UC is gaining importance in business. Why?

Posted on January 14, 2016

Though once a rather generic blanket term understood by few, unified communications (UC) has grown into a solution many government, business and not-for-profit organisations are taking advantage of.

According to the recent 'Unified Communications Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Trends and Forecast, 2012-2018' report from Transparency Market Research, UC has seen a staggering adoption in recent years, with a 15.7 per cent compound annual growth rate.

In 2011, the UC market was worth a respectable US$22.8 billion (approximately AU$32 billion). At the current projection rate, it will increase in value to a substantial US$61.9 billion (AU$87 billion) by 2018, the research showed.

So, with organisations picking up on UC to such an extent, you may be asking what it is and whether you could take advantage of some of its benefits.

What is unified communications?

This innovation is the adoption of a range of versatile communication services, such as video, instant messaging, voice, audio and web resources - amongst others.

While we were previously restricted to slow and efficiency-impeding methods, such as snail mail and telephone conversations, UC enables businesses to equip their staff and stakeholders with better forms of highly functional devices and services.

Employees can now make use of click to dial video conferencing on a tablet, mobile, desktop or room based system for more intimate conversations with clients, instant messaging for quick in-house communication, and various other methods to remove latency and improve productivity.

Some other advantages include:

1) Enabled mobility

By integrating a range of devices, employees are no longer either tied to their desks or inefficient when forced to be away from them. Unified communications allows for smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices to be used anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

2) Helps inclusiveness

Not all communication methods are possible for everyone. People with disabilities can often be restricted to a certain form, such as text for those with speech impediments or voice for people who have trouble typing.

Unified communication allows people to communicate in the method they find most convenient and comfortable.

Meanwhile, voice integration can, as Art Schoeller of Forrester explained, "reduce the complexity of both the user and management experience".

3) Often more affordable

A unified communication package is often paid for as-a-Service, limiting the cost of expensive wholesale changes to an organisation's communication and network infrastructure. It also makes it incredibly scalable, so users can opt in to more or less of the service as it's required.