Can you can remember when a phone was just a phone and a computer just a computer? These days, a phone is able to perform countless more functions than making a simple call. It can send emails, act as an instant messaging client and make video calls. The same is true of computers: you can use them to videoconference, send emails, pay bills, shop, book travel and collectively edit documents with others all around the world!
Companies such as Interush – which was founded 10 years ago, and aims to provide marketing and communication apps that help people to develop and optimize their online skills - have been at the forefront of bringing unified communications to the general public. As providers of unified communication across multiple platforms from desktop and laptop, to tablet and smartphone become more common and the technology itself becomes more and more prevalent, having a concrete understanding of what UC is becomes even more paramount.
What is Unified Communications (UC)?
"Unified communications" is itself a broad phrase. At its most simple, it refers to the merging of several modes or forms of communication, such as telephony and voice over IP (VOIP), instant messaging and chat, and video conferences. The term also includes presence information services, which lets one user know if another user is logged in and available for chat or video.
The term includes the real time communications services mentioned above, as well as delayed messaging, such as voicemail, SMS and email. UC works across media. For example, one user can send a text message or instant message to another using a smartphone or other mobile device. The receiving user can accept the message on another smartphone or on a computer.
As the name might suggest, one of the major benefits of UC is unification. It streamlines all of the communication options currently available, making it easier for individuals or businesses to access their messages and modes of communicating.
Interush sums up the benefits of UC by stating: "There is so much happening in our day to day lives; so many communication outlets all vying and screaming for our attention. It’s imperative that we figure out ways to connect these communication outlets in a more uniform way that will allow everyone to be on the same page, instantly."
UC ultimately makes doing business or living life easier. A person no longer has to maintain a separate personal phone number or business number. With UC, he or she can have a single ‘follow me’ number that rings each phone or device when someone calls, anywhere in the world.
Chats, texts, email and videos can all be made from one device, instead of a person having to toggle back and forth between multiple devices. According to Interush, "UC allows an individual to create and send a message from one medium to multiple recipients on various devices anywhere in the world. With so many communication outlets available, centralizing all of them is essential."
Since UC also includes presence information, a user will have a general idea if the message sent will be received immediately or if there will be a delay. Presence information also increases productivity. With presence information, a user doesn't have to wonder if the other person will be on the other end of the phone, ready to take a call. If one user doesn't want to receive calls or messages that moment, he or she has the option of switching his or her status to "Away" or "Do Not Disturb."
Another major benefit of UC is that the digitized information is conveyed using high-speed fiber-optics, not antiquated copper phone lines. The method of transmitting information isn't just faster; it's also more secure. A company or individual using UC can encrypt the data coming or going, keeping private messages truly private.
UC is here already, and it's expected to stay. One example of UC in action is the Phytter app from Interush. Phytter is "an app that incorporates VOIP functions right on your smartphone. It is portable and helps keep you and your company connected worldwide," according to the company. Other well-known examples of UC include Skype, which allows people to make VOIP calls or send instant messages from a smartphone or computer.
Those apps are just two leading examples of UC and VOIP technology. According to the 2014 VoIP and UC Services and Subscribers report from Infonetics, the services market for VOIP for both businesses and residential customers grew 8 percent between 2012 and 2013, up to $68 billion. Globally, there were 212 million residential VOIP customers in 2013, an increase of 8 percent from 2012.
The future looks bright for unified communications. Infonetics anticipates that UC and VOIP services will continue to see strong growth from the year 2018. It expects that by then, UC will have yearly revenues of $88 billion.
Unified communications makes life and business easier for everyone. It streamlines people's ability to get in touch and makes missed calls and messages a thing of the past. Companies such as Interush are not only making communication easier; they are also making it more cost-effective and efficient on a global basis.