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.
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
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.
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
Location-based technologies in mobile devices can further the automation of presence technologies and improve enterprise UC applications. Continue Reading
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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.
Learn the difference between unified messaging and unified communications in this Ask the Expert response. 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.
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
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.
- Instant messaging (IM)
- IP phone
- IP private branch exchange (IP PBX)
- IP telephony
- Plain old telephone service (POTS)
- Private branch exchange (PBX)
- Public switched telephone network (PSTN)
- Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)