Expert: Unified communications replaces old phone, fax systems

    Businesses that are still relying on outdated phone systems may want to look at unified communications to improve their operations. South Florida Business Journal's Robert Cini recently highlighted the immense benefits of UC compared to older and less capable options.

    The writer described unified communications as separate options integrated into one solution. These technologies include IP telephony, VoIP, instant messaging and audio or video conferencing, among several others.

    Cini added that unified communications are ideal for improving customer and client interactions.

    "When an employee is away from his or her desk, customer calls don’t have to go to voice mail or some black hole," Cini explained. "Employees can manage their incoming calls, routing them to a cellphone or softphone connected to a laptop, the phone of another employee or voice mail - based on time of day, the employee’s availability and the caller's identity."

    Organizations with unified communications in place can also save money on travel expenses because employees are able to participate in conferencing, according to the writer.

    "Not only can a UC system provide a secure connection for employees working away from the office, but it also allows them to make lower-cost calls from their cellphone or laptop, as if they were making the call from their office," Cini added.

    The writer concluded that unified communications are also helpful because businesses can replace their old, wired handsets and fax machines to save money. With these outdated technologies out of the way, companies no longer have to spend an exorbitant amount for continued maintenance.

    UC, BYOD on collision course

    The proliferation of smartphones and tablets is leading more employees to bring their own devices into the workplace. A report suggested that BYOD helps organizations lower operating costs because they are no longer required to purchase such products. Businesses looking to support BYOD are encouraged to deploy unified communications, cloud PBX systems and many other solutions.

    While BYOD has its advantages, the news source asserted that companies must ensure they have control over who has access to corporate information. Businesses should keep a close eye on how their employees use smartphones and tablets, considering many people use these devices to access applications and games.