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Our client base is versatile, from the tech savvy IT manager to the small business owner that just needs things to work. No question is asked of us more than this one: What is Unified Communications? And then there’s the predictable follow up question: Do I really need that? The answer is simply, yes. You do need Unified Communications. First, let’s start with what exactly Unified Communications is.

Unified Communications or UC for short, is essentially the network hardware and software you have working in harmony to function the way it was designed to function. UC is not necessarily the same brand of equipment from one manufacturer, or moreover, it’s making all of your equipment work together. UC is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types. That’s the first level explanation. It is unified communications. Get it? All your communicating equipment unified. Self explanatory, right? Good. Now let’s delve into the onion.

We found the following description on Wikipedia, and liked it so much to share here – UC allows an individual to send a message on one medium and receive the same communication on another medium. For example, one can receive a voicemail message and choose to access it through e-mail or a cell phone. If the sender is online according to the presence information and currently accepts calls, the response can be sent immediately through text chat or video call. Otherwise, it may be sent as a non-real-time message that can be accessed through a variety of media.

Unified Communications has arrived, and it’s here to stay. Like any other popular technology invention, there is a govering body. In May 2010, the Unified communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF) was announced. UCIF is an independent, non-profit alliance between technology companies that creates and tests interoperability profiles, implementation guidelines, and best practices for interoperability between UC products and existing communications and business applications. The original founding members were HP, Juniper Networks, Logitech / Lifesize, Microsoft and Polycom.

Here’s a partial list of companies that specialize in end-to-end solutions in the UC world:

Adtran – Cisco – AT&T – IBM – Shoretel – Alcatel Lucent

With technology ever changing, the savvy business owner is becoming hyper aware of researching their equipment purchases, and making sure the technology is working at it’s best capacity to serve their needs in the most productive manner. That’s the theory behind Unified Communications. And boys and girls, when it works, it’s Golden.

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