According to the International Engineering Consortium, unified
communications is an industry term used to describe all forms
of call and multimedia/cross-media message-management functions
controlled by an individual user for both business and social
purposes. This includes any enterprise informational or transactional
application process that emulates a human user and uses a single,
content-independent personal messaging channel (mailbox) for
The essence of communication is breaking down barriers. In
its simplest form, the telephone breaks distance and time barriers
so that people can communicate in real time or near real time
when they are not together. There are now many other barriers
to be overcome. People can use many different devices to communicate
(wireless phones, personal digital assistants [PDA], personal
computers [PC], thin clients, etc.), and there are now new forms
of communication as well, such as instant messaging. The goal
of unified communications involves breaking down these barriers
so that people using different modes of communication, different
media, and different devices can still communicate to anyone,
anywhere, at any time.
Unified communications (UC) encompasses several communication
systems or models including unified messaging, collaboration,
and interaction systems; real-time and near real-time communications;
and transactional applications.
- Unified messaging focuses on allowing users to access voice,
e-mail, fax and other mixed media from a single mailbox independent
of the access device.
- Multimedia services include messages of mixed media types
such as video, sound clips, and pictures, and include communication
via short message services (SMS).
- Collaboration and interaction systems focus on applications
such as calendaring, scheduling, workflow, integrated voice
response (IVR), and other enterprise applications that help
individuals and workgroups communicate efficiently.
- Real-time and near real-time communications systems focus
on fundamental communication between individuals using applications
or systems such as conferencing, instant messaging, traditional
and next-generation private branch exchanges (PBX), and paging.
- Transactional and informational systems focus on providing
access to m-commerce, e-commerce, voice Web-browsing, weather,
stock-information, and other enterprise applications.
Unified Communication Solution
Unified Communication Components