What is the difference between VoIP and Unified Comms?

Communications are changing so rapidly, even many experts have catching up to do. Two technologies that most of us will be using in the future, if we aren’t already, are VoIP and Unified Communications.

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What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol is any technology that digitally encodes speech and delivers it over the internet. There have been (and still are) numerous packages that go about this slightly differently, but in recent years, they have become inter-operable – able to use the same components and communicate transparently. If you’re interested in this topic, see http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/unified_communications/Who-Sets-the-Standards-for-VoIP–3491911.htm.

A breakthrough for VoIP was the facility to interface with local telephone exchanges. Consequently, caller and receiver no longer need to be sitting at computers: you can use IP phones in the same way you pick up and use any other phone – but the signal travels over your broadband connection.

A market in connections and bandwidth has arisen, usually called “wholesale az VoIP termination” (see https://www.idtexpress.com/ for details).

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What is Unified Comms?

Whereas VoIP has become viable through the convergence of similar technologies, diversity is the whole point of UC. UC packages combine diverse communication channels behind a unified interface.

Unified comms involve numerous applications and platforms, including things like VoIP telephony, instant messaging, chat-room and social media functions, SMS, voice mail, video mail, video conferencing, speech recognition and speech controlled routing, screen sharing, faxing and emailing. They are readily integrated into CRM suites too.

UC packages share two guiding principles which can be summarised under the following terms.

Consistency

Developers try to maintain what is already familiar to people – like Outlook, Thunderbird or the layout of social media sites, but also converge these modules into a consistent interface that is the same whether users are at their laptop or using a handheld device out in the field.

Presence

Unified communications aim to preserve the accessibility or presence of others by adapting to their location and availability at all times. In other words, it recognises where they are and how to contact them – a phone call can become an email containing a voice message, or a document redirected to a personal assistant, enabling everyone to cooperate effectively at all times.

For most businesses, adopting VoIP is the milestone that makes it possible to think about unified comms in the future.

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