This article (part 1 of 2) describes different tools for team collaboration. Part 2 describes the use of video technology.
Your unified communications project should focus on improving and optimizing your business processes. At the same time, you should increase the productivity and efficiency of your company. This automatically also results in cost savings.
Unified Communications solutions not only support phone calls and faxes but also videos and data. In addition, they offer a whole range of cost-effective or even free services. Appropriate measures help optimize company processes, implement new communications services, and minimize investment and/or operating costs. This blog describes several tools for your unified communications project.
Tools for Team Collaboration
Instant Messaging, Chat
Many users use instant messaging (IM) for short queries. Since the attention is minimally interrupted during the processing of the message, this is tolerable (to a certain extent) for the employee concerned.
Data Sharing, Collaboration
Especially for collaboration in teams distributing or providing access to information, such as business documents, data sheets, presentations and much more is important. Email, file and calendar synchronization, publication of dates and coordination of tasks are interesting services.
Special tools help to improve cooperation. They usually support several functions: direct phone calls from the computer (softphone), unified messaging (one user interface for many asynchronous services, eg voice messages, e-mails, instant messaging, video messages, etc.) or unified communications (one common user interface for many communication services), voice, fax, video, data, etc.).
Many manufacturers offer unified communications solutions. The advantage of these powerful tools is the extensive support of different functionalities in a single product. The cost of such solutions is dependent on many factors.
Alternatively, customers use the best-of-breed approach, combining the best of different elements from different vendors into one unified communications platform. Cost can be reduced by selecting really necessary functions.
Additionally, more and more cloud services are available, which are very scalable and cost-effective.
Integration of Social Networks
The integration of social networks is relatively new. It allows the calling of a conversation partner via e.g. Facebook. The prerequisite is that your company provides its own Facebook, Xing, and other profiles for business-to-consumer and business-to-business processes. It helps its customers better or is more accessible to their customers.
Special platforms allow Facebook, Xing and other users to dial up to defined employees in your company. This will intensify the dialogue with your (future) customer and this leads to better customer loyalty.
Integrating Telephony into IT
You can choose to integrate your telephone infrastructure as a separate solution (with separate cabling, separate switches and routers, servers and other components) or to integrate it into your existing IT infrastructure.
From the point of view of your company and your overall system, the completely separate set-up and operation of two network infrastructures (IT, telephony), including the required servers, is not recommended as real application integration becomes impossible and synergy effects are completely absent.
However, telephone and fax services can be provided independently of the IT department by parallel design and operation of the infrastructures. Independent, autonomous departments for IT and the provision of telephone services keep retained.
Read more on video communications in my following blog (part 2).
Voice over IP – Chances, Changes, Challenges (Courseware)
Unified Communications and Co-operation (Courseware)
Voice over IP Technology (Courseware)
IP-based Video Surveillance (Courseware)
SIP – The Key to VoIP (Courseware)
About the Author
Ronald Schlager is an independent trainer, consultant, book author and blogger with focus on communications technologies and their applications. Ranked #23 of Onalytica´s List of Top 100 Influencers of “Unified Communications”