Unified Communications Overview

Unified Communications Overview

The emergence of Unified Communications (UC) began as a response to the growing complexity and resulting inefficiencies of communications within enterprises. With thousands of users, locations scattered about the country or the globe, plus relationships with customers, suppliers, and partners, the volume and diversity of information exchange is massive.

This leads to a need for digital transformation. For most large companies, as their communication requirements grew and evolved, new technological solutions like top UC carriers were found and implemented as needed. An enterprise looked for a specific solution each time a new need arose, and over time, the result became a group of communication tools that might or might not work well together.

Beginning with the basic need to talk, most initial communication networks or systems were built by telephone companies. Even before unified communications concepts developed, the complexity and interoperability issues within just an enterprise-level phone system had become impressive. When the traditional phone system, augmented by IP capabilities, becomes the basis for a “Unified Communications” system, capabilities and complexity increase together. 

Unified Communications is a system powered by VoIP software that brings management and control of various communication channels like phone calls, email, SMS, screen sharing, audio conferencing, audio transcription, instant messaging, video calling, voicemail, and content sharing on a single interface integrating them with various systems, applications, and devices.

This integration of multiple communication channels by UC VoIP providers gives businesses an edge over their competitors by using VoIP solutions to facilitate the end consumers with easy and immediate access to required communication tools at any time from anywhere using any digital device and give them a seamless experience. Using these VoIP phone services, any business can optimize its interactions. This saves time and increases their efficiency, adaptability, profitability, and goodwill. These IP phone services help the users sustain better communication and collaboration in their businesses between employees and customers. It also provides them with an opportunity to be more flexible. Voice-over IP phone systems reviews show that organizations using UC carriers can optimize their performance while cutting down their costs.

Voice over IP comparison shows that the best-unified communication providers use VoIP software to support various features as mentioned below:

  • Softphone Support feature of voice over IP programs allows users to make calls via the internet instead of a physical phone.
  • Instant messaging
  • Virtual Interface means that UC carriers create an easy-to-use web-based interface that allows the users to access and manage everything virtually from anywhere.
  • Email and Calendar Integration creates a smooth collaboration and scheduling. 
  • Use of cloud technology by UC VoIP providers.
  • Call features such as call recording, call forwarding, call logging
  • CRM integration with call management feature helps optimize customer management.
  • Integrated audio and video conferencing allow geographically dispersed users to connect from wherever they are.
  • Screen sharing strengthens the communication and collaboration
  • The presence feature enables the VoIP software users to let others know if they are available to communicate at the moment or not. 

Though PSTN systems allow and support a number of useful functions beyond basic telephone service, the introduction of VoIP phone services vastly expanded the possibilities for new features and services. Even what might be considered a basic unified communications system, one which includes voice, messaging, and video conferencing, is likely to be provided by more than one vendor. End-to-end solutions under a single vendor umbrella are a significant challenge for the best unified communication providers, when several vendors need to work together a whole new level of interaction becomes necessary.

For this reason, many of the larger players have added a second “C” to the “UC” abbreviation for Unified Communications. The resulting “UCC” stands for Unified Communications and Collaboration, a recognition that current and future solutions will require the collaborative efforts and expertise of more than a single provider.

One of the fundamental goals of a good VoIP and unified communications system is to provide a consistent interface to every user, no matter what device they use to access the system. A worthy goal, challenging enough for the voice and messaging interfaces on their own, much less an entire multi-vendor, a multinational, multimedia communication network. But enterprise companies already know this. They have learned that their most successful approach to maintaining, growing, and evolving their communications network is based on developing a comprehensive understanding of their communications needs. Keeping this understanding up-to-date assures future changes will be the best fit available.

Employing a single vendor, quite possibly the legacy provider of the voice communications network, to oversee the unified communications network is one strategy to minimize compatibility issues, or at least hand them off to a specialist. However, many enterprise organizations are unwilling to forgo features or services offered by vendors not associated with whichever over-arching provider they may choose. Rather than take what a single large vendor can offer, approximately three-quarters of the enterprise companies in North America currently look for the best solutions for their needs and expect the vendors to collaborate with them and each other, to make it all work. This works on the idea that the best unified communication providers supply their users access to platforms under multiple vendors all through one portal.

According to voice-over IP provider reviews, some of the best unified communication vendors are Avaya, Cisco, 8x8, and Ring Central.

These top UC VoIP providers of integrated systems, including all major network service providers, are partnering with specialty providers and embracing standard interfaces to make their combined offerings more comprehensive and attractive. Over time, thanks to never-ending complexity, the growing number of desirable, productive features, and greater industry collaboration, single-source solutions are likely to become the norm for all but the largest or most specialized enterprises.

Today’s global world and the digitalization of it has been perpetuated more by COVID as well. This need for hyperspeed and the pressure to be available round the clock has put a lot of stress on businesses to keep up. These UC carriers based on VoIP phone services are a major part of this digital transformation and a great tool for any business to increase their operational performance.