What is Unified Communication

Unified Communication (UC) has been emerged as a cutting-edge technology for several years. Actually, from the perspective of technology, there are not any technical breakthrough or invention in UC; the reason why UC draws so much attention and becomes widely adopted is that it makes use of existing technologies and combines them in an effective way to benefit people with great user experience as well as positive transformation of the way in which we work and live. Then, What is UC on earth? Personally thinking, UC is an concept which can be interpreted from 3 perspectives.

Integrated, Uniform, Consolidated.
Features Integrated in One Client: Our daily communication functions, which can fall into 3 categories (voice, messaging & Collaboration), can be all integrated in a UC client which is installable on end user’s Most Accessible Devices (Smart Phone, Tablet, PC),
Features Supported by Uniform Connection and Protocols: All UC features can be well-supported on IP connections with robust mechanisms to ensure the quality of service regardless of Layer 2 or Layer 1 technologies. Furthermore, the majority of communication functions including voice, video, IM, Presence, collaboration etc can be supported with just one protocol, SIP or H323 for instance. Plus, the existing security technologies of IP networking can be reused to secure UC functions which further simplify the deployment.
Consolidated Platform: Backend servers which provides UC service is delivered in the form of software installed on Standard Server Platform from HP or IBM. Alternatively, if we take the consolidation further, Virtualization will be the best option to lower the TCO and build a Eco-system friendly DataCenter.

Human network
imageHere, human network means end users are well-served by UC systems.which is reflected in below 3 aspects.
– Full UC features stick to end users regardless of users’ location (office, home, Travel) and handy device (Phone, Tablet, or PC) as long as network reachable.
– UC functions are escalated on as-needed basis. For instance, Text chat to voice call, to audio conference, and finally conduct a collaboration meeting.
– UC system is flexibly adjustable according to end users’ requirements.

Versatile Toolkit
If we go further to the very core of UC, you will find that the essence of UC is neither a technology nor a system, but a versatile toolkit able to improve your user experience almost every where in your daily life as well as work, and boost the efficiency. The most successful UC system is invisible deployment which means the UC features are all seamlessly integrated in existing systems, clients or work flows.

How UC transform our life and work

In the past, IT evolution was driven by business requirement and triggered by new business transactions. However, now, it is time for UC to penetrate to every corner of business and proactively transform our business mode, work and daily life.
Joint with cloud technology, efficient access bandwith, UC as versatile toolbit to boot efficiency and provide perfect user experiences will significantly improve the propability of working at home (SOHO). And that could bring lots of benefits and dramatic changes:
1. enterprise reduces cost dramatically, IT facilities and staff for operation, office renting, office furniture and decoration etc.
2. less traffic during rush hour to reduce global warming, more balanced distribution of functional components in a city, more balanced distribution of population among cities in a country and narrow the development gap among cities, which even solve some complex social problems.
3. UC features will be brought to consumer and every family.

UC Transformation Examples; Taobao.com; Video CC Agent in banking system; Telepresence for Medial treatment during the earthquack, remote educatoin (EDX-open course).

Barriers for UC penetration: less regulation or mechanism to reduce each parties risk and guarantee their benefits to some extent.

To be Continued