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John Guillaume

Vice President, Product Management & Strategy at Comcast Business

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What exactly is unified communications?

November 17, 2017

UC is more powerful than ever and results in improved business efficiencies.

The term unified communications (UC) certainly isn't new but, lately, it has seen a resurgence. I recall using it in the late '90's, mostly referring to the ability for telephony and PCs to interact with useful applications like “click to dial.” The renaissance of UC has been driven, largely, by more modern, cloud-based solutions such as Slack, Microsoft's Skype for Business, and Cisco's Spark. The combination of better broadband, cloud, and mobility are the true enablers of the technology.

Here is my take on what UC is today: 

Modern UC solutions thoughtfully combine different modes of communications, both native and third party, into a uniform, all-in-one services platform. Think instant messaging, presence, conferencing, desktop sharing, and video.  This is the holy grail of UC. The theory is that, by unifying individuals, teams, and communities on one platform, employees of both small and large businesses can better communicate and collaborate. This streamlined communication and collaboration results in improved business efficiencies. In fact, most research tells us this is true for organizations that have deployed and adopted UC. 

However, the biggest barrier to realizing these benefits is adoption. 

The derived benefit of UC wholly dependent on whether the community embraces it. A lack of UC adoption forces the use of a combination of disparate solutions such as telephone, email, and SMS.  While they get the job done, switching between multiple services dozens of times each day isn’t the most efficient way to communicate. 

In a recent Comcast Business study targeting businesses with fewer than 250 employees, it was found that email remains the most common and preferred way to communicate; 88% of respondents reported using email on daily basis. Fixed-line telephone remains a strong second at 69%, followed by mobile calling and texting at 59% and 53%, respectively. One of the biggest barriers to adoption of other services like chat and desktop sharing was reliability and overall performance, with over 48% reporting problems.

Our cloud-based telephony and UC solution, Business VoiceEdge, delivers powerful tools that are easy to use and administer, and are tailored to meet the needs of small to mid-sized businesses. Business VoiceEdge enables the proper handling of calls through professionally installed handsets, and easily configured features like Automated Attendant and Hunt Groups. Business VoiceEdge gives individual users the ability to make and receive business calls from their mobile phones and access readable voicemails from their mobile devices. Additionally, the service also enables ‘click to dial’ directly from popular email clients Office 365 and Google Mail. The simple integration of these more popular modes of communications is easy to use and promotes adoption for small to mid-sized businesses.   

UC is more powerful than ever. Check out Business VoiceEdge, where UC comes together in a simple to use package that meets the demands of today’s small and mid-sized businesses.

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