Globalization of the economy and businesses has changed the way how companies operate. With increasing global workforce, communication in real time or near real time can help overcome distance and time barriers. Additionally, faster business cycles demand sharing information and complex applications instantly to brainstorm ideas and make decisions. To address these complexities, competitive business environments require better communication infrastructure and businesses are now forced to implement unified communications. According to UCStrategies.com, unified communications (UC) can be best defined as integration of all types of communications to optimize business processes (Parker, 2012). UC solutions incorporate various communication models including unified messaging, collaboration and interaction systems; real-time and near real-time communication systems; and transactional applications, seamlessly integrated into one system (Rousse, 2010). The goal of UC is to deliver consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices. UC reduces latency, manages flows and eliminates device media dependencies thereby enhances communication and optimizes business processes (Wikipedia, 2013). UC trend is driven by adoption of wireless LAN technologies, presence of widespread wired/wireless network availability with up to 10 Gig or 3G high connectivity speed to smart phones and tablets. Additionally, adoption of interactive applications to share voice, video and data in real time along with cost and time saving measures are some trends that are driving unified communications over an IP network (Cisco, n.d). A growing number of case studies prove that UC is helping employees to accomplish their work more efficiently and enabling organizations to reduce costs, improve service and fasten results.
Location awareness enables the user to collaborate intelligently while keeping location in consideration ( Cisco, n.d). In UC location awareness facilitates communications between users and two protocols that support this are session initiation protocol (SIP), and session description protocol (SDP). These protocols were designed to work on traditional IP networks and support TCP, UDP, DNS and other internet protocols (Kelly, 2002 ). Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)
SIP plays and essential role in Unified Communications System. It is “an application-layer control (signaling) protocol for creating, modifying and terminating sessions with one or more participants” (Kelly, 2002). UC technologies
Unified communications (UC) is based on a set of evolving communications technologies that enable to get things done in better ways than with older communication technologies. Some of the UC technologies are (Parker, 2011). •
Presence: display information about employee status and attributes which allows others within the organization to see or search status when needed. This eliminates the wastage of communication efforts and allows work to proceed without delays. •
Instant messaging (IM): allow exchange of instant short text messages in parallel with other communications and quickens communication. •
Video communication: Bring together geographically dispersed teams with faster networks and cheaper transmission rates. Eliminate the need for physical presence and collaborate effectively with audio/video/web conferencing. •
Multimedia devices: access from both wired and wireless internet enabled devices so work can be done from anywhere from any device. •
Security: Encryption technologies protect communication and information. •
Integrated User experience: Communication can be embedded directly into the software to streamline employee workflow and communication. Enable transitioning seamlessly between email, IM, voice, and video conversations and also deliver email/voicemail/fax into a single inbox (Parker, 2011). UC security concerns
UC systems are vulnerable to various security threats and security are major...
References: Cisco (2012). Unified Communications: IP networks, connecting people anytime, anhywhere. Cisco campus_UC_whitepaper.
Dewing, H. and Schoeller, A. (2012). Build a better business case for UC. Forrester.
IT strategists. (2013). What are unified communications? Retreived February 12th from
O’Neil, S. (2010). Microsoft lync: the pros and cons for enterprises. Retreived February 12th from http://www.cio.com/article/637915/Microsoft_Lync_The_Pros_and_Cons_for_Enterprises?page=3&taxonomyId=3012
Parker, M. (2011). Unified communications: delivering new operational value. Lifesize unified communications whitepaper. UniComm Consulting.
ShoreTel. (2013). Deployment Comparison - ShoreTel and Microsoft Lync. Retreived February 12th from http://www.shoretel.com/resource_center/results?r=y/?r=y&content=182589801&v=y
Wikipedia. (2013). Microsoft Lync. Retrieved February 12th from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Lync
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