Overview of Unified Communications

Since the first time a call was placed to a phone that did not answer, users of communications devices needed unified communications (UC). However, ask 1,000 IT professionals what UC means, and you’ll likely get close to that number of answers. This is due to that fact that unlike Voice over IP (VoIP), where there is a tangible description of what a technology is or does, UC is s bit more difficult to qualify. Is it collaboration? Is it the capability to see someone’s presence? Is it instant messaging? Is it all of these in a single client? The answer is yes... and no. Without realizing it, as we attempt to collaborate on a more granular and contextual level, we have been unifying our communications slowly and steadily for years.

The truth is that UC more closely defines how humans interact in person. For example, how did you communicate with someone who was having a conversation on a mobile phone? Without thinking about it, you updated his presence to busy in a call. If it wasn’t important, you would probably just wait. However, if you really needed to communicate with someone, you would most likely make eye contact, and, if he signaled to you that he could accept communication from you, you would either use a gesture or speak to him.

This is nearly the same way you communicate when using a UC solution. Utilizing tools such as instant messaging, presence, voice, video, and screen sharing, you are able to interact with others in near real-time, using a familiar interface to provide the same clues and info you get when you interact with someone face to face.

Software-Powered Communication
As computer-processing power has dramatically increased (compare even a low-end workstation of today to the high-end workstations of less than a decade ago), the communications industry has realized that software-powered communication servers allow for dramatic changes in the way both enterprises and consumers interact with one another.

No matter how you define UC, the desire to reduce the latency in user-to-user communication should be a primary goal of any UC strategy. For example, how many times have you been involved in an email thread that stretched out over days or weeks due to time zones or some other reason that could have been solved with a quick, real-time audio conference call?

Enabling users to communicate in the method that best suits their needs at any particular moment, while relaying their willingness and availability to communicate, goes a long way towards reducing the human latency inherent in attempts at collaboration and communications today.

Source of Information : Pearson-Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Unleashed

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