Unified communications (UC) is the integration of real-time, enterprise, communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, voice (including IP telephony), mobility features (including extension mobility and single number reach), audio, web & video conferencing, fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), desktop sharing, data sharing (including web connected electronic interactive whiteboards), call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax). UC is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user-interface and user-experience across multiple devices and media-types.
In its broadest sense, UC can encompass all forms of communications that are exchanged via a network to include other forms of communications such as Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) and digital signage Communications as they become an integrated part of the network communications deployment and may be directed as one-to-one communications or broadcast communications from one to many.
UC allows an individual to send a message on one medium, and receive the same communication on another medium. For example, one can receive a voicemail message and choose to access it through e-mail or a cell phone. If the sender is online according to the presence information and currently accepts calls, the response can be sent immediately through text chat or video call. Otherwise, it may be sent as a non-real-time message that can be accessed through a variety of media.
Components of Unified Communication
With unified communications, multiple modes of business communications are integrated. Unified communications is not a single product but a collection of elements that includes;
- Call control and multimodal communications
- Instant messaging
- Unified messaging
- Speech access and personal assistant
- Conferencing (audio, Web and video)
- Collaboration tools
- Business process integration (BPI)
- Software to enable business process integration
IP telephony provides a way for you to extend highly secure, reliable, and consistent communications services to all your employees whether they are in main campus locations, at branch offices, working remotely, or are mobile. IP telephony transmits voice communications over the network using open-standards-based Internet Protocol.
Cisco IP telephony solutions are an integral part of Cisco Unified Communications, which unify voice, video, data, and mobile applications on fixed and mobile networks enabling users to easily communicate in any workspace using any media, device, or operating system. Using the network as the platform, Cisco IP telephony solutions help organizations of all sizes realize greater security, resilience, and scalability in addition to the inherent benefits of using a converged network for transport and interconnection.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM Presence
Cisco Unified Presence is a standards-based enterprise platform that brings people together in and across organizations in the most effective way. This open and extensible platform facilitates the highly secure exchange of presence and instant messaging (IM) information between Cisco Unified Communications and other applications. With this integral component of the Cisco Unified Communications system, you can:
- Facilitate faster decision making and enhance productivity using presence awareness to view the availability of your colleagues and reduce communications delays.
- See the availability of partners and customers in other organizations and exchange instant messages with them.
- Speed up your business processes and improve first-call resolution and customer satisfaction by providing availability information and communication capabilities in existing web and business applications.
- Meet business requirements with enhanced enterprise IM capabilities such as group chat, persistent chat, IM logging, IM history, and compliance.
Cisco Unity Connection
Cisco Unity Connection is a robust unified messaging and voicemail solution that provides users with flexible message access options and IT with management simplicity.
Cisco Unity Connection lets users access and manage messages from an email inbox, web browser, Cisco Jabber, Cisco Unified IP Phone, smartphone, or tablet. Unity Connection also provides flexible message access and delivery format options, including support for voice commands, speech-to-text transcription, and even video greetings.
Cisco Unity Connection is highly secure. It is designed for complex distributed global deployments with support for high availability, redundancy, and branch office survivability. It is fully virtualized, and can be run on specification-based hardware.