UC Has a Bright Future as the Next Generation of Business Communications

Unified communications is coming on strong and growing fast. It is positioned as the next big step forward in the communications industry, both wireline and wireless.

In the past, companies of every size had to have telephone gear — like an expensive and complicated private branch exchange — that was paid for, installed and continually updated. The rise of unified communications has replaced that burden with systems that are easy to implement, affordable, and always up to date.

“Unified communications,” or “UC,” is the name given to subscription communications services and software. Subscribers’ phones, computers, video conferencing gear and any other kind of communications technology they might use all run through an online UC service.

Crowded Market

There are many companies that offer UC services. In addition to finding the services that match your needs, it is important to choose a company or provider you can trust. If you line up 10 UC providers, you’ll see that they all have different angles, and different strengths and weaknesses. Some focus more on one technology than another.

Selecting a provider can be challenging, but it is worth the effort, because it will improve your communications with customers, prospects, executives, employees and partners.

Owning and maintaining your own communications system can be expensive and daunting, and it may become obsolete fast. New technologies arrive at a breakneck speed. Unified Communications eliminates these headaches and empowers companies to be more competitive.

Two UC Examples

UC is a data service delivered over the Internet or data lines, both wire line and wirelessly. IP plays an important role. New technologies are digital, not analog, which means they need a data network.

Providers of UC services come from different corners of the communications industry — the telephone side, cable TV side, wireless side or Internet side.

Frontier Business, which is part of Frontier Communications, is a UC provider that comes from the telephone company side of the fence. It offers a full range of services for small and mid-sized businesses: voice, data, Internet, IPTV, video conferencing and more.

Altice USA, another UC player, just announced the addition of UC call center functionality to its Lightpath hosted voice line. Altice is a cable television company. Its MSO Lightpath delivers managed services including voice, data and Internet.

What Business Customers Want

UC is not new, but it is young. Its rapid growth and evolution are clear indications that it is the future. Every telephone company, cable television company, wireless company and Internet company either is already in the UC market or will enter it.

UC is what business customers want. The need is real and sizable. Large headquarters no longer want to wrestle with PBX systems. For smaller locations and even home offices, connecting easily over the Internet or data lines makes sense.

Think of UC as the modernization of the communications network for businesses, large and small, wire line and wireless. It is involved with every kind of communications — telephone, wireless, Internet, pay TV, video conferencing, computer communications and much more.

UC makes life much easier and better for those responsible for keeping every part of a business reliably connected and running full speed ahead.

Jeff Kagan has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2010. His focus is on the wireless and telecom industries. He is an independent
analyst, consultant and speaker.
Email Jeff.

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