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Unified Communications

Unified Communications is a term used to describe the convergence of different types of business communications systems.� Consider that nearly all businesses today have deployed a phone system, voicemail, fax, and email server.� Many also use audio, video and web conferencing, and instant messaging.� Smaller businesses rely on the telephone and email as their primary communications vehicles, while larger businesses tend to adopt more collaboration applications, such as IM and video.�� Regardless of your business size, the ability to integrate voice, messaging and collaboration will determine not only the effectiveness of your business communications, but will eventually play an even larger role in your company’s overall success.

In evaluating Unified Communications for your business you should consider four major categories:� Voice over IP, Unified Messaging, Mobility, and Real Time Collaboration, which are summarized below:�

VoIP Most VoIP systems provide very similar baseline functionality.� The important differences are in the advanced features and applications, and the ability to integrate with other communication systems (such as email) to deliver true Unified Communications.� Even if your business does not intend to deploy UC today, consider that your VoIP phone system will last 7 to 10 years, or longer.� And during the course of the next few years, UC will be more widely adopted, eventually becoming the new standard for business communications.� So make sure your system can either deliver, or integrate with, UC applications.���

Unified Messaging The ability to combine emails, voice mails, and faxes into a single location not only saves money for the company, but also enables employees to be more productive.� With Unified Messaging, there is no longer the need to buy and maintain standalone voice mail and fax systems.� It’s much more productive for employees, and cost effective for the company, to integrate these capabilities into a single, unified platform.

MobilityThe ability to integrate an employee’s mobile phone with the business phone system is becoming critically important, as the trend toward the mobile workforce continues to grow.� Most industry analysts are now predicting the demise of the desktop phone, which will be replaced by a single mobile device.� As you consider your mobility strategy, make sure the mobile solutions you evaluate seamlessly extend the critical business PBX features to mobile phones, including desktop phone call control features, company directories, personal contacts and presence.� Having the ability to deploy all business PBX features on your mobile devices will not only increase productivity, but will also reduce costs – and allow you to eliminate the expense of a desktop phone altogether . �

Collaboration Collaboration servers provide secure, managed, real time communications applications to businesses.� Most collaboration servers contain a suite of applications such as enterprise instant messaging, presence management,� PC to PC voice and video calling, and web conferencing.� By integrating these applications with your VoIP phone and email systems, enables companies to deploy a complete Unified Communications solution.� Today the deployment of collaboration servers is in the early phases.� Companies are still trying to determine the true ROI, best deployment models, and how to allow their collaboration server to securely communicate with collaboration servers in other businesses.����