If you’ve spent much time on this site, or reading about phone/internet products, you’ve probably seen the term “Unified Communications,” or UC. It’s a relatively simple term, but what does it mean exactly?
Unified Communications, in the parlance of our times (Wikipedia) is “a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.” It is a service that contains many services, kind of a Russian nesting doll of communications services. As such, the exact composition of a UC product can vary from business to business. Sometimes, it is called "UCaaS" which stands for "Unified Communications as a Service."
Consider the many types of ways you might communicate on a given business day. You might receive a few emails (or a lot), collaborate with a teammate with a chat service like Slack or Teams, check your co-worker’s online status to see if they’re available, take a phone call or 2, and maybe text a picture of your dog to your cousin over your lunch break. In many scenarios, you might need to use 4 or 5 different services or apps to make all those connections. Unified Communications attempts to combine them all into a single service. Often these days, a UC will be comprised largely or entirely of a cloud-based app.
Email, hosted Voice, instant messaging and presence, video calling, voice mail, desktop sharing and web collaboration are usually part of a Unified Communications service, but again, it can vary. In all forms, Unified Communications is a set of communications products or services, integrated within a single platform to optimize processes and increase productivity. As such, almost any business can benefit from UC.