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.
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What do Bebo, Cyworld Facebook, and Xanga all have in common? All are currently on a list of major active social networking websites1. Cyworld, a popular social networking site in Korea, has 27,000,000 registered users while Bebo, an acronym for Blog Early, Blog Often, has 117,000,000 registered users ranking it 1,0602 according to Global Alexa, a web information company owned by Amazon. Based on statistics from Facebook there are more than 500,000,000 active users with over 50% of the active users logging on the Facebook on any given day3.
There is no question; Social Media (SM) has changed the way we communicate and the users that Social Networking (SN) sites are attracting is growing. This is significant when there is an emergency and a 911 call should be made. An American Red Cross survey released in August of this year, shows many web users would turn to social media to seek help.
“The online survey asked 1,058 adults about their use of social media sites in emergency situations. It found that if they needed help and couldn’t reach 9-1-1, one in five would try to contact responders through a digital means such as e-mail, websites or social media. If web users knew of someone else who needed help, 44 percent would ask other people in their social network to contact authorities, 35 percent would post a request for help directly on a response agency’s Facebook page and 28 percent would send a direct Twitter message to responders.”
"The first and best choice for anyone in an emergency situation is to call 911," said Gail McGovern, American Red Cross president and CEO, in a statement. "But when phone lines are down or the 911 system is overwhelmed, we know that people will be persistent in their quest for help and use social media for that purpose."4
When disasters strike SM is very often the first point of contact. When the earthquake ravaged Haiti, #Haiti very quickly became the top trending topic on Twitter. Some Haitians who were caught underneath the rubble even used SM, as a way of communication.
All of this means that communications platforms and 911 providers will need to be able to integrate SM and SN. For example, in a recent new product announcement Avaya Flare will support Twitter, Facebook and Skype with the ability to add additional Social Networking capabilities.
This a good start, but to be successful the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) network will need some significant upgrades. Some PSAP’s have upgraded in order to be able to accommodate E911 or Enhanced 911 and some work has already started on NG911 or Next Generation 911 in some jurisdictions. It takes time, money and the political will to make the changes necessary, but if 911, E991 and NG911 are to embrace Social Media and Social Networking, changes are needed.
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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?