IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Unified Communications - Look at it now!

Thu 9 Apr 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

There are many definitions of unified communications (UC). Here is the Wikipedia definition which is as good as any;

“Unified communications (UC) is the integration of real-time, enterprise, communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, voice (including IP telephony), mobility features (including extension mobility and single number reach), audio, web & video conferencing, fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), desktop sharing, data sharing (including web connected electronic interactive whiteboards), call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging(integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax). UC is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user-interface and user-experience across multiple devices and media-types”

Despite what some vendors may suggest, it’s important to remember that UC isn’t one tool. UC is a solution that pulls together all of the communication that you’re already using (plus some new ones you may want to add) so you can communicate through a consistent interface and experience. The key is to make it as simple as possible for the user.

UC can include the following and often also incorporates collaboration;

  • Real-time - mobile voice, landline voice, Instant Messaging (IM) or Chat, peer to peer video
  • Non Real Time - email, fax, TXT
  • Tools – Integrated contacts and directories, presence, integrated voicemail, click to dial
  • Collaboration – Audio, video and web conferencing, desktop sharing, interactive whiteboard

UC solutions incorporate these different modes of communications into a simple user interface. These solutions break down communications barriers so that it’s easier and faster for you to find, reach and communicate with other people, and vice versa.

Why Should You Care?

Whether you realise it or not, you are probably using UC now. Many people have email on their mobile phones today. It recognises phone numbers in emails and allows you to click to dial, send TXTs, or save as a contact with phone number and email address. This is UC. One of the key elements of UC is the integration of traditional desktop activity i.e. email, contacts etc. with traditional voice activity, i.e. voice calls, voicemail.

This is easy to see on a smartphone mobile device which is designed with both in mind. However if you are being sold a UC solution it is likely to offer you integration of your desktop with your landline voice services and offer flexibility of these services away from the office either via mobility or working from home.

  • UC solutions can help you get more done more quickly and help you stay connected to your co-workers and customers wherever you are
  • UC can help you be more productive and save you time by letting you move seamlessly from one device and mode of communication to another
  • UC can also help you operate more flexibly and save money

One of the real challenges for anyone looking at UC solutions is the ability to quantify the benefits to  your business and identify the ROI that justifies the cost. One thing most people agree on is that UC capability does empower users to be more flexible, more efficient and deliver better customer services by being more responsive. The question is by how much and what value is that to your business.

Voice is a key element to creating a UC solution when you are looking at a new enterprise voice platform. You should definitely look at how UC can help your business however as mentioned before UC is not one product so you don’t have to wait. Many traditional voice platforms, whether IP or not, can be incorporated into a UC solution through integration.

What to Consider

UC can be a confusing area to evaluate because vendors design and build their solutions with different communications and collaboration tools.

If you’re considering UC, start by putting together a list of communication pain points and challenges that your company faces. Depending on the nature of your business, its size, and how people work, you may want very different capabilities than the business next door. You’ll also want to look for a solution that is flexible enough to let you add new capabilities as you need them.

UC is something that is happening today and whilst it may be difficult to document the ROI to justify the cost of a solution the demands on businesses and individuals continue to grow. Communication is not limited from 9am-5pm. People expect to contact each other anytime and anywhere. If they can’t get hold of you immediately they expect a quick response otherwise they go elsewhere.

Don’t wait to replace your existing telephony system to think about UC. Work out how UC can benefit your business. You can integrate and leverage your existing communications today and ensure you remain competitive in the fast moving, impatient environment we live in today.

Convergence - Mobile radio and smartphones

There has been talk on how far cellular technology will eat into traditional mobile radio markets. It is another area of convergence.

One of the issues is the one-to-one communication and consumer grade devices of public cellular networks verses the one-to-many communications and robustness of mobile radio networks.

While some industries such as Emergency Services may not want to move to cellular, some might. Some corporate users may want to communicate with users on the mobile radio network. 

A few smartphone applications are now providing an instant, push-to-talk (PTT), one-to-one and one-to-many call capability. Communications become more scalable and collaboration more effective. Smartphones can provide access to the radio network when out of range and radio conversations, not previously accessible with a cellular phone, can be joined by users on their smartphone. Smartphones can provide access to senior decision makers in organising and managing teams, and assisting in compliance and safety management.

Smartphone applications may not replace mobile radios but they certainly provide some interesting options for organisations using mobile radio.

Article by Teleconsultants. For more information about the independent consultant company, check out their website.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Is your chatbot bringing down the customer satisfaction score?
The top 10 reasons why chatbots are failing to meet customer expectations and what you must do to avoid that.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Fastly, INX, Kinly, SmartBear & Vectra AI
We round up all job appointments from July 29 - August 12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
InternetNZ
How well do rangatahi understand cyber safety in Aotearoa?
Do rangatahi in Aotearoa understand the importance of being safe online, or has lifelong exposure to the internet resulted in widespread complacency?
Story image
Data Protection
Advancing genomic sequencing and public health with digital infrastructures 
Right before our eyes, we've witnessed the development of the COVID-19 vaccine in record time. An enormous achievement in an otherwise lengthy task that previously took, on average, 10-15 years.
Story image
Data analytics
Pressure on orgs to up their data analytics game - study
A recent report from Sisense highlights data transmission, analysis, and risk management remain top concerns for data professionals in APAC.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner unveils key emerging tech to watch in 2022
"Such technologies present greater risks for deployment, but potentially greater benefits for early adopters," says Gartner.
Story image
Firewall
Why printing security plays a vital part in keeping Aotearoa safe
While internet printing, mobile printing and other similar technologies have no doubt made things easier to manage, it has also brought a whole new set of problems to the table.
Story image
Servers
New Zealand cloud provider challenges Google's claims on data control for region
A Wellington cloud services provider says Google's claim it will offer New Zealanders complete control over their own data is not true.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Exclusive: NZ-based DEFEND offers global cyber protection
DEFEND supports customers in 66 countries across the globe with a relentless focus on ensuring that every dollar spent on security provides a meaningful return on investment and reduces cyber risk.
Story image
Red Hat
Red Hat announces 2022 awards winners for A/NZ region
Red Hat recently acknowledged Australia and New Zealand partners with its annual awards, highlighting partners across various categories.
Story image
Sustainability
NZ program recovers and recycles more than 177 tonnes of e-waste
The TechCollect NZ pilot program says its milestone of recovering and recycling more than 177 tonnes of ICT e-waste recognises the efforts of many.
Story image
Charity
SnapLogic teams up with meetmagic for charity and children
SnapLogic has announced its partnership with meetmagic, an online Australian platform that combines business and philanthropy.
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
Story image
SaaS
Exclusive: The Access Group shares the benefits of embracing SaaS
In today's rapidly changing working environments, efficiency and productivity are surefire ways to create business growth and success.
Story image
SaaS
Cloud and data protection big challenges for NZ businesses
"This surge towards a cloud-first approach meant security and safety became afterthoughts - there's no point being the fastest car on the racetrack if you crash.”
Story image
Application Performance Monitoring / APM
New Relic integrates offering with Atlassian’s Jira Software
New Relic has integrated errors inbox with Jira Software to allow developers to easily access and set up complete stack error tracking and software performance monitoring from within the tool.
Story image
Data analytics
Data analytics a struggle for A/NZ healthcare organisations
A study by InterSystems has found that most Australian and New Zealand healthcare organisations struggle to use data analytics to support their business objectives.
Story image
Compliance
Why security needs to shape your journey to the cloud
It's estimated that 80% of workloads could be in the cloud in the next few years. How can you make all that data secure?
Story image
VMware
Latest VMware threat report reveals truth about deepfakes
"Cyber criminals have evolved. Their new goal is to use deepfake technology to compromise organisations and gain access to their environment."
Story image
Malware
Avast One extends protection with Online Safety Score
Avast One has extended its cross-platform support by adding its Online Safety Score feature to both the Mac and iOS platforms of Avast One.
Story image
Surveillance
Ministry will no longer accept equipment from Chinese firm Hikvision
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) says it will no longer accept equipment from a major Chinese surveillance camera maker.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Palo Alto Networks responds to rise in threats with MDR service
Unit 42 Managed Detection and Response is a new service that can offer continuous 24/7 threat detection, investigation and response.
AWS Marketplace
Learn how security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) enhances your security strategy.
Link image
Story image
Distribution
Garmin expands NZ footprint with new Auckland distribution centre
The facility at Goodman’s Highbrook Business Park will be fully operational from October 2022 and features 3,586sqm of warehouse space.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Education sector seeing highest volumes of cyber attacks
When breaking down the numbers to education attacks by region in July 2022, A/NZ was the most heavily attacked.
Story image
Augmented Reality
TeamViewer remote access software integrated into RealWear Cloud
TeamViewer has announced a major expansion of its partnership with RealWear, a leading provider of assisted reality wearable solutions for frontline industrial workers. 
Story image
IDC
High level of Customer Identity & Access Management adoption
The study from Okta revealed that the pandemic has either accelerated or highlighted the need for digital-first strategies.
Story image
Ingram Micro
Ingram Micro NZ sees $74 million revenue growth in 2021
Ingram Micro New Zealand's latest financial report reveals that its revenue from contracts with customers increased by almost $74 million in 2021.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
The essential guide to digital transformation by SolarWinds
Digital transformation is a buzzword thrown around all the time by companies, but what does it actually mean and why is it important? SolarWinds breaks it down.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Dramatic uptick in threat activity with exploits growing nearly 150%
"While it’s not a surprise given increased attack opportunities like remote work, it’s still a worrying development and one we cannot ignore."
Story image
Privileged Access Management / PAM
The importance of stopping identity sprawl for cybersecurity
The 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) shows that 61% of all breaches involve malicious actors gaining unauthorised, privileged access to data by using a compromised credential. Unfortunately, it is often too late when the misuse of a credential is detected.
Story image
Indusface
Why enhancing bot protection for web and API endpoints matters
The trouble with bots is that they aren’t all bad. Unfortunately, this can make it challenging to detect malicious bots that find their way into your system and threaten your business.
Story image
Google Cloud
Google Cloud to open first cloud region in NZ - among others
Google Cloud has announced plans to bring three new cloud regions, one each in New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Datacom research explores reality of zero trust in A/NZ
Zero trust is fast emerging as global best practice in cybersecurity and local leaders are on board, with 83% considering it essential to security.
Story image
Gartner Magic Quadrant
Gartner names Lookout a Visionary in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Gartner has recognised Lookout as a Visionary in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Security Service Edge (SSE) and one of the top three offerings in the 2022 Gartner Critical Capabilities for SSE report.
Story image
Dicker Data
Dicker Data brought on as Acronis partner for A/NZ
The news about the partnership comes in as cyber criminals continue to exploit gaps in traditional solutions and strategies in NZ and across the APAC region.
Story image
Infrastructure
IBM expands Power10 server line for business modernisation
IBM has recently announced a significant expansion of its Power10 server line with the introduction of mid-range and scale-out systems.
Story image
ExtraHop
Organisations exposing highly sensitive protocols to public internet
More than 60% of organisations expose remote control protocol SSH to the public internet, while 36% of organisations expose the insecure FTP protocol.
Story image
Developers
Snyk announces plans to expand partner network in APJ
Recognising that partnerships are critical for growth, Snyk is building an entire partner ecosystem that will drive its expansion across APJ.
Story image
Data Protection
VMware introduces advanced workload protection for AWS
VMware Carbon Black Workload for AWS delivers comprehensive visibility and security across on-premises and cloud environments for AWS customers.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Why the right ERP (and partner) is crucial to an innovative and successful business
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a foundational step to ensuring a robust business model; here's why choosing the right one could be vital to ensuring long-term success and innovative results.