The UCStrategies Experts share their expertise in bylined articles, opinion pieces, blogs, and podcasts, to define unified communications, educate you about unified communications technologies, and help you make informed decisions about unified communications solutions.
UCStrategies.com defines unified communications as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.” The definition of unified communications narrows significantly when you can read and hear about real-world examples that other companies are implementing right now—and apply them to your situation.
This section offers learning tools to help you plan your unified communications implementation.
This section provides a practical, vendor-independent service to any Enterprise that is seeking the benefits of Unified Communications. How do you pull everything together to implement unified communications? Use the tools in this sequence to define unified communications for your business.
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According to the Telecommunications Industry Association, use of business class videoconferencing has grown at an average of 6.5 % for the last 3 years, but recent developments now place adoption on the verge of explosion. Some important stimulants to growth include:
As a result, use of videoconferencing technology is expanding well beyond meetings. Such applications are typically vertically-focused, and today are found in industries like manufacturing, legal/judicial, education, healthcare and public/environmental safety. Some companies are beginning to deploy the technology in contact centers to support live video chats, which can improve customer satisfaction and boost profitability. Consumer use of streaming video and videoconferencing applications is also soaring. Given the convergence of all these factors, it’s no surprise that videoconferencing traffic is now expected to grow by over 3.5X between 2010 and 2014 (see figure 2).
Figure 2: Growth of Videoconferencing, 2010-2014
Despite the substantial improvements made in videoconferencing technology, business customers still find it’s not as straightforward as deploying and using IP Telephony or VoIP. It’s true that VoIP and videoconferencing share a number of similarities; for instance, both use RTP-based media and typically use SIP or H.323 for signaling. Since both applications are often considered business critical, maintaining consistently high performance is essential. But compared to voice conferences, videoconferences provide additional challenges because they often:
Despite the progress videoconferencing technology has made and the bottom line benefits it can provide, it clearly still requires that companies engage in a substantial amount of planning and preparation. Many companies find they are unprepared for the challenges that can arise when they try to engage in a multipoint videoconference, when tying in remote users, or when interconnecting with external companies who use different WAN providers or videoconferencing equipment. Some of the technology issues businesses should assess in advance of acquiring videoconferencing systems include:
The types of challenges just discussed aren’t insurmountable. On an increasingly frequent basis, companies employ session border controller technology (SBC) for these very reasons. Whether deployed as stand-alone systems or embedded into other devices, SBCs support a number of functions that today’s generation of videoconferencing applications require, such as:
Businesses that are in the process of assessing videoconferencing vendors and providers should inquire about SBC functionality to determine which (if any) functions are a standard part of the equipment they are considering, and which they’ll need to acquire separately. Large enterprises will likely acquire stand-alone SBCs, because they support VOIP, UC and videoconferencing applications at scale. Midsized and smaller firms will seek out SBC functionality incorporated into other devices they use, such as IP PBXs, routers, firewalls, integrated access devices and multiservice gateways. One recent example is Avaya’s Aura SBC, which integrates functionality from Acme Packet. Others include multi-service gateways from Adtran and Network Equipment Technologies (NET). By proactively addressing these types of challenges, companies can help assure they realize the full value of acquiring and using videoconferencing technology.
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Communications Integrated to Optimize Business Processes.
UC integrates real-time and non-real time communications with business processes and requirements.
Uses presence capabilities for coordination, and presents a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
Learn more at What is Unified Communications all about?