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Unified Communications: It’s not what you think it is

Christopher Franke, Senior Manager, Head of Unified Communications Strategy, InterCall Asia Pacific | Feb. 4, 2015
Christoper Franke helps IT managers better understand UC by debunking some of its most common myths.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Today's dynamic business scene is characterised not only by strong competition but also by sophisticated customers, an increasingly mobile workforce, and operations that span time zones and continents. To succeed in this challenging environment, one of the things organisations would need is a communication tool that would allow them to effectively collaborate internally and externally.

To address the need for effective communication and collaboration, more and more businesses turn to unified communications (UC) solutions.  According to a recent study by Wainhouse Research, the worldwide market for unified communications as a service, or hosted UC, is projected to reach approximately $5.3 billion by 2018. In Asia Pacific, it is estimated to reach $421.7 million by 2017, up from $91.2 million in 2010.

Despite this growth, it is quite surprising to know that many IT managers still do not have a clear idea of what UC is all about. A study conducted  by Frost & Sullivan shows that among the over 1,000 IT decision makers surveyed in the United States and Europe, 42 percent said that they do not completely understand the concept of UC.

There could be numerous reasons why this is so, and the various myths about UC that have sprung up over the years could be one of them. To help you get a clearer picture of what UC is and what it can do for your organisation, we have debunked some of the most common UC myths we have encountered: 

Myth 1: UC is a single application  

The reality - UC is an integrated set of applications that enable users to perform a wide range of communications functions within a single interface. It is not a single technology, application or service. It is rather composed of different elements which can include telephony, email, voice mail, fax, instant messaging, presence information, as well as audio, web and video conferencing.

These functions used to be offered as stand-alone applications, however, with UC, these are integrated at a network level, making users a single click away from moving from one form of communication to another. Users can easily see whether colleagues are available for a call, share documents with one another, start a conference call and move to web conference or video call when necessary. 

Myth 2: All UC components are a must-have    

 

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