Unified Communications (UC)

There is a huge demand for businesses to be flexible, agile and fast to react, ahead of their competitors. Unified Communications (UC) helps you do that by bringing together different technologies to run in sync so that a business can run effectively and competitively.

PC Mag discusses Unified Communications (UC) as “The real-time redirection of a voice, text or e-mail message to the device closest to the intended recipient at any given time. For example, voice calls to desk phones could be routed to the user’s mobile phone when required. E-mail intended for a desktop mailbox could be sent to the user’s PDA or turned into speech for a phone message.”

A simplified example of Unified Communications

A simplified example of Unified Communications would be Google:

As a search engine, you can find the answers to your burning questions within the blink of an eye. They take it further with Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Hangouts and the use of a Gmail account for instant messaging. You can even place phone calls.

This is a really simple and easy way of thinking about Unified Communications; you have all of these systems at your fingertips, seamlessly integrated into one easy to use interface.

Similarly, with Apple products (a touchy subject for some), you can seamlessly integrate your iPhone, iMac and iPad accessing each from the other.

You’ve got it, Unified Communications.

Unified Communications Tools

We have tried and tested many Unified Communications tools and there are three tools that are a cut above the rest:

Mitel Micollab

Mitel MiCollab is a tool that we thoroughly recommend, in fact, we use it ourselves, internally.

It is a collaboration tool with some fantastic features such as:

  • Instant messaging
  • individual/group chat

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  • Conferencing applications…
  • Real-time voice and video calling
  • File sharing / Screen sharing
  • Softphone
  • Calendar integration
  • Outlook® integration
  • File annotation
  • Harness the power of teams.

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Horizon Collaboration

Horizon Collaborate is a Unified Communications tool designed for those who have the Horizon Phone System.

Key features of this collaboration tool include:

  • Boosting Business Agility
  • Reducing cost and complexity

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  • Video Calling Create
  • Instant Conferencing
  • Presence, Video Call and Collaboration
  • Instant Messaging

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Wildix Collaboration

Wildix Collaboration web interface offers a customizable view of colleagues, grouped by work teams, and provides real-time presence information of users.

Other key features of this collaboration tool include:

  • Audio and video call

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  • Presence and Geolocation
  • Conferencing
  • Memo messages
  • Fax and SMS to one or more users
  • Access to corporate phonebooks
  • Screen sharing and file transferAudio calls, video calls or conferences with external users

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FAQ's

+ - How can Unified Communications help my business?

You have a team of Sales Executives who will sometimes be with clients. How do you know if they are in a meeting? What happens if they receive a phone call for more business but lose it because the call wasn’t answered?

Using an IP phone system, the Sales Executives can arrange for their calls to be diverted through to the office (to a group of willing Sales Administrators) to ensure they are answered. The Sales Administrator can see who has diverted the call when it rings through and answer appropriately.

Whilst answering that call, the Sales Administrator can access the Executive’s calendar to check when their availability to book an appointment or arrange a callback. Any changes to the calendars would sync with the Sales Executive’s and the Sales Administrator can IM them to pass on any messages or details.

So, you have a Sales Executive in a sales meeting, their phone doesn’t ring in the meeting because they have it diverted which means they are giving their client their undivided attention. They won’t miss any calls which could result in loss of business. Also, any changes that happened with that call, they are notified about via IM and any physical changes are synced up with their own system.

Unified Communications brings together different technologies to run in sync so that a business can run effectively.

+ - What are the benefits of Unified Communications?

The benefits to your business are vast. Undoubtedly you will see improvements when it comes to:

  • Flexibility – Unified Communications gives staff the access they need wherever they are, at whatever time, increasing the efficiency of the business as well as the efficiency of your employees. Information flows freely throughout the organisation, helping workflows to be managed more closely and with the opportunity for staff to pick up messages through different mediums, they can become more efficient and effective at their jobs, in turn, boosting the bottom line of your company.
  • Mobility – With workers increasingly needing to do their jobs from home or whilst on the go, Unified Communications enables them to connect with co-workers at all times. Flexible working is a rising trend and it empowers the users to work from, not only home, but anywhere in the world. Mobile devices become extensions of the corporate network so workers can be productive anywhere.
  • Efficiency – You can improve the responsiveness of your staff by giving them the tools to pick up messages, respond and work on the go. You improve their efficiency and boost the bottom line. You can’t argue with that!
  • Privacy – With the introduction of Cloud Unified Communications, you will experience greater levels of data privacy – a more exclusive company interface and a much more secure connection.
  • Environmental impact – It has been found that on average 46% of companies that have utilised Unified Communications, realise travel savings of more than 5 days per employee annually. With the public increasingly concerned about being “green,” the implication of UC can considerably cut travel time and therefore the carbon footprint of the corporation. This also means more time spent getting the job done, rather than spent on unnecessary travel.

+ - What can Unified Communications merge?

Unified Communications can bring together multiple forms of communication channels such as voice, video, software, data etc using one device. We have gone past the desk phone and email being enough.

Some key features of Unified Communication features:

  • Instant messaging
  • “Availability” – knowing if the person you need to contact is free or busy
  • Conferencing applications
  • Teamwork applications – to coordinate work on group projects
  • Video conferencing
  • Voice & click to call (from any directory, e.g. Outlook)
  • Voice messaging – to e-mail and phones
  • File sharing
  • Softphones
  • Directory integration

+ - I have lots of Different Systems that I use - is that Unified Communications?

There are plenty pieces of software out there than you can utilise using one device which would make your business operate quicker BUT if you had one piece of software which did everything, that would put the “unified” in Unified Communications.

The idea behind Unified Communications is to “optimise business processes” and nothing does this better than an all-in-one solution.

+ - Is there a System that does it all?

Yes, there are plenty out there but we actively promote three unified communication tools; MiCollab, Horizon Collaborate and Wildix Collaboration.

+ - Is Unified Communicators right for my business?

It may seem like a major shift, but most businesses find the upheaval is fairly minimal and the BTT team can get you up and running very quickly, at a competitive rate.

The beauty of UC is that you should begin to notice the effects almost immediately, as your business becomes more flexible and agile.