to determine if a co-worker or customer is available and resolving simple questions can eliminate the game of voice message tag. Questions and issues can be resolved quicker without trying to get someone on the phone or writing e-mails.
These technologies can have a dramatic impact on how we work and overall productivity. These types of systems do have some inherent technical complexity. Implementing them requires specialised expertise that brings a hybrid knowledge of voice and computer technologies together. Jupiter Group and our technology partners can bring this expertise to your business and change the way you work. Get in touch today for some more information on how we can unify your communications.