Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Progress Blog, John Worthington, APM Blog

Related Topics: Mobile IoT

Mobile IoT: Article

Unified Communications: Changing the Way You Communicate

There is a wide disparity in perceptions as to what unified communications (UC) really is

Unified communications, UC, "bridging the gap," communications and collaboration, integrated communications ... it's being talked about everywhere - magazine articles, news snippets, tradeshows, software manufacturers and hardware manufacturers, among others. If you are in the phone, e-mail, chat, mobile or any other communications-related business, you're being barraged by the term "unified communications."

There is a wide disparity in perceptions in the marketplace as to what unified communications (UC) really is. The big picture is that UC is bringing in voice, video, workflow applications, social networking, etc. - all different forms of communications - to mediate one solution or interface. This is not an easy task, as it takes a lot of time, and companies need to chip away at each of these, working to get each one under their wings.

As the hosted IP communications market continues to grow, service providers are integrating more and more capabilities with traditional hosted telecom solutions. This includes UC integration with the full suite of Microsoft products allowing for a truly hosted UC environment where an IP phone system will fully integrate with your e-mail, voicemail and OCS - all in one model. UC takes your basic business-based technology like your voice communications and combines that with office communications (instant messenger, video conferencing, desktop sharing, telepresence, etc.). This will inevitably change the landscape of your business and it's important to try to really understand the benefits of what UC means to you.

As a consumer you should be wary of the term unified communications. If you are buying a solution and being told that you're being presented with a unified communications solution, make sure you know what it is and - more important - what it is not. At the very least you should expect some integration between your phone system and your messaging (e-mail) platform. Expect that your provider can offer the ability to provide voicemail, fax, e-mail, text messaging, voice communications and calendaring in one synchronized platform.

Companies that want this technology and try to do it themselves will see a significant cost capital expenditure to do it, as well as a tremendous investment of resources - mainly money to pay for a consultant's time and time to get the implementation completed. The bigger opportunity in the marketplace is with other hosted Microsoft Partners and hosted VoIP providers. These companies will already have a back end in place for someone else already providing some of these solutions. This makes it easy to get a robust system without having to invest in that technology.

True unified communications is an amazing concept. Imagine having only one device or software application to manage and integrate all of your voicemails, e-mails, Twitters, Facebook friends and updates, texts and any other inbound or outbound communication. Pretty powerful. The challenge here is that everyone is using the concept and more specifically the term unified communications or UC way too loosely. I have seen many companies advertising simple functions that lead us to believe that almost every phone system is a unified communications solution. For example, voicemail to e-mail. Just about every phone system implemented after 2005 can convert a voicemail to an audio file and send it to an e-mail address. Is this unified communications? I guess to a certain degree it is, but it is certainly not in the spirit of the innovative concept of the word. An e-mail in an inbox with an audio file attached is very basic. What makes the distinction here is that it is not truly integrated. For example, if you play this audio file on your PC, the voicemail on your PBX still shows as being new. This can create a confusing and un-integrated situation. Now when you go back through your voicemail on your phone, you have to listen to all of the voicemails that you already listened to on your PC. UC is supposed to create efficiency, not duplicate work.

Unified communications will change the way you communicate, making you and your employees more productive and efficient in your day-to-day business activities. Easily start a video conference call with a co-worker and have a question asked and answered in seconds rather than minutes by not having to walk over to their desk or another floor, exchange the usual hellos and short talk and then get to the task at hand. By using these robust communications all of that fluff is no longer needed and it creates more efficiency in how people work. Get it done quickly and see the savings in quality of communications - things that would've been more difficult to explain over the phone are much easier to share face-to-face with video conferencing, sharing boards, etc. UC offers efficient use of employee time and less distractions outside of the traditional business requirements. It's amazing how people don't realize how inefficient they can be when they are relying on just voice alone.

More Stories By William Bumbernick

William Bumbernick has more than 12 years of senior management and entrepreneurial experience in telecommunications, IT and managed services. Since 1994, he has been involved at executive levels of leadership and Boards of Directors within the technology and telecommunication sectors. Since 2003, Mr. Bumbernick has been focused on emerging VoIP technologies with the success and tremendous growth of Alteva. He has been recognized by Smart Business Magazine as an expert in the emerging technology of VoIP. William has been published in leading publications on converged voice services and is also a recognized presenter at leading trade shows and conferences.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...