Unified communications (UC) platforms for businesses have been gaining momentum since the 1990s, and as a relatively young technology, the jargon that providers use to talk about them can be difficult to understand. For such an intuitive and user-friendly tech, all the terms and abbreviations are sometimes a little overwhelming. In this blog, we’ll help you sort out the alphabet soup.
- IP Telephony: Also known as VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, at its core IP telephony is simply a phone system that uses an internet connection to make and receive calls. However, VoIP communications systems are also loaded with features such as call routing, the ability to have multiple phone numbers, and data gathering tools.
- CRM: Standing for Customer Relationship Management, CRM software enables users to compile a database of customer information, including documents and contact information. When integrated into a UC system, CRM software can help employees work with customers strategically with file collaboration, easy communication, and organized data.
- BPI: Business Process Integration, or BPI, is the practice of making all systems that a business uses work together. From communications to sales platforms to accounting software, each system is linked in order to group information more intuitively.
- FMC: Fixed-mobile convergence is the idea behind phone systems that erase the line between landline and mobile phone. Whether you’re using a traditional phone system or a VoIP communications system, FMC allows business calls to move seamlessly between a fixed-location phone and a mobile one.
- IVR: Most of us have probably encountered IVR, or Interactive Voice Response, when calling a major company such as a bank or utility provider. IVR is an auto attendant, plus. Not only can a phone system IVR direct callers to the correct department, it can also give information based on customer voice or keypad presses.
- Conferencing: In reference to unified communications systems, conferencing can mean web, video, or teleconferencing, giving users plenty of options to meet, talk, and collaborate over distances.
- Multimodal Communication: Rather than a software, multimodal communication is a concept of human interaction. The concept suggests that effective communication has many modes, such as verbal, aural, gestures, and visual. With UC, employees and customers have many interconnected options for communication, enabling better relationships and understanding.
- Presence Information: Presence information is a simple but useful way for employees to let coworkers and customers know if they’re available to talk or not. In UC systems, presence information is usually integrated into an instant messaging software. Employees can set their own presence information to indicate that they’re available, busy, away, or not to be disturbed.
- Extension Mobility: Another UC voice utility, extension mobility is a way for people who work at more than one location to access their phone extension from anywhere by logging in. This allows them to keep settings, contacts, and more while on the move.
- aaS: "As a service" is a trend that has been growing in the tech world, and means that a provider of tech services will host hardware and perform maintenance, as opposed to businesses paying hefty start-up costs to purchase, install, and maintain their devices. UCaaS allows businesses to start reaping the benefits of their UC system almost immediately, making it an attractive option.
While unified communications terms can sometimes be difficult to make sense of, the platform itself is really very intuitive. Once you get past the names for each component of your UC solution, you’ll wonder how you did without them before.