The benefits of taking unified communications mobile.
UC Isn't Just for the OfficeThe benefits of taking unified communications mobile.
Unified communications (UC) is often viewed as an office-based technology. Because UC is founded on VoIP, and VoIP is increasingly replacing legacy PBX systems, there is an associated preconception to think in legacy PBX terms, with one box (or server) routing voice calls to extensions throughout a building.
But this is the age of agnostic networking.
Packets don’t care if they run over Ethernet, Wi-Fi, LTE, or anything else. They also don’t care if they’re voice packets, video, or text. As such, it’s imperative to view UC as a mobility solution as much as a productivity and collaboration tool for desk workers. In an increasing number of cases, it can pay to not distinguish mobile from desktop UC at all.
Joe Schurman, UC strategy consultant and former founder/CEO of Evangelyze Communications, points to “simultaneous ring” as one obvious way in which UC now blurs the line between mobility and office communications. In the PBX model, “follow me” ringing was the norm, wherein a desk phone might ring first, then fail over to a second phone when no one picked up, and then perhaps to a cell number, and then, at extra long last, to voice mail. This was as inefficient as it was frustrating for callers. However, IP-enabled simultaneous ring merely rings every line associated with the user at once, and whichever line picks up gets connected, regardless of client device type.
Schurman points to Microsoft Lync as one platform that makes ultramobile UC a particularly rich experience.
“Out-of-the-box features, like remote user access, allow Lync users to access all of these awesome features from any location outside the firewall,” he says. “Also included is control of your incoming calls. If I miss a call, I receive a missed call notification via email and in Lync [via instant message], and if the caller leaves a voicemail message, I receive a notification for that, as well. Leveraging Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging, I receive an email message with the voicemail attachment and preview of the message in the message body—awesome. And unlike other UM systems out there, when I play the message or delete the message, the entire system synchronizes, so I don’t have to go back to my office phone and play and/or delete the message there, which is annoying and archaic. I can even call into my Microsoft Exchange Server and retrieve email, calendar, and voicemail messages, making changes to each directly using my voice over the phone.”
William Van Winkle has been a full-time tech writer and author since 1998. He specializes in a wide range of coverage areas, including unified communications, virtualization, Cloud Computing, storage solutions and more. William lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with his wife and 2.4 kids, and—when not scrambling to meet article deadlines—he enjoys reading, travel, and writing fiction.
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