Unified Communications is a blanket term for applications that provide multiple means of collaborating – the common trifecta being Instant Messaging, Voice, and Video. In the market today, we have Cisco's CUCM, or Cisco Unified Communications Manager, and Microsoft Skype for Business. There are other players in the UC space, like Avaya and 3CX, but they own a much smaller part of the market.

Unified Communications is a feature-set that many businesses are moving to as their legacy (which is a nice way of saying OLD) phone systems become harder and more expensive to support. Another big driver, and arguably the better one, is the amount of efficiency your business gets when it uses a unified communications platform. Where previously you were tied to your desk phone to communicate within the business, you can now utilize any number of software clients on your computer or cell phone to make phone calls, send messages, see the status (or presence) of your peers to know if they are busy, on a phone call, in a meeting, or out of the office, and even setup video calls and collaborative meetings where you can share screens, present, and share files. All instantly, and from a variety of devices all over the world.

That is Unified Communications. This advanced feature-set can improve your business' efficiency and help innovate business process, especially when incorporated with the software your business uses in your environment. Want to get an instant message when a valve that is being monitored goes past a certain threshold? Can do. Want to be alerted when your peer is available to ask a question? Can do. Want to schedule a virtual meeting with people within your company and your customers? Can do. Want to present a webinar to your customer base? Can do. Each UC system has slightly varying features, but at the end of the day you're going to see a substantial increase in capabilities to enhance your business process.

Most UC Systems run using the protocol SIP.

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