One Application for All Methods of Communication
What is Unified Communications?
An up to the minute telecommunications industry buzzword with differing meanings depending on the individual, the context and the application, it’s easy to become confused about just what Unified Communications represents. With each manufacturer and perhaps service provider practicing their own unique definitions, Unified Communications as a common term can be difficult to grasp.
Acteon Networks LLC defines Unified Communications as one application for all methods of communication used in everyday business practices. With that understanding of Unified Communications, we include:
Consider your daily work life. If the first thing you do after grabbing a cup of coffee and greeting your co-workers is check email, with a Unified Communications approach opening email becomes the catalyst, triggering every other communication method you may use.
Imagine begin able to check voice, email, send a fax, arrange for a conference – or step into a conference- use a mobile device or instant message a client about an upcoming appointment, all from Microsoft Outlook.
Using Microsoft Outlook in conjunction with the NEC UCB product (Unified Communications for Business), business communications are new efficient, streamlined and seamless.
UCB has revolutionized dialing a phone, checking voice mail messages and programming your telephone voice mail. UCB allows viewing and dialing internal contact list phone numbers at a glance. Transfer an incoming call or park a call. UCB makes these daily tasks as simple as a mouse click.
External contacts are a snap because the system will search through your contact list- whether it’s located in the phone system directory, or in an Outlook contact list.
UCB transforms voice mail creating a dimensional, flexible tool for your clients. Imagine voice mail messages as customized information for your clients.
UCB offers 99 pre-recorded messages to select from as well as a message scheduler, which will automatically change messages keeping greetings appropriate for day or nighttime calls. Voice mail and your Outlook Calendar become a coordinated team, getting detailed information to the people who need to reach you.
With unified messaging, voice mails can be converted to email displays.
This is how unified messaging works: An MP3 file is attached with the voice mail caller’s message. Voice mails can be delivered to file folders to be handled immediately, or checked at a later time. Forwarding messages to staff and clients who need to see them can be accomplished when it’s convenient for you. Whether those contacts are internal or external, transitioning a voice mail to an email message is a snap.
UCB faxing means faxes can be sent or received at the desktop. Gone are the days when a walk to a central office fax machine, broke concentration or delayed a project. Gone are delays between when a fax is created and when it is received because someone else handles faxes, or faxes are left stacked in a bin. With UCB fax messages fax pages are received as an email attachment and sending faxes is as easy as clicking “Print”.
Audio conferencing revolutionizes virtual conferences as never before.
Pull key people together on the fly, or schedule conferences using wizard applications and toolbars. Scheduling conflicts are avoidable because program viewing enables conference ports on the system to see conference participant’s availability.
Imagine being able to visually see who is speaking, rather than guess during a conference call when time is essential. Volume adjustments, including mute options for individual callers, allow you to better manage conference meetings with multiple participants.
Drag and drop people into the conference instantly, rather than organizing a conference with a central call number. Being able to pull individuals into a private conference room, only when they are needed, streamlines conference efficiency and minimizes wasted time.
Mobile or cell phones, as we love to call them, are here to stay. Since this technology won’t go away, why not embrace it as a way to expand the corporate phone system. A cell phone can talk to a corporate phone with a “go mobile” button. Transfer desk calls to your cellular phone and continue that call- unbroken and seamlessly- as you head out the door. This Smartphone feature allows viewing of voice mail messages, missed calls, employee or key staff presence, and more.
If presence means availability, UCB has taken presence to a new business level.
Presence means knowing your employee status by glancing at your desktop. From checking vacation and travel schedules to phone usage, including voice mail forwarding and extension forwarding, presence is a task minder and task finder. Presence allows home office staff to see where employees are located when they’re on the road. Employees can view other staff member’s mobile positions, which can create quicker service and logistical opportunities.
Meeting attendance and office time, when staff are using keyboards or mouse functions is another way presence can be used to enhance productivity.
Presence is the ultimate customer service provider tool. With presence, customers can be transferred to someone who is available – at the precise moment he’s needed- rather than leaving a voice mail for future attention. Employees, too, can use presence to access other employees, making real time contacts, instead of looking for someone who is off site, or busy with someone else.
Instant messaging or chat, works in a similar fashion in the business world as it does for countless people in their social and personal lives. With business chat, employees can gather information quickly from internal sources. Chat increases customer satisfaction because it reduces follow-up and call back time. The information pool opens up exponentially, so customer or staff questions are answered quickly, because the access to those in the know is faster, too.
The results of the improved ‘visibility’ gleaned from the empowerment of collaboration, that is utilized through Unified Communications, speak for themselves. One company saved in excess of $900K by migrating to a private, cloud-based UCC system at each of their 250+ locations. Their savings included 50% reduction in long distance, $300,000 through elimination of desk sets, and 50% reduction in cabling with PoE. The numbers may seem dramatic, but the results are not uncommon.