Despite the fact that now the term Unified Communications has a variety of meanings, in our opinion, the ideology of unified communications can be only one. It is based on several basic principles. First, subscribers should be able to communicate with each other using modern telecommunications: video or voice calls, electronic and voice mail, Instant Messaging. In addition, the caller must have information about the presence status (Presence) of the person being called; be aware by what means he can be contacted – by phone, through the computer or only offline.
The principle of communication, which involves communication only in the format of “point-to-point” (as it happens in traditional telephony), is going back into the past. The second important component of UC are the means of collaboration. This is not only audio/video conferences but also the common work with files and documents, joint remote work on projects.
The third component is actually “unification”, which, in the broadest sense of the word, means the ability to receive the services listed in the previous paragraphs by all possible means, limited only by technical capabilities or the imagination of developers.
So, if not start giving long and abstract arguments about what they are and what they can be, we will only say what Cisco Systems means by this.
In our understanding, UC products should work on all commercially supported platforms, the most common of which at the moment are various versions of Windows and Mac OS for stationary, as well as Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian for mobile devices. Thus, all possible modern means of communication are covered: PCs, mobile, and IP telephones, communicators, PDAs.
At the same time, our products realize the possibility of integrating Cisco solutions with Unified Communications products of other developers, mainly Microsoft and IBM. The user, regardless of the device with which he is currently working, uses one client application with a common (“unified” if you want) interface, which allows you to use all of the above features.
Contrary to popular belief, UCs is not intended, oddly enough, only for communications. They are designed to support the life of companies, which is now complicated by the abundance of heterogeneous communications. Hence the need for the “integrability” of Unified Communications systems in the client’s business processes, and support for interaction with products from other developers.
It is worth saying a few words about benefits of small business unified communications for the manufacturer and the buyer. Since unified communications is a relatively new phenomenon, with the delivery of complex systems, according to the Pareto principle *, 80% of the profit comes from the developer of telephony solutions (including audio/video conferencing). The same can be said about the economic effect that the client receives – 80% provide all the same telephony and teleconferences. The remaining percentages are no less important for the success of the company, although often they provide an indirect effect (improve the productivity of employees, increase customer loyalty, etc.), but can nevertheless become a decisive factor.
* The Pareto principle, or principle 20/80 – is an empirical rule, according to which 20% of efforts give 80% of the result, and the rest 80% of the effort – only 20% of the result.
Introduced by Italian Sociologist Wilfredo Pareto in 1897.
The basic aspect of unified communications, which many developers ignore, is the hardware component – the means for organizing a high-quality network, in which the information of UC customers will circulate. In particular, mechanisms supporting QoS, security, and integrity of information, prioritization of data, etc. should be supported. These solutions are traditionally the strength of Cisco. By the way, in the current economic conditions, issues of network security are becoming increasingly important. In a condition of serious hacker attacks which some time before happened, on average, one bank in six months, now the number of such attacks has increased six to seven times, and, most likely, will continue to increase. Therefore, to date, we offer a complete hardware-software solution “end-to-end” for unified communications, into which, if necessary, third-party developers can integrate.
Based on the article from the Cisco specialist (Ukraine).