Unified Communications: Foundations and Benefits for Your Business

If you are looking for a VoIP Phone System or a Cloud Hosted PBX solution, you have probably come across the term Unified Communications (UC). Unless you are a really tech savvy person, chances are you are wondering what UC means, and more importantly, how it can be useful for your company.

Well, according to TechTarget.com the term Unified Communications refers to “all forms of call and multimedia/cross-media message-management functions controlled by an individual user for both business and social purposes.” In other words, UC is the combination of business and social communication features in one device.

The Idea of Unified Communications

The main idea behind UC is that communication encompasses a variety of other media and platforms, like: video, email, fax, SMS, and more.


VoIP phone systems supporting unified communications such as those manufactured by NEC, ShoreTel, Adtran and Mitel, provide solutions that merge voice communications with multimedia, messaging, and advanced applications.

A cloud Hosted PBX is another great example of practical unified communications for businesses – here we have a remote service provider offering a full suite of PBX calling features and productivity applications (SaaS) for business clients through a virtual, Internet-based platform. To read more about hosted PBX click here.

A Brief History of Unified Communications

  • The 80’s: This was the dawn of corporate communications, as providers were looking beyond voice messages and into the realms of interactive voice response (IVR) as well as the then fledgling electronic mail (email).
  • The 90’s: In this decade ‘Unified Messaging’ (Voicemail and Email on corporate devices), became very popular. Speech-controlled interfaces for mobile users were also common around this time, and desktop-level integration would eventually become one of the first real examples of unified communications.
  • The 2000: UC developed vastly over the past decade, with the advent of IP telephony, mobile platforms, and advanced speech and touch interfaces.

Because PBX Systems with voicemail and email integration were already widely used by businesses, this allowed more and more new services to be integrated with existing PBX solutions.

Benefits of Unified Communications for Businesses

UC allows businesses to benefit from their VoIP infrastructure by accessing voice, video, rich multimedia services, and applications using the same device. UC integrates multiple communication platforms, thus eliminating the need and cost of acquiring additional systems.

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