Essential Guide

Unified communications technology basics

Understand UC terminology and what components make up the technology.

Introduction

unified communications and collaboration

Unified communications technology is known by many names: collaborative communications, unified communications and collaboration (UCC), and information and communications technology (ICT). Unified communications is defined differently depending on the industry expert you speak to.

What was once telecommunications has evolved to encompass all forms of communication, from messaging to Web conferencing. As current technology improves and new technology enters the marketplace, the components of unified communications also develop.

This essential guide will cover everything you need to know about what makes up unified communications technology.

1UC component: IPT-

Understanding IP telephony and VoIP

Internet Protocol (IP) telephony has become a critical part of unified communications technology as enterprises move on from traditional phone service and use the Internet to deliver voice, fax and other forms of communication. IP telephony (IPT) takes advantage of the Internet to deliver phone calls. Although IP telephony (IPT) and Voice over IP (VoIP) are used interchangeably, VoIP is technically a subset of IPT. IPT takes advantage of the Internet to deliver phone calls, while VoIP is the transport mechanism used to manage voice communications over IP. The resources below explain IPT and VoIP technologies further.

Tutorial

The basics of IP telephony infrastructure

IP telephony treats enterprise communication as a single entity rather than a group of discrete telephone systems. Learn the core functionality and architecture basics of IP telephony in this tutorial. Continue Reading

Tutorial

UC and IP telephony protocols and implementation

Unified communications and IP telephony have many advantages over traditional phone systems, but enterprise IT must first understand UC and IPT protocols before implementing the technology. Continue Reading

Feature

Should you use PSTN or VoIP?

While most enterprises use some form of VoIP, many have not fully committed to this unified communications technology. Use this feature-by-feature comparison chart to determine if your enterprise is ready to switch from the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to VoIP. Continue Reading

Tip

Which telecom solutions fit your business?

Choosing the best telecom solution depends on your business size and operations. Learn which telecommunication solution best fits your company's needs. Continue Reading

2UC component: Presence-

Understanding presence in unified communications

Presence technology makes it possible to locate and identify a computing device when the user connects to the network, regardless of the device's location. It also allows users to monitor the availability or state of another user, adding ease and convenience to unified communications. Learn the basics of this unified communication technology and how presence can increase productivity within your enterprise.

Tip

Defining presence technology in unified communications

Presence is an essential component of unified communications and collaboration technologies in an enterprise. Learn in this primer how presence technology makes employees more productive. Continue Reading

Tip

Presence technology benefits

This Q&A with UC expert Jerry Gechter will help you understand the benefits of presence and why you need to know about this technology. Continue Reading

Tip

How to deploy presence in the enterprise

Learn how to implement presence technology and increase productivity in your enterprise. Continue Reading

Tip

Using location-based technologies to improve mobile presence

Location-based technologies in mobile devices can further the automation of presence technologies and improve enterprise UC applications. Continue Reading

3UC component: Messaging-

Understanding unified messaging

The term unified communications was ultimately derived from unified messaging. Messaging technologies include email, voicemail, faxes and instant messaging (IM). Unified messaging incorporates messaging services -- like fax and voicemail -- into a single mailbox that a user can access via email or phone. Learn the basics of unified messaging and how to find the best messaging platform for your business from our resources below.

Answer

Unified messaging vs. unified communications: What's the difference?

Learn the difference between unified messaging and unified communications in this Ask the Expert response. Continue Reading

Tip

Evaluating unified messaging and email platforms

As unified messaging and email systems grow in size and in function, learn how to evaluate your enterprise's needs when it comes time to upgrade your messaging platform. Continue Reading

Tip

Voicemail in your VoIP environment

If you're using VoIP, consider your network design before implementing a voicemail system. Continue Reading

Tutorial

Understanding instant messaging

This learning guide explains IM business benefits, protocols and standards, and provides resources on how to keep this UC technology secure. Continue Reading

4UC component: Conferencing-

Understanding audio, video and Web conferencing

From audio to Web to video, conferencing has evolved as newer technologies emerge. Conferencing allows for greater mobility and presence for an enterprise. Learn the fundamentals for conferencing and how to successfully deploy conferencing technologies in your enterprise.

Answer

How Web, audio and video conferencing compare

Learn the difference between Web, audio and video conferencing and their functions in this Ask the Expert response. Continue Reading

Feature

Voice and video conferencing basics

In this book chapter, from VoIP: An In-Depth Analysis, learn the concepts and techniques needed to deliver acceptable voice and video conferencing performance. Continue Reading

News

Understanding Web conferencing infrastructure

What sets Web conferencing apart from other conferencing systems is its one-to-many, real-time broadcast attributes. Learn the design and processes of Web conferencing systems and how it can be integrated into your enterprise. Continue Reading

Misc

Video conferencing types

Learn the different types of video conferencing systems, and which one fits with your enterprise, in this primer. Continue Reading

Tip

How video conferencing works with unified communications

Video conferencing deployments used to require separate equipment and infrastructure. Learn how to overcome these issues by integrating video conferencing with a unified communications interface. Continue Reading

5UC definitions-

Unified communications technology terms to know

Unified communications technology jargon is fraught with acronyms -- UC, VoIP, POTS, PBX -- yet understanding these terms is crucial to comprehending the technology. Learn to speak UC lingo using our glossary of basic unified communications terms below.