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December 03, 2012
VoIP and Unified Communications (UC), Perfect Together

By Allison Boccamazzo, TMCnet Web Editor

As voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) adoption continues to grow in enterprises around the world, the desirability of having all communications traffic on an increasingly all IP network is attracting intense interest in also implementing unified communications (UC) capabilities. In fact, in an age where being able to leverage UC’s business process optimization functionality and its ability to increase cross-enterprise collaboration, the case for VoIP and UC driving mutual adoption is strong.

”The two technologies complement one another – and while they aren’t inseparable, it’s a case where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts,” explains IT analyst, author trainer and speaker Deb Shinder.

They may be complements but VoIP and UC are not the same

Many claim that UC brings out the best in VoIP, but it’s important to understand that they are not equivalent to one another. While VoIP is about migrating enterprise voice traffic off of TDM networks and leveraging the efficiencies of having a flatter network, UC is about much more. As noted it entails taking full advantage of IP networking and the Internet for a comprehensive range of capabilities including presence and real-time multimedia collaboration. And, while the promise of UC has been around for years, the business cases for increasing individual productivity as well as driving business process optimization now are making its deliverables compelling. They include: the ability to create mulitmedia contact centers, integrated Web and audio conferencing) with the benefits of increasing revenue, decreasing costs, enhancing productivity and improving customer service in unique, forward-thinking ways.

For example, even the most standard features of a UC system can greatly increase productivity. Shinder supports this claim by elaborating on how a UC system can accomplish a number of things, including:

  • Sending messages to multiple persons by making a single call
  • Using text-to-speech translation to have e-mails read to the user over the phone
  • Using the same device and interface to access such things as e-mail, voicemail messages and faxes

This is why it is important to understand that while UC is not VoIP and VoIP is not UC, together, they can create a delicious combination of exceptionally powerful communications.

“To suggest that VoIP is equal or antecedent to UC is totally misleading,” adds Bennie Langenhoven, managing executive of Tellumat (News - Alert) Communication Solutions. “Users can have full-blown UC inside their organization while connecting to the outside world using whatever voice protocol they choose.”

Perfect together

So in a nutshell, no one needs VoIP to implement UC, but VoIP does make it easier, as this consolidation allows users to manage multiple services at once. For example, it could enable the same people who manage e-mail and Internet services to manage telephone and fax services as well, which results in less overhead and more consistency.

When you think about it, VoIP and UC can be comparable to a perfectly matched couple; individually, each person offers wonderful capabilities, but together, they mesh to make one another even better.

It’s this type of collaboration that is becoming a standard for managing communications in businesses of all sizes.To capitalize on this, however, you must first acquire a solid understanding of how these technologies work both separately and in unison.

A good place to get educated and to understand your options and the benefits of moving to IP, Patton Electronics offers a full portfolio of broadband solutions. They include VoIP routers and gateways, ethernet extension solutions and other capabilities that enable your company to become high-performance (people as well as processes) today and future ready. Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync certified, the company can help you get the most out of moving to VoIP and UC. And, they recently announced, together with sister company Patton-Inalp (Switzerland) two new premium support services for 24x7 global coverage.  

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert)Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Peter Bernstein

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