What Does Unified Communications Mean and Why Does it Matter to my Organization?

If you’ve worked with us before, you’ve probably heard us talk about “unified communications.” To those outside the audio-video industry, the term might be unfamiliar.

Unified communications (UC) means integrating communication services like instant messenger, phone, video conferencing, data sharing, and more. It’s not a single product, but a set of products that provide a streamlined interface between several modes of communication at once and allows for real-time and non-real-time delivery of information. In today’s post, we’ll walk through some of the basics of how it works and break down the potential applications for various organizations.

Essentially, UC allows someone to send a message or data in one format and receive it in a different one. You might be familiar with this concept if someone sends you a voicemail, and you access it through a text converting app on your phone. Using UC allows for optimization of business practices and productivity. It enhances communication by managing flows and reducing lag time. The technology involved is continuously evolving, so we stay on top of the latest developments in this important integrated function.

Integration is key to UC and involves several possible components, including call control, instant messaging, conferencing (web, audio, video), collaboration tools, software, and business process integration. Organizations can use all of these tools through one user interface.

Unified Communication in Healthcare

If you’re in health care, UC can transform how your organization operates and serves patients. For starters, it helps staff and clinicians work more effectively. Using outdated communication styles can be costly in the long run, and more importantly, they reduce the quality of care. Unified communications create an accessible line of communication facility-wide, so patient and colleague questions are addressed efficiently.

Crises and unpredictable patient conditions are the norms in many healthcare settings, and UC increases response time. It also cuts down on redundant paperwork tasks that take time away from patient care. Plus, practitioners can consult with experts worldwide to ensure their patients receive the best care there is.

Unified Communication in Corporate Settings

Unified communications have clear benefits to the corporate world, particularly productivity. The ability to communicate more efficiently with more people boosts productivity as team members collaborate more closely. Multiple team members can, for instance, work on one document simultaneously and avoid emailing drafts back and forth. Teams of any size can meet in real-time on various platforms and seamlessly switch their communication methods to adapt to the group’s needs.

The single user interface also brings possibilities when it comes time to expand or acquire another business. It’s easier to smoothly develop or integrate when your company is already working with one consolidated interface.

Flexibility is key to the success of corporations, as the past six months have demonstrated. Whether the weather acts up, a train is delayed, or the team has to work remotely in response to the pandemic, UC allows your company to adapt to unforeseen events and stay on task.

Unified Communication in Educational Settings

Unified communications aren’t just for employee efficiency–they can also help students participate in personalized learning initiatives that allow them to learn at their own pace, focusing on what interests them. Students or staff who need to work from home for the short or long term can stay on top of what is happening in the classroom when UC is in place. Unified communications are also key to collaboration between students, teachers, school and parents, and the school system.

A unified communications plan in educational settings is also important in a moment of crisis. Efficient communication can save lives when the worst-case scenario happens. Schools can instantly connect to staff and first responders and convey important messages when the preparedness plan takes UC into account.

Unified Communication in Houses of Worship

Communication is a key function of all worship houses, so anything that helps with that goal is worthwhile. A church bulletin isn’t always enough anymore.  Unified communications help implement a strategy to reach current and potential parishioners and reduce the time church staff and volunteers spend on projects.

Larger churches and religious organizations often have many staff and volunteer work to coordinate, which can be challenging, especially for organizations with multiple campuses. Unified communications keep everyone looped in, efficient, and focused on the goals of serving congregants.

If you’d like to know more about how UC can help your organization, give us a call. We would be glad to talk through it with you and come up with some solutions to maximize your work’s impact.

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