Unified Communications

Unified Communication


Unified Communications is the integration of communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence, voice, mobility (twinning/mobile app), audio, web & video conferencing, desktop sharing, data sharing/collaboration, call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services, such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax). UC is not a single product, but a set of products providing a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices.

Person using Unified Communications tools on his laptop

Let’s Unpack That

The following key terms help define Unified Communications by introducing and the various tools available through its platform.

SMS and IM – SMS stands for Short Message Service and is the most widely used form of text messaging. SMS messages are typically sent to and from mobile devices. It is however becoming more common to see SMS messages being sent to and from UC platforms. IM stands for Instant Messaging. IM is a text messaging connection that allows multiple users to chat with each other synchronously, in real time.

Presence – Presence allows individuals to see colleague availability and business resources. This lets others know if a user is available to communicate, using indicators such as Do Not Disturb, Active, Busy, Out of Office or On Vacation.

Voice – This is the handling of a telephone call.

Mobility – Mobility allows you to stay connected regardless of your location. Through your office extension, you can make and receive calls, chat, and utilize other options with softphone applications.

Email – An email is an electronic text message sent through and received via an email client such as Gmail or Outlook.

Voicemail – A voicemail is an audio recording that can be left by a caller when they are unable to reach the person they are calling. The recipient of the voicemail message can then listen to the audio recording when available on their desk phone, email (attached wav file), or mobile device.

Scheduling Meetings – Conference meetings or other can often be scheduled within many UC platforms now. These meetings will also be copied over to the user’s calendar as well.

Conferencing/Web Conferencing – Conferencing gives a group of users the ability to meet and speak via voice and video from multiple locations. This includes participants from outside the system such as partners and clients.

Fax – With a UC platform, faxes are received by the systems and then routed to the destination as an email attachment. This works in the same way for laptops and mobile devices.

PBX – Stands for Private Branch Exchange, which is a private telephone network used within a company or organization. The users of the PBX phone system can communicate internally (within their company) and externally (with the outside world), using different communication channels like Voice over IP, ISDN or analog.

Why Choose Unified Communication?

Better Disaster Recovery – Disaster recovery capabilities are some of the most persuasive reasons to consider UCaaS. Think about the importance of maintaining uninterrupted communications. While large companies can build redundancy into their systems, this can be cost-prohibitive for smaller enterprises, or those with tight budgets. Being cloud based offers UCaaS users access to communications from any location, eliminating the need for redundancy.

Rapid Service Deployment – On-premise solutions can take months and even years to roll out company-wide. Upgrades can take just as long. With UCaaS, a new feature or service can be available to all employees immediately.

Greater Employee Mobility – Cloud-based systems provide access from anywhere, at any time, solving what is often referred to as the “BYOD” (bring your own device) challenge. UCaaS offers connectivity to smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices.

Improved Team Collaboration – With features like audio and video conferencing, as well as interoperability between devices, employees can connect from any location.

Enhanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Contact center capabilities, interactive voice response, call routing, and other outstanding features will make it easy to build relationships with customers, all while seamlessly integrating these interactions with your CRM software.

Centralized Management – One of the more significant challenges in managing any kind of premise-based application is scaling the administrative functions. This can include setting up new users, applying patches, or updating features. The tasks may need to be repeated many times, depending on the architecture of the on-premises solution. With a hosted UC solution, the administrative tasks are centralized, allowing the administrator to perform tasks once, and be confident that those changes will take place company-wide.

Why Work With Us?

Moving your voice platform to the cloud can be very confusing due to the extremely large number of companies that provide UCaaS solutions today. Unfortunately, they are not all the same and different carriers are better suited to help different types of environments. When you work with us, we can help you pick the right UCaaS solution for your unique needs.

  • Assessments – We can help you identify what features you need and your security compliance requirements to choose the correct carriers to bring in.
  • Audit Services – We will audit your current communications services and platform solutions to determine if you are using the best and most cost-effective solution for your business.
  • Design – We can recommend UC solutions based on current industry trends and best practices, so you can be sure that you are receiving a quality solution.
  • Procurement – We are UC supplier agnostic and work with numerous providers. We can offer the best options from multiple suppliers.
  • Implementation – In addition to securing the correct UC solution, we can often assist you with implementing new solutions.
  • Expense Management – We want to provide you with a great UC solution within your budget and will work to make sure you are investing your money well.

Working with an independent consultant allows us to analyze your needs and source the best solution provider(s) that meet requirements and exceed expectations. This is done agnostically, letting you focus on the project at hand without being tied down by endless supplier discussions.

Is Unified Communication Right for My Organization?

UCaaS is an excellent alternative to on-premise solutions. Organizations that leverage cloud-based communications systems experience greater scalability, speed in time-to-market, flexibility, and agility during this shift in the workforce. Below is a list of drivers that are accelerating the adoption of UCaaS:

  • No Upfront Expenses – UCaaS shifts a business’s cost of designing solutions in an increasingly complex space to an experienced service provider. Leased phones and equipment allow companies to adopt new technologies and set up shop in various locations without worrying about features becoming outdated.
  • Reduced Operating Costs – Shared data centers deliver PBX service more efficiently than onsite infrastructures. The company does not have to find rack space, pay energy bills, or configure and manage connections.
  • Scalable Provisioning – UcaaS allows companies can start small, deploy and move resources where they’re needed, and pull back once a project wraps up or add features as needs change.
  • Enhanced Security – As cloud-based services, service providers have stringent measures in place to monitor networks for known threats and potential vulnerabilities.
  • Pay As You Go – Businesses get predictable flat-fee pricing for only the features they use, with a consolidated bill that simplifies accounting. UCaaS prepares for the future. The business case for UCaaS is growing more urgent. IDC predicts that nearly three-quarters of the U.S. workforce will use mobile technology. Companies that make provisions for telecommuting save money that they can devote to other resources, reduce their office space needs, and give employees the ability to work remotely or engage with clients offsite. The ways we communicate have rapidly developed in the past decade. VoIP and cloud systems are not the last steps in their evolution. Unified Communications offers a framework that will help businesses deliver on the promise of a more collaborative and productive workplace.
Person on a Video Conference meeting using a Unified Communication

Things to Consider

  • Located in a rural area with limited access to high quality IPS connectivity
  • Prefer CAPEX purchase over OPEX
  • When existing prem-based system hasn’t been fully depreciated and there isn’t enough value in the platform benefits of migrating to a UCaaS platform

Why UCaaS

We hear this from clients all the time and that makes it a perfect time to evaluate the market. Often people don’t realize the potential cost savings for moves, adds and changes as well as administration and productivity benefits a new communications and collaboration solution brings. This is a great reason for us to chat and explain the benefits of deploying new technology.

Yes, however the call quality may or may not be impacted based on the existing network you have in place. During our discovery process we will help you determine what changes if any you’ll need to make to your current network to ensure optimal voice quality. Most of the time a MPLS network just to support cloud UC services is not practical or cost effective. If preferred we have options to where you can securely extend your existing MPLS networks into our data centers, offering a cost-effective way to migrate to the cloud with enterprise quality of service and without the need to dislodge existing network investments

Yes, reliability and mobility must go hand in hand, as customers are no longer willing to sacrifice one for the other. UCaaS can dramatically simplify mobile application deployment and management, and many organizations are now even opting for a mobile-first strategy, replacing traditional desktop phones with smartphones and tablets to connect increasingly distributed workforces.

Our UCaaS platform has a high-availability, fully redundant, multi-data center architecture that guarantees service availability in the event of a data center failure. In short, regardless of the reason for failure (e.g. storm or man-made disaster), you will be unaffected even if an entire data center goes down.