Unified Communications, or UC, has no official or even widely accepted definition. Pundits, analysts and journalists all have their own descriptions. So do vendors – theirs just happen to fit their own products perfectly. But this lack of consensus doesn’t mean the term is meaningless. In fact, unified communications is a complex but very real phenomenon. And this phenomenon has the potential to radically improve businesses’ ability to communicate.
It all starts with the fact that companies these days have lots of communication methods at their disposal. These range from ancient to advanced. At the historic end of the scale lie voice calling, fax and e-mail. At the more contemporary end are instant messaging, screen sharing, video conferencing and beyond. The list is lengthening rapidly due to the continuing invention of new ways to use Internet-related technology to communicate. The problem is that many of the methods were originally developed as independent or standalone applications and services. But if many or most of them can be somehow made to work together, the benefits can be enormous.