To appreciate the value of unified communications, the emphasis really needs to be on “unified” versus “communications.” Any organization can communicate, with almost unlimited options for how they do it. But it takes a special mix of technologies and capabilities to make those communications truly unified. This allows the people involved to function as one tight and highly effective unit.
When the members of that unit are leveraging UC, they are constantly aware of each other’s status and availability. They can be in constant contact via text, IM, and Twitter (or something like it), and when they need to talk, they can be connected in an instant. No phone calls get lost in deskphone or mobile voice mail, or projects held up because a key person can’t be reached for minutes or hours at a time.
I like to think of UC like the Olympic rings – separate circles, yet truly interlocked with the others. It’s a good comparison, too, because like the Olympics, UC not only brings everyone together, but it can do it on a global scale.
You may have seen our news announcement on May 11 about how Sprint enables UC and how UC has become a key piece of our strategy as we address business and government markets. One point in that announcement is worth emphasizing. That is that in order for UC to succeed, it must be simple and transparent. This is only truly possible when the network behind it is so sophisticated and advanced that it becomes essentially invisible.
UC is what results when the wireless and wireline technologies are converged in such a way that the types of communications that we mentioned above are fully empowered. Behind the scenes are a highly reliable 3G mobile network, with 4G capabilities as well, wireless-wireline integration with a global MPLS network, SIP trunking, and seamless connectivity with enterprise systems from Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft. Sounds complex, but all that complexity is behind the curtain, with users experiencing only the simple, feature-rich benefits of communications that are truly unified.