VoIP is a tool, UC is a business strategy

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VoIP is a fantastic innovation that increases communication flexibility compared to the standard PBX, and it saves money. But UC is a whole new level of communications beyond VoIP, allowing your employees to use a single platform to communicate across multiple modes, on multiple devices, from multiple locations. Employees can also change from one to another without losing the message.

Unlike VoIP, UC is not really a technology as much as it is a marketing term. In general, UC refers to a collection of tools or applications that are designed to work together to simplify communications for professionals who utilize multiple communication modes from multiple locations. Examples include email, text, mobile and desk phones for voice, and video conferencing. And while VoIP as a stand-alone isn’t generally considered UC, UC doesn’t exist without VoIP. VoIP is considered the foundation for creating a UC model. Features of UC include the range of optional services noted above that can be part of a VoIP package, as well as others. Examples include

  • Speech recognition
  • Video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Call control
  • SMS
  • Email
  • Voicemail
  • Internet telephony (VoIP)
  • Instant messaging

As we noted, UC tends to be a marketing term, because there isn’t a standard package that is understood by all to be UC. The feature list is dependent upon the vendor you select. Different vendors will have a different range of available services.

Fundamentally, whatever specific form it takes, UC is all about productivity and collaboration. You can lose a customer in a call center environment if they’d prefer to chat or text to follow-up on a phone discussion and cannot do so. Your employees waste valuable time if they are trying to communicate across incompatible platforms. The more your employees can interact using whichever communication tool is most convenient at any specific time, the more productive they can become. The more your customers can do the same, the more likely you are meeting their needs. And that is strategy.

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