Understanding Unified Communications
Check voicemail on your computer while you text your boss. IM a co-worker while on a conference call. With a click of your mouse, walk into a virtual office where you can communicate with co-workers in real time. It’s all possible with Unified Communications - UC for short. We asked Amy Huson, Plantronics in-house expert, to talk about what UC is, how it can work for you, and the role Plantronics plays:
What is UC?
AH: UC is short for “unified communications.” It is a single point of entry for IM, data, voice, conferencing, collaboration - all the way to video. For industry in general, UC essentially represents the next platform of communication for the enterprise.
What is the main focus of UC?
AH: Better collaboration and faster decision making by communicating with the advantage of presence. That means communicating when you KNOW someone is available. Simply by turning on your computer and logging onto your UC software, you immediately know who on your team is available. Then you can move up the escalation path from IM (instant messaging) to a phone call to a full-on collaboration session. You could do the same thing from your smart phone if your company has implemented a mobile UC solution as well.
What is unique about UC?
AH: UC gives you direct access to people as they become available, resulting in a better closure rate with fewer phone calls and emails. Efficiency and productivity improve when people are able to connect with fewer time delays.
Who is UC for?
AH: The early adopters right now are virtual workers, either at a remote location or at headquarters with an overseas or long distance team. These are groups with a high cost of doing business on a regular basis. You look at who’s available and get countless quick questions answered with IM or by placing a PC-to-PC call.
What are some benefits of UC?
AH: It’s a productivity tool. You’re much more efficient when you’re able to combine all the different collaboration tools in one friendly system. Just use the drag and drop feature to place a phone call, or send a text to clear up a point while you’re on a teleconference. It’s much faster to get things done when you start with the premise that people are available.
What is the role Plantronics plays in UC?
AH: Plantronics steps in when you include voice to UC. Our headsets intelligently connect between either your computer and desk phone or your computer and smartphone. We’ve got the technical advantage in mixing different audio frequencies - like wideband, narrowband, and stereo audio - in one compact product with excellent sound. Plantronics has made the commitment to becoming the voice of UC.
How does Plantronics address the challenges of making a high-quality UC audio products?
AH: Plantronics already has expertise in working with different telephone and cell phone manufacturers. With our UC audio products, we’re building on that knowledge with another level of industry and partner integration. We’re also taking a big step forward in working on developing interfaces with multiple UC vendors on multiple operations systems.
** Savi Office is our newest UC-compatible audio product.
Are there any new UC audio products from Plantronics?
AH: Savi Office is our newest available UC-compatible audio product. It’s a premium office headset with wireless DECT technology that works with both your desk phone and your computer. With Savi Office, professionals can use a single wireless headset for PC audio, including web conferencing, multimedia streaming and music listening, and switch to/from both desk phone and PC calls at the touch of a button.
Coming Spring 2010 – Blackwire family of wideband, USB, Unified Communications Headsets
In short, unified communications systems enable you to transform your workflow as well as your physical workspace. They’re a combination of software and hardware working together to enable more efficient collaboration, benefiting both mobile and office workers.