The term “Unified Communications” or “UC”gets thrown around lot these days and to some degree it can be pretty intimating. There is a “Seinfeld” episode in there some where I assure you… The bottom line meaning of UC for every enterprise is options! A plethora of menu items that will weave themselves into every nook and cranny of day to day business operations.
Over the past decade the foundation of UC has been put into place by removing the bandwidth restrictions and connecting everything up to fiber. Fifteen years ago the best bandwidth I could get to my house was a 28Kbps dial-up connection. Now I am blowing the doors off that with a 50/10MB internet connection for realistically not much more than I was paying fifteen years ago.
During same period, the applications that make UC possible have matured significantly in security and feature set to enable an enterprise of any size with capabilities only previously available to very large organizations. So connectivity costs have dropped and the playing field has been leveled! Why isn’t everyone enjoying the point and click capabilities of UC?
Letting go of the past is hard to do. Change is difficult with so many options. One thing is clear, the legacy copper based PBX is dead. Nortel is gone, Avaya will more than likely get resuscitated for another five years; other smaller legacy PBX manufacturers have put End Of Life notices out on product sets.
To that very point, the FCC has given the service providers permission to start turning down legacy TDM facilities within central offices in many metro areas in favor of fiber based facilities. More than likely if you actually purchased a PRI recently it was connected to an router interface that was installed on your premise. A more typical Demarc for service is now the Ethernet interface of an access device with Gigabit capabilities ensuring you have access to bandwidth at a moments notice when it is time to upgrade.
More over if you check the FCC registry for service providers with the ability to deliver VoIP services, you will see that there are over 2,000+ organizations listed. What does this mean? The enterprise has Options and it can develop a true partnership with an organization that can help enable and deliver UC. Try calling any one of the “known” firms and see if you can develop a relationship with them. See how far they will go to earn your business. Where does their service and support stop? The demarc, the SBC or are you directed to a FAQ first?
UC is more than just delivering dial tone, video, email or a boat load of features. It enables your employees and your clients to interact like never before. It becomes a Human Resources enabler by providing the benefit of working from home or the road. UC is the glue that makes everyone appear the same no matter where they are located.
UC is not the wave of the future, it is here and now. Whether you are looking at a single manufacturer solution or co-mingling solutions because of contracts and embedded hardware. There are still many options available to the enterprise.