What is Unified Communications and what does this offer technology offer for businesses?

Many businesses are now turning to Unified Communications, with the global Unified Communications market expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.4% from 2023 to 2030. What exactly is Unified Communications and what can it offer to your business?

What is Unified Communications?

Unified Communications (UC) is a technology infrastructure that integrates a number of communication tools including voice, video, messaging and collaboration applications into a single platform. This platform can be accessed from any device and location, enabling more effective communication and collaboration.
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What do Unified Communications systems include?

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Voice Calls

Phone calls still play a vital role in customer support. Many consumers still prefer reaching out to businesses through a voice call and speaking directly to another human so ensuring that voice calls are available to customers is important for customer satisfaction. A Unified Communications system leverages IP Telephony to enable you to make and receive calls over the Internet from a mobile phone, desktop, or other Internet enabled device.
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Unified Messaging

Most Unified Communications solutions integrate email and voicemail as well as instant messaging. By consolidating multiple platforms into one inbox you are able to monitor all incoming messages regardless of the channel they are coming in from. This ensures that you are not missing valuable contact from customers, leads and partners.
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Presence and instant messaging

Presence is a key feature of Unified Communications and collaboration. Presence allows you to see the availability of the person you wish to talk to. Presence capabilities make communication more convenient since you can see when a person is available. Changing your presence status to unavailable at times when you are not able to receive calls or messages means you remain undisturbed. Unified Communications enables the integration of Instant Messaging meaning that multiple different communications channels can be monitored from a single platform.
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Teleconferencing

The majority of Unified Communications solutions include an integrated web-based conferencing system. A few require the installation of specialised hardware so be sure to check with the provider before purchasing their services.
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Collaboration Tools

Some Unified Communications platforms also provide collaboration tools, enabling users to work together on documents, launch presentations and share files. These tools often come with voice call capabilities so that users can talk whilst working together remotely.
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Integrated Applications

Many Unified Communications solutions can integrate third-party applications, allowing you to customise your communications system specifically to your needs. Some of the common integrations include email, customer relationship management software and other API based programs.

What benefits can Unified Communications bring to a business?

Flexible Workforce

With Unified Communications employees can communicate from a consistent extension even if away from their desk. Rather than having a desk phone number and a mobile number, employees can have an app on their mobile that allows them to continue using the same extension even if they are out in the field. Having a consistent number for each employee maintains a professional image and enables seamless and flexible communications.

Reduced costs

Having different providers for different IT services, such as voice calls and video conferencing, often means that you end up paying twice as much for an overlap in service. Streamlining your services can lead to a reduction in costs. Updating older systems can also lead to cost savings, for example upgrading traditional phone lines to IP Telephony. Having a high quality, reliable communications system can also cut down the need to travel to meetings etc, as many of these can be carried out over a HD conferencing call.

Broader Communications

Unified Communications can open up additional methods of communication that you may not have considered before, or may have avoided to prevent confusion with multiple platforms available to employees. Having a range of communications methods available all in one place gives employees and customers the freedom to choose their preferred contact method without having to juggle multiple applications. For example, you may not currently offer online chat on your website to minimise the number of places employees have to monitor but if those messages came into the same platform as your calls etc then this may be more feasible.

Improved customer service

With IP Telephony (part of a Unified Communications package), you can communicate with customers (and other employees) from anywhere with an Internet connection. With recent trends in flexible working, it is no longer practical to rely on someone always being in the office to answer customers calls coming in through a traditional phone line. Unified Communications mean that customer calls and enquiries, whether through voice or messaging services, can be picked up from anywhere and responded to promptly.

Increased productivity

Unified Communications offer features such as team chats, hosted telephony phone calls and screen sharing all within one user interface meaning that team members don’t have to spend extra time switching devices to make calls or share information. Less time is wasted switching between devices. With Unified Communications it is also easier to keep track of previous conversations and prevent time being lost untangling previous miscommunications.

Enhanced user experience

Enhanced user experience A strong Unified Communications strategy can make employees day to day work much easier as they can access all forms of communication from one platform. You could also potentially gain the opportunity to offer employees hybrid working should you wish to.

Enhanced cyber security

If a business has multiple communication systems across varying platforms they are more vulnerable to security threats, such as data breaches. Having a single integrated communications platform that is stored in a secure cloud-based management system can help to ensure that sensitive data is protected.

Scalability

A significant benefit of Unified Communications systems is the ease with which the systems can be scaled depending on your companies needs. If you recruit more employees or open more physical locations then the system can easily be scaled.

Create a better relationship with your IT provider

If you have a variety of communications services with varying providers, you can have to jump through hoops to get any issues addressed. With Unified Communications you can have a single contact to address any issues should you need them.

Trends driving the adoption of Unified Communications

The shift towards hybrid working in recent years has been a powerful driver in the growth of Unified Communications. In February 2022, 84% of workers who had to work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic said they planned to carry out a mix of working at home and in their place of work in the future (ONS, 2023). In spring 2022 (27 April to 8 May), when guidance to work from home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was no longer in place in Great Britain, 38% of working adults reported having worked from home at some point over the past seven days (ONS, 2023). Businesses are needing to adapt their systems to accommodate for hybrid working or risk an increased rate of employee turnover. 

The growth of cloud services has also had a large influence on the Unified Communications industry as the agility that comes hand in hand with cloud services
lends itself to Unified Communications.

Implementing Unified Communications

The key to successfully delivering a Unified Communications package is to work backwards from the end user. The aim is to empower workers; streamlining productivity and providing new opportunities for the business’ communications. When selecting the most suitable solution for your business you should consider what you would like to get from the platform, both in terms of functionality but also scalability and interoperability. 

Unified Communications from CloudConnX

Here at CloudConnX we offer 3CX as a Unified Communications package. 3CX is a turnkey package designed to support your business in all aspects of communications. 3CX integrates IP telephony, video conferencing, live chat (website, WhatsApp or Facebook), and SMS. 3CX can also be integrated with Customer Relationship Management Systems and Microsoft 365 (including Teams). 3CX can be accessed from physical handsets, a desktop application, mobile app or web client. 

You can find out more about 3CX here: https://www.cloudconnx.net/services/voice/3cx
If you have any questions about Unified Communications, or are interested in finding out more about how this could benefit your business, a member of the team would be happy to help. Please give us a call on 0330 122 0550 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..