In the current March issue of the magazine netzwoche , VoIP-Cube was allowed to participate with a specialist article on the subject of UCC.

What is Unified Communications and Collaboration or UCC for short?

The term Unified Communications and Collaboration describes a wide range of software components. These are intended to simplify and improve collaboration in a group or company, even if the group members are distributed across different company locations or home offices.You will find a comprehensive technical article on this topic in our blog post at https://www.voipcube.de/ucc-alternativen .

How can companies benefit from this?

Companies whose employees work together at different company locations and / or via home offices benefit greatly from Unified Communications and Collaboration. The software tools eliminate spatial distances and create more flexibility. The participants communicate via various channels such as telephone, video or chat. Tasks are processed as if the employees involved were sitting at the same table, even if they are on different continents. Smaller companies, where all employees are in one room, only benefit from some of the software components.

What is Unified Messaging?

With unified messaging, different means of communication are available to the user. It communicates using various media (text, audio, video) and various devices (smartphone, VoIP telephone, software client).
The trick is to get the message right. Depending on the context of the user. Is the employee currently on the go and can only be reached via chat on his smartphone? Can the employee be reached at his workplace and by phone? Is he in a meeting?
For this purpose, a UCC system uses various status information of the user, such as his current location, his calendar or the device he is currently using. Based on this information, it can automatically deliver messages to the user via the preferred channel. Alternatively, his colleagues can view this status information and independently select the optimal communication channel.

Disadvantages of Unified Communications and Collaboration

There are some expensive all-in-one solutions in the software market. However, the number of products is very manageable. Such systems quickly become very complex, expensive and, in addition to very high costs, their introduction can also result in dependencies on one provider. It is therefore not surprising that, according to a study by MSM Research from 2014, almost a third (31.8 percent) of the German companies surveyed showed no interest in introducing a comprehensive UCC solution.

Individual components vs. all-in-one solution

An alternative solution would be the combination of several individual components and should therefore be particularly interesting for the companies mentioned above. There is a much greater variety of individual UCC components on the market than complete solutions. A company can limit itself to the components it needs and introduce them step by step. In this way, the employees can get used to the new technical possibilities and quickly recognize the advantages for everyday business.
Use any existing telephony solution as an example. Combine this with a modern messaging solution based on the open XMPP protocol. In this way, you can quickly expand your existing infrastructure with presence information, desktop sharing, file sharing and chat.

The most frequently used Unified Communications and Collaboration functions

A complete UCC solution essentially consists of four components:

  1. Media integration
    Communication between employees via multiple channels such as telephone, chat or video telephony.
  2. Presence information The display of whether an employee can currently be reached by phone.
  3. Context integration
    An incoming call automatically triggers the opening of a customer profile.
  4. Cooperation
    The remote release of screen content for joint editing of a document.

The most famous products on the topic of Unified Communications and Collaboration

Specialized tools such as Hip Chat , Skitch , Dropbox or Google Calendar are alternatives to Lync / Skype for Business or WebEx .
For some time now, we have been using free software for „annotations“ on screen content as a component for cooperation between employees. At this point we are using the Skitchproduct from the well-known manufacturer Evernote. In our opinion, this software was designed to be so user-friendly that we can really share notes on any document with others faster than if we were exchanging them with pen and paper.

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