Definitions of unified communications (UC) depend on who you ask and how you ask the question.
At HP, we talk about UC&C, and the second ‘C’ is key – ‘collaboration’. UC is a process of pulling together communications mechanisms relevant to a particular organisation, in a way that allows them to collaborate more efficiently and cost effectively.
Driven by appropriate business processes, UC&C tools help an organisation to respond rapidly to a constantly changing environment.
HP sees the principal UC&C tools as being high definition video, audio and web conferencing, instant messaging and presence, VoIP, and information collaboration tools all seamlessly integrated together.
We deliver these on both mobile and fixed devices and they form the core of our UC&C proposition.
The use by organisations of commercial versions of social networking tools similar to Facebook has the potential to allow employees with common interests and information, working in disparate parts of the business, to collaborate in ways never seen before.
Imagine an aircraft service engineer at a busy airport, working to correct a fault that is keeping 200 people from travelling on holiday.
Using a 3G-enabled HP iPaq PDA to search his Facebook-like knowledge base for previous occurrences of this fault, the engineer can ‘click-to-call’ the embedded address link in the search result for the engineer who can help talk him through the problem.
Organisations are also increasingly using UC to better service their consumers. They do this not just because it is more cost-effective, but because consumers are ahead of them in the adoption of UC technologies.
Contrary to past experience, UC has been driven from the consumer market with services such as SMS, Skype, MSN Messenger, Facebook and Twitter being delivered on a plethora of mobile devices.
Full article in Mobile News issue 455 (January 18, 2010).
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