Complete Guide to Unified Communications
Table of contents
- 1. What is Unified Communication?
- 2. How Does Unified Communications Work?
- 3. 5 Benefits of Adopting a Unified Communications System
- 4. Want your business to have these advantages?
- 5. What are the Key Features of Unified Communications?
- 6. Unified Communications Risks and Security Issues
- 7. How UCtel Helps With Unified Communications
Hardly any small team or a large-scale enterprise can go without using different means of communication. From messaging to video or phone calls and even more, all these channels are extensively utilised in the real-world environment. But, it may be somewhat complicated to exploit all the mentioned channels without them being united into a single and uniform system.
The explanation of unified communication definition lies at the heart of it. It is a technology or a system that combines communications channels under a single, convenient user interface. No wonder, the size of the unified communication and collaboration market has increased since 2018 by more than $15 billion to as much as $48.3 billion in 2023.
Let’s learn what a unified communication system is, its key features, and the benefits it brings.
What is Unified Communication?
Unified communications (UC) is a technology that integrates and streamlines all forms of enterprise real-time communication media, including video conferencing, instant phone and email messaging, voice calling, etc.
How Does Unified Communications Work?
UC blends internet-based messaging and calling into a fully-fledged communication platform operating under a single interface and in a single software solution. What is a unified communication model, and how does it work? Well, UC is a complex system composed of three main components:
- Voice calling. This includes standard features such as voicemail transferring, call holding, three-way calling, and others.
- Messaging. Instant and direct messaging is the most popular type of asynchronous communication, which enables the quick transferring of texts via chat applications.
- Web conferencing. This component of a UC system offers teleconferencing and the visibility of charts and diagrams to participants in real time. There can be additional features such as private questions, mute, and others.
UC system capabilities may be provided under United Communication as a Service (UCaaS) model. If that’s the case, and the software components are hosted on a cloud, it’s managed and distributed by a provider. Since your business data is stored in off-site databases of the UC platform, there are no security risks.
5 Benefits of Adopting a Unified Communications System
Let’s go deeper into the five core benefits of incorporating a unified communication system into the business IT infrastructure.
Optimised Operation Expenses
Unified communication systems can be easily integrated into existing IT infrastructure. Adding the right UC system to a company’s tech stack requires moderate capital investment resources. Given the small acquisition and maintenance costs, having a UC platform instead of a bunch of communication solutions by different vendors is a cost-effective solution.
Not to mention that seamless workflow achieved through the use of UC technology helps optimise your employees' time. Which, in its turn, positively impacts operational expenses.
Higher Workforce Productivity
Above all, unified communication platforms serve teams that aim to achieve better efficiency and productivity. Having the all-in-one application for messaging, voice calls, and teleconferencing simplifies and streamlines the entire collaboration process. The reason is that the probability of missing calls or delayed meetings is essentially lowered with UC platforms. Higher usability of UC solutions, compared to conventional communication tools, results in increased overall productivity, reduced latency, and boosts the team’s morale.
Enhanced Service Reliability
The best thing about unified communication and collaboration is that they can boost performance for enterprise teams and improve user satisfaction with your services. UC systems provide exactly the right service touchpoint that is reliable and always available. Given that your team members are well-equipped with the right tools, the quality of communication should be superior.
Improved Business Agility
Unified communication technology is what grants the business better control over the growth strategy. Most vendors of UC solutions offer flexible services that can be used to build contact centres, business phone strategies, and more.
Unlike traditional communication approaches, UC services can be scaled to comply with dynamic customer expectations.
Strengthened IT Infrastructure Security
UC technology brings endless collaboration possibilities without security vulnerabilities. It’s way easier to ensure data security if it’s handled through only one software solution rather than through many separates. Given that the data is carefully encrypted and safely stored on the server side of the UC platform, the risks of security breaches and data leaks are low.
Want your business to have these advantages?
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What are the Key Features of Unified Communications?
Let’s find out what a unified communication platform is from the perspective of the core features it may incorporate.
Integrated Audio and Video Conferencing
The collaboration tech stack is useless if it cannot bring sufficient communication capabilities. These days, any business requires a powerful audio and web conferencing solution. A UC system should provide meeting recordings, transcripts, and other complementary options.
Softphone technology allows having a virtual phone instead of an iPhone, phones on Android, or any other physical device. Softphone apps are much like regular phone interfaces, accessible from numerous devices. They help to avoid confusion when a client calls multiple numbers to reach a specific team member. It also separates personal and business phone numbers.
In the modern-day business environment, it’s completely normal to have multiple online events scheduled in advance. Calendar integration is due for team members to correlate their schedules easily. This also helps to maintain the flow of client communication. Fully-fledged UC platforms allow not to switch between software solutions to book a call, send a reminder and a follow-up, and conduct a planned conference.
Analytics & Management
For team leads, it’s always convenient to have back-end analytics tools. This way, it’s easy to check the workload of team members, make informed suggestions, and correlate team successes for process improvements. It also helps non-client-facing team members get copied on client updates.
Screen Sharing and Drawing
Hardly any teleconferencing may go without presenting visual information. For this to go smoothly, a screen-sharing feature in a UC platform is a must-have. Drawing is a complementary feature that allows for an even better demonstration of complex ideas. It helps even more if the participants can draw on a digital board to ask for clarification or recommend an edit.
Unified Communications Risks and Security Issues
Here are some of the possible pitfalls when integrating and maintaining unified communication systems:
- Poor Security and Access Controls
It’s crucial to have strong passwords, automated password change policies, and additional measures such as two-factor authentication. If these are neglected, handling data becomes unsecured, resulting in high data breaches risks.
- Inadequate Data Encryption
All the data transmitted through the vendor’s network should be properly encrypted. It should include encryption of data in transit and at rest.
- Poor Internet Connectivity
Sometimes vendors don’t offer data connectivity services, meaning that with them, data transmissions are handled in the same way as data of public internet users. That's why during peak hours, internet quality may drop.
- Minimal Barriers to VoIP Toll Fraud
Voice-over-IP telephones are as vulnerable to hacking as any other communication channel. Without sufficient protection, a third party may hack into the phone system and run a series of costly calls.
- Denial-of-service Attacks
These attacks are designed to make a server inaccessible. If the vendor’s server side is not protected well, such interventions may disrupt the uniform communication system.
The best approach to avoid all the detailed risks is to let a trusted unified communication service provider get the system up and running. Here at UCtel, we provide integration and technical maintenance of unified communication systems of any complexity.
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How UCtel Helps With Unified Communications
Projects involved with building or integrating unified communication services into a company’s infrastructure pose a high complexity level. That’s why getting them from a trusted vendor of UCaaS services is always the right call.
By requesting assistance from UCtel — a UK-based provider of communication and contact centre solutions — you get access to the industry-best technologies. We have been on the market for years delivering telephony, mobile signal improvements, and other services, as described in our case studies.
Should you need unified communication services, don’t hesitate to contact us. The quality of communication in your business processes matters, so let only professionals contribute.